The Ultimate Guide to Sampling Olive Oil at Aurelius Food Co.
At Aurelius, we truly believe that tasting is believing. One of the benefits of coming to our store is having the ability to sample any of the flavours or products before purchasing. Often, we get a lot of questions about how to do it; are you supposed to use a finger or just drink it? As well, many people comment that they don’t “know enough” about olive oils to taste them but the truth is, you don’t need to be an olive oil expert. If you like the taste of an olive oil, that’s enough. However, if you’d like to impress your friends and family with your knowledge about olive oil tasting, then here is your ultimate guide.
When it comes to sampling our products, the first thing you should do is smell your sample. Good olive oils have an aroma spanning from fruity to grassy, that ranges in intensity. Now, when it comes to the actual sampling part, we recommend drinking our oils straight from the cup rather than using a finger to taste. That way, you’ll get a better sense of the notes and sensations our oils have to offer. Olive oils can taste bitter, mild, sweet, robust, and they can feel peppery due to the polyphenols. An olive oil’s bitterness will be felt at the back of your tongue. Also note the mouth feel sensation; they can feel smooth, buttery. Think about how all of these elements balance one another - Some aspects will overpower each other but it doesn’t matter that much if that’s what you like. If you taste with your finger, you won’t be able to coat your tongue and get the full flavour profile.
Elements to think about when tasting olive oils:
- Pungency: How intense is the tingling sensation on your tongue and throat both during and after tasting?
- Mouth Feel Sensation: Oils can range from astringent to greasy. If you’ve had our Early Harvest EVOO, you’ll know how smooth and buttery it feels.
- Complexity: Does it taste simple, well rounded, complex? A complex oil has multiple aromas and flavours.
- Freshness: How fresh does it taste? Or is it tired or old, like it’s been sitting in a warm basement for a while? We discuss defects a little later.
- Style: Olive oils can taste fruity, bitter, or pungent. This range is generally categorized as mild, medium, robust.
- Persistence: How long does the taste linger in your mouth?
Another thing to think about when tasting olive oils are secondary flavours. Olive oils can taste slightly like bananas, apples, almonds, herbaceous or “grassy.” If you were lucky enough to sample The Olive Farm’s olive oil from BC, Canada's first and only extra virgin olive oil, you might have noted how grassy (with hints of seaweed) it was.
By now you are familiar with the enemies of olive oil: heat, light, and oxygen. When an olive oil has been sitting around an open window or beside the window for long, it kills longevity. That’s why our products come in dark bottles.
Defining Olive Oil Defects:
- Rancid is a common defect that you might come across. An oil that’s gone rancid might taste like old oil, stale peanuts, wax crayons, paraffin, or play-doh. This is a sign that the oil or olives have oxidized too much.
- Fusty/Muddy is another common one. If olive oil that’s fusty might remind you of sweaty socks or gym clothes, or swamps, that’s fusty. This is a sign that the olive oil has been sitting around too long.
- Metallic: Oils with a metallic taste may have produced with machinery that weren’t cleaned properly.
- Winey-Vinegary-Acid-Sour: An oil with this defect will be reminiscent of nail polish, solvent, yeast, or vinegar. Too much time between picking and crushing the olives allows for fermentation, where ethanol, acetic acid, and ethyl acetate show up, giving us that alcholic taste.
- Musty/Humid/Earthy: Moldy, humid. The olives used to produce the oil were moldy.
So that’s our guide to taste testing our olive oils. As we’ve shown here, there’s no need to be a certified oleologist to try our olive oil. The most important thing is that you like it. Though pandemic precautions have caused us to change the layout of our store a little bit, customers are still welcome to sample our products. For the health of our customers and employees, we just ask that you still come in with your mask, which can be taken off for sampling.