Olive oil’s smooth flavor and abundance of healthy fats make it a kitchen must-have. It’s great on just about anything, too. You can drizzle it over a salad, onto pasta, in your morning coffee… Yes, you read that right. Olive oil coffee is not only a thing, it’s also a really good thing, according to baristas and nutritionists alike. Keep reading to see what the experts have to say about the flavor and health benefits of olive oil coffee, and how you can make the best version possible at home.
Where did olive oil coffee come from?
The idea of combining olive oil and coffee sounds, well, a little bit kooky, but it’s been around for quite some time. “Sicilian olive farmers have enjoyed a tablespoon of olive oil with their morning coffee for decades,” says Katie Woodburn-Simmonds, former barista and co-founder of Home Coffee Expert. “The fat in olive oil reduces the bitterness in the coffee, with the slight saltiness helping to counter the sweet chocolate notes.”
Woodburn-Simmonds notes that the founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, tried this combination on a trip to Sicily, and it inspired the new Oleato line of drinks, which are coffees infused with extra virgin olive oil. Oleato beverages were introduced in Italy and are now available in 15 states nationwide.
Why put olive oil in coffee?
If even Starbucks is putting olive oil in coffee, it must be good…right? As it turns out, olive oil coffee may not only taste great — it may also be better for you, too. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages of adding olive oil to your coffee, both in terms of flavor and health.
Let’s face it — ‘olive oil and coffee’ is no ‘peanut butter and jelly.’ It’s not a well-known food combo, so how good could it taste? Pretty good, apparently. “Imagine your regular coffee but with an added velvety texture and a hint of fruitiness or pepperiness, depending on the olive oil’s profile,” says Mark Carter, MD, of Zero to Healthy and the Modern Body Clinic. “The result is a richer, fuller-bodied coffee experience.”
The fats in olive oil add a smooth, almost dessert-like quality to coffee. “Combining olive oil with coffee can add a rich, velvety texture to your brew,” adds Lauren Winder Hoar, founder of Coffee Hex and former barista. “If you’ve ever had olive oil ice cream, it has a similar smell and taste.” (Click through to learn more about olive oil ice cream.)
Coffee is generally accepted to be good for you. Caffeine wakes you up and may even make you more creative. Studies have also found that daily coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of fatal heart conditions. And with so many people drinking cups of the stuff daily — 74% of Americans, according to research — it’s safe to say that drinking coffee is a popular and healthy habit. And the good news is, adding olive oil to the equation just makes that habit even healthier, according to experts.
“Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat, rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants,” says Dr. Carter. He adds that adding the liquid gold to your coffee may:
The sustained energy from the fats in olive oil may also curb hunger and help you fend off munchies. So if you’re looking to lose weight, trading your spoonful of sugar out for a spoonful of olive oil may be helpful. (Click through to see other ways olive oil may help with weight loss.)
Speaking of energy, many of us drink coffee for its caffeine content. It gives us the jolt need to feel alert in the mornings, but it can also cause some negative side effects, like anxiety and jitters. Olive oil can help with that, too. “Olive oil coats the lining of the stomach and slows the absorption of caffeine,” adds Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES, and owner of The Plant Strong Dietitian. “Adding olive oil to coffee helps prevent the unpleasant crash that often follows after drinking caffeinated beverages.”
And while olive oil slows the absorption of caffeine, it helps in the absorption of other things your body needs. “Olive oil helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K,” adds Berger. These vitamins are important for vision and bone health, as well as proper blood clotting and antioxidant activity.
How to make the best olive oil coffee at home
Ready to try these flavor and health benefits for yourself? Enjoying a good olive oil coffee isn’t as simple as drizzling it in your coffee and calling it day. See these tips from coffee experts so you can get the most health and flavor bang for your buck.
1. Reach for the right roast
Not all types of coffee are equal when it comes to mixing with olive oil. “Olive oil is best with darker roast coffees,” says Woodburn-Simmonds. “These tend to have a slightly more bitter profile, and the olive oil will take the edge off of this. The result is more pronounced brown sugar, chocolate and vanilla notes.”
Instead of stirring the oil into already-brewed coffee, some aficionados use coffee beans that have been infused with it. While this method may seem more convenient, Woodburn-Simmonds recommends against it, especially if you’re grinding your own coffee, since oily beans can damage the grinder.
2. Opt for the best olive oil
The type of olive oil you use for your coffee really comes down to personal preference, explains Hoar. “Extra virgin olive oil is more pronounced, and extra light is more subtle.” As for the amount of olive oil you use, pour conservatively at first. “Start with a small amount, such as ½ to 1 teaspoon, and adjust to your taste,” recommends Hoar. “The best method is to add it slowly while stirring.” If you want an even creamier texture, you can put your olive oil and coffee into a blender for a few seconds, says Dr. Carter.
3. Be mindful of mix-ins
Olive oil adds a distinct texture and flavor to coffee, so it may not work well with typical coffee add-ins. “Olive oil can be used instead of milk/cream in coffee as the fat in the olive oil is doing the same job as the fat in the milk/cream,” notes Woodburn-Simmonds. “You can still add sugar if you like a sweeter coffee, but all three feels like overkill.”
And speaking of olive oil being a fat, be prepared for some surprising textures, advises Hoar. “Olive oil is a fat, so it rises to the top [of coffee] in globs, which can be off-putting. If you’ve ever tried MCT oil or butter in your coffee, it’s similar in texture.”
To learn more about how you can make your morning coffee even better:
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