Coffee and Heart Health: Starbucks® Oleato™

Coffee and Heart Health. Image of cups of coffee on table with different fast such as butter and coconut oil.

Ever wonder about putting oils in your coffee and heart health?

I did when I got an email that Starbucks® had just launched a new line of coffee in my area. These coffees, called Oleato™, are made from arabica coffee beans and extra virgin olive oil.

At first, this seems like a bizarre thing to do. But if you add creams, creamers, or milk to coffee, you already add some fat. Oil is simply a different type of dietary fat.

Adding dietary fats to coffee isn’t new. Bulletproof Coffee® came out in 2011. This drink combines “clean” coffee, unsalted butter (or ghee), and coconut oil (or another medium-chain triglyceride). This type of coffee is still used by those following keto-type/higher-fat or lower-carb/ lower-sugar eating plans. Regarding coffee and heart health, Bulletproof Coffee® would not be on my list of heart-healthy drinks.

The Impact of Adding Oil to Coffee.

Adding oil to coffee gives the coffee a unique flavor and creamier texture while smoothing out the bitterness of the coffee.

The olive oil used in Oleato™ coffee comes from Partanna in Sicily. The Castelvetrano olives used to make the oil have a nutty, buttery flavor, according to the Partanna brand.

Olive Oil Coffee and Heart Health.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you yet if adding olive oil to coffee is more heart-healthy because there is no peer-reviewed, scientific evidence in PubMed® for either “olive oil coffee” or “Bulletproof Coffee®” that I can find. This article also does not cover caffeine, which is vital to consider when thinking about coffee and heart health.

Next is what I can tell you. Please draw your own conclusions about adding olive oil to your coffee.

Olive oil versus other types of oils.

PRO: Olive oil is an excellent choice for adding dietary fats to your coffee. Olive oil is one of the oils that is highest in monounsaturated fats. Others include avocado oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, safflower oil, and hazelnut oil. Not all of those would have a flavor that pairs well with coffee.

CON: Adding oil adds calories. Fats, like olive oil, are the most calorie-rich macro (categories of foods that contain calories). One tablespoon of oil contains about 120 calories. So if you are trying to reduce weight for heart health, you may have to cut back on other foods.

Olive oil and nutrients.

PRO: There are some fat-soluble compounds in coffee. Fat-soluble compounds need a source of fat to be eaten with them for your body to absorb them. Adding fat, such as olive oil, to coffee allows your body to absorb these nutrients. Caffeine is both fat-soluble and water-soluble, so your body has an easier time taking up the caffeine. Great for getting that energy boost from coffee.

CON: Some compounds in coffee (the diterpenes) can raise total cholesterol and LDL (the bad cholesterol). They are not great for heart health, so you don’t want to absorb more of them.  

Olive oil and heart disease.

PRO: Monounsaturated fats are fantastic for heart health. According to the American Heart Association, including more than half a tablespoon of olive oil in your diet daily lowers the risk of death from heart disease. 

PRO: Monounsaturated fats, like extra virgin olive oil, can help raise your HDL (good cholesterol). Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can lower your LDL (bad cholesterol). They can also help to lower blood pressure and give your body antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation.

Check out the Risk Factors for Heart Disease blog to learn more about a heart-healthy lifestyle.

The Bottom Line

Oleato™ coffee may be a good choice for those following a higher-fat, lower-carb/sugar dietary approach or working to gain weight. And for coffee lovers who want to try something different.

However, I would not personally associate Oleato™ coffee and heart health.  

The good news is that you can enjoy all the foods and drinks. Because what you do consistently, over time, impacts your heart health. So, if you are curious, get out there and try one! Just don’t make it a regular coffee choice.


I intend to try it. I’m curious about the flavor and always looking for new foods to share with you.

What about you? Are you going to give it a try? Let me know if you will – and tell me why or why not!

If you are curious about another popular drink, wine, I’ve got a blog for you on wine and heart health.

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Published by Alexia Lewis RD, LD/N, CHC, CPT

Culinary Nutritionist (RD), Certified Health Coach (ACE), heart attack survivor, late-blooming home-cook, and your biggest cheerleader, confidence builder, and forever reminder-er to stop making things so darn complicated. DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is the opinion of the author(s) and is not medical advice, in fact, it may not be appropriate for you at all. Consult with your medical professional before making any changes. If you follow information on this site without consulting your healthcare provider, you are doing so at your own risk.

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