Olive Oil Tasting
Many people already know that olive oil is one of the leaders in the world of fakes and counterfeit products.
So the first question you should answer is: is this real extra virgin olive oil?
You cannot be sure until you taste olive oil. Everything can mislead you: fancy bottle, beautiful label and of course, rich green color with golden hues shimmering in a shiny glass.
Counterfeit manufacturers have learned how to use attractive packaging, artificial colors and flavors.
They can fake everything except the real extra virgin olive oil taste.
That’s why we can only trust our taste buds.
Tasting olive oil is necessary not only to distinguish a fake from a real one.
Olive oils vary greatly depending on the olive varieties, the harvest period as well as on the soil and climate of regions in which they are produced.
So you need to taste olive oil in order to understand which particular taste you like best.
This will help you decide which olive oils you would like to buy and use more than others.
How to taste olive oil?
For olive oil tasting you will need a teacup or a small colored glass like this one.
This kind of glasses professional olive oil sommeliers use when testing olive oil.
It is better to use a glass or porcelain cup as this will allow you to warm up the olive oil by simply holding the cup in your hand for a few minutes.
Make sure you haven't smoked or drank coffee for at least an hour before tasting olive oil as cigarettes and coffee can block your taste and smell for some time.
Well, let's begin:
- Pour olive oil into a cup. Take the cup in one hand, cover it with the other and hold for a couple of minutes, shaking and rotating slightly. Olive oil reveals its best flavors and aromas at a temperature of around 30°C.
- Open the cup and inhale the aroma of olive oil. Real fresh extra virgin olive oil has a distinct scent of wild herbs with a variety of floral and fruity undertones. If the aroma is natural but weak, then most likely this olive oil is an expired, or it was stored and transported in violation of the temperature regime. If you feel an unpleasant, musty or rancid smell, then it's time to stop the experiment. It's not extra virgin, it's fake olive oil.
- Take a small amount of oil in your mouth and hold it, trying to feel all the shades of taste. You can breathe in some air with your lips open, this will help you feel the nuances better. The taste of real olive oil should be fresh and pleasant. If you feel heavy, chemical or metallic taste, then it’s not extra virgin.
- Take a sip. Tasting real extra virgin olive oil will leave you feeling bitter and itchy at the back of your throat. These sensations can be strong or weak, depending on the olive variety or the harvest period. Early harvest olive oil has more intense and sharp finish. Swallowing it, you can even feel a strong burning sensation in your throat and a fit of coughing with tears in your eyes. If this oil is made from regular harvested olives, you will swallow it easily, but still experience some scratchy throat. If it is not there at all, then most likely the oil is old or exhausted.
A little more about the bitterness and sore throat from early harvest olive oil.
These sensations indicate the level of polyphenols (antioxidants) in the composition of olive oil. The more of them, the more healthy the olive oil is.
The highest amount of polyphenols is found in olive oil Cornicabra. This olive oil contains polyphenols up to 700 mg/liter.
Where to taste olive oil?
Well, definitely not in a supermarket. Hardly they will get you right if you contact the staff with such a request. So, when going to the supermarket, you definitely should not take your olive oil testing cup with you.
You can taste olive oil in small specialty shops such like olive oil & vinegar or olive oil & wine shops.
As a rule, in such stores there is a specially equipped place where they will offer you to taste their olive oils and tell you in detail about the different varieties, producers and regions where these oils were made.
Also, if you have ever visited farmers markets, you probably know that in almost every stall you will be offered to taste different products and choose what to buy.
What if a vendor or farmer won't allow you to taste olive oil? Just get out of there. If they have something to hide, then you have nothing to lose by refusing their product.
And of course, if you come to a region where olive oil is produced, you should definitely visit an olive farm.
Most of farmers will gladly offer you exciting degustation tour and no less entertaining story about their family farm, history, traditions, etc.
So get ready to spend a couple of hours.
You will be able to taste and buy the olive oil you like, and possibly negotiate with the farmer about future regular purchases.
Or maybe later you will meet their olive oil in our web-store. And then you can confidently buy it without any tasting.