Like wine tasting and coffee cupping, successful olive oil tasting requires its own method for best results from the palate. Our 2015 harvest Blending Lab attendees had such a good time, we thought it worth sharing our tasting secrets with the rest of our customers.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be described by three key characteristics: fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. Fruit characters in olive oil can include grassiness, tomato, tomato vine, melon, rocket and many more. Tasted sharply at the side of the tongue, bitterness describes the sometimes sharp bitter green flavour, present within most olive oils to varying degrees. Pungency is the peppery bite that felt in the back of the throat that can sometimes induce a light cough.
What you'll need
Paper and pen - Record your findings after each oil tasted.
Small containers for olive oil - One for each oil you are tasting
Water - Give your mouth a swish after each oil and swallow so that the back of your throat is refreshed
A palate cleanser - We often use apple slices - water crackers are also a good option
Time to Taste!
* Pour your oil within 15 minutes of tasting.
* Hold the cup in the palm of your hand and maintain this contact for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
* Take a big sniff of the oil at close range, breathe out through your nose and take note of the fruit characters present through smell.
* Take a sip of your oil and slurp over the tongue. Swish across the palate before swallowing. Again note the fruit characters, bitterness on the side of the tongue and pungency (peppery bite at the back of the throat).
...Record your findings
Note the fruit accents and level of bitterness and pungency, a scale of 1 to 10 can help with these two characteristics.
If your olive oil smells like putty, tastes like rancid nuts, wet dog (yes, it's possible), dirty socks or is showing any other unpalatable characteristics - throw it in the bin and head over to our online store for a fresh oil. These defects are consistent with oils that are past their used by date, have been processed without necessary care or were harvested too late in the season.
Each year, at time of pressing we perform our own tastings to define the characteristics of the annual harvest's varieties. This forms our choice of variety to be blended for our 'Robust' and 'Organic' seasonal blends and also our 'Single Variety' range. We include our notes in the product description each of these EVOO's - Read our notes by clicking on the oils below: