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Starbucks customers are complaining about stomach issues from new olive oil-infused coffee

One customer described the Oleato beverage line as a "legit laxative."
Starbucks' new Oleato coffee beverages.
Starbucks' new Oleato coffee beverages.Starbucks

Starbucks customers have taken to social media to share their experiences with the coffee chain's new slate of olive oil-infused drinks, and apparently, for some, the picture is not so pretty.

On March 16, a post titled “Olive oil drinks...” was added to the subreddit r/starbucks by a Redditor who claims to be a current Starbucks barista. In it, they share an experience their coworkers allegedly had after trying the new roster of Oleato drinks.

For those unfamiliar, these new coffee drinks are infused with Partanna cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil and debuted on Feb. 21 in limited markets.

“Have you tried them? I’m wondering how many people are going to have happen to them what a few happened to our team,” wrote Redditor u/MoodyStarGirl. “Half the team tried it yesterday and a few ended up... Needing to use the restroom, if ya know what I mean.. I’m honestly scared to try it because I already have stomach/bowel problems.”

The Reddit user, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, went on to say that their store manager “doesn’t want us sharing this info with customers,” claiming the omission is “pretty F’d up.”

Starbucks also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Four beverages will arrive at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Milan starting Feb. 22.
The beverages arrived at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan starting Feb. 22, and in select American markets in March.Starbucks

In the comments section of the Reddit post, many others chimed in, with some sharing their own impressions and experiences with the drinks, which include lattes, shaken espressos, golden foam cold brews, cortados, a martini and more.

“Caffeine is a stimulant for your bowels and oil a relaxant,” wrote one Redditor. “So yeah wonderful idea by Starbucks.”

“Person with stomach / bowel problems thanking you for the heads up,” wrote another.

“I’ve tried them , and tbh after drinking them honestly they just felt sick to my stomach lowkey,” commented another. “Like i had no appetite at all after that and that was the only thing i’ve had in the whole day.”

“The cold brew is fine until you taste the foam because it’s two pumps of olive oil. like- the foam is green,” wrote another Redditor who says they're a barista. “Worst of all was the latte for me. you’re immediately hit with just olive oil and i wanted to throw up after yeah i do not recommend.”

Another user pointed out, though, that "green olive oil is normal and usually an indication of better quality … Green doesn’t mean it’s bad or gross."

Some reviews of the Oleato drinks have been positive, like that of one Twitter user who wrote, “Starbucks, the new Oleato drink is so damn delicious! Love it!!!” and a Redditor who said, "I tried all 3 and loved all of them. Had no problems whatsoever." But others detail more stomach-churning experiences with the beverages.

“The oleato at Starbucks is a legit laxative,” tweeted one person.

“That oleato drink from starbs makin my stomach speak,” tweeted another.

“#Oleato — so far my stomach is gurgling and my throat is burning,” wrote another Twitter user, sharing an image of their Venti Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso. "Not sure if it’s the olive oil."

Why could this effect be happening?

The beverages arrived at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan starting Feb. 22, and in select American markets in March.
The beverages arrived at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan starting Feb. 22, and in select American markets in March.Starbucks

Consuming oil, like castor oil, has been a proven method for relieving constipation since medicine men sold the salve in the late 1800s, so we've been aware of oil’s proven ability to get things rolling, so to speak. But could a little in your morning coffee act like a "laxative," as some have claimed?

“Castor oil has long been a cure for constipation. Oil of any kind can help stool move through the digestive tract, especially if you’ve been constipated for a while,” Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, tells “Olive oil can certainly have this effect too, especially if you’re drinking a venti or grande.”

Largeman-Roth also says that if you pair the possible laxative effect of oil with the fact that coffee is a stimulant for the digestive system, and the combo may deliver a one-two punch, sending you straight to the bathroom. “The effects may be more pronounced if you drink Oleato on an empty stomach,” she adds.

So, if you want to give one of the olive oil-slicked drinks a try, be sure to pair it with food, and make sure you're not too far from a restroom you'd be comfortable spending some time in.