Tasting Olive Oil

Olive oils can range in fruitiness, spiciness and bitterness. Educate yourself by taking several bottles and tasting them. See a video on how to properly taste with olive oil consultant Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne at videos.sacbee.com or follow these steps.

• Pour olive oils into cups.

• Although professional tasters do not take the color of olive oils into account, you can see they range from yellow to a bright green.

• Nestle a cup in your palm to warm the olive oil with your hand. Swirl the cup, with your other hand over the top to hold in aromas. Inhale deeply and see if you smell fruit.

• Sip a small amount and spread it through your mouth to see if it's smooth or greasy. Suck in air (a slurping sound will result) to detect flavors of grass or earthiness.

• Swallow and then exhale through the nose to feel the level of spiciness at the back of the throat.

• Positive attributes are fruitiness (maturity of the olives when pressed, variety and climate), pungency (the back-of-the-throat biting sensation) and bitterness (a pleasantly bitter taste).

• Some defects are fusty (the olives started fermenting because they sat too long between the fields and the mill), musty (the olives started molding before being pressed) and rancid (resulting from oxidation of the oil).

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