Tasting Extra Virgin Olive Oil

TASTING EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Conduct your own taste test.
We suggest inviting your food-loving friends to share and enjoy this experience with you.

FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE STEPS:

1

When considering the aromas and flavor sensations of oils, color is not an indication of quality. In fact, professionals use small blue-tinted tasting glasses to remove color bias.

 

2

Place about a tablespoon of oil in your tasting glass. A wine glass works well.

 

3

Warm the oil by cupping your hands around and over the top of the glass, and slowly rotate it so the oil sticks to the sides.

 

4

Inhale the aromas. Think about what you smell – is it green, ripe, earthy, fruity, nutty? Jot down your initial perceptions so you can compare oils.

 

5

Sip enough oil to let the flavors cover your tongue. Slowly inhale to help release the flavors in the oil. Close your mouth and breathe out through your nose. Swallow at least some oil and note the tastes and sensations in your throat.

 

6

What notes do you catch? Apple? Tomato? Herbs? Citrus? Nuts? Spices? Do you feel bitterness on your tongue? Pungency in the back of your throat?

 

7

Think about the level of complexity to each sensation; are they balanced or does one dominate? Jot down notes so you can compare later.

 

8

Cleanse your palate before moving on to the next oil. Sparkling or still water and slices of apple, such as Granny Smith, work well.

 

ATTRIBUTES TO LOOK FOR IN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

FRUITY

Many of the key words used in olive tasting may not be what they seem to imply to an inexperienced taster. A fruity taste in olive oil refers to notes of green or ripe olive fruit and other fruits, herbs or vegetables. You may taste artichoke, aromatic herbs, grass, and even green apple or tomato. Notice the aroma: it could be green grass, tropical fruit, spices like cinnamon, and of course, ripe green olive.

BITTER

Bitterness is an acquired taste found in foods such as bitter salad greens, dark coffee and dark chocolate, which creates an acrid sensation in the mouth. If you have ever tasted a fresh olive right off the tree, you know that bitterness is a prominent taste. Olive oil is made from uncured olives, so a range of bitterness can be found depending on what olives the oil comes from. Oil made from ripe fruit will have little to no bitterness, while oil made from greener, less ripe fruit can be distinctly bitter. Exploring robust olive oils is a fantastic way to broaden your taste spectrum and culinary horizons.

PUNGENT

Olive oil aficionados delight in this wonderful characteristic of olive oil, similar to the heat of spicy chili peppers and just as appealing if you acquire this taste. Pungency creates a peppery sensation in the mouth and throat, and swallowing just a miniscule amount will allow you the full sensation. The spicy “kick” can be very mild—merely a slight tingle—or intense enough to make you cough.