A Guide to Olive Oil Tasting

bread, ciabatta, flour

Pour about a tablespoon of oil in a round bottomed glass.


Different types of Olive Oil will have different colours.

Green means the olives were picked young. Light yellow means that the olives were a bit older/riper when they were harvested.

You can normally assume what the taste will be like from the colour of the olive oil. A green olive oil is usually aromatic and bitter. Whereas a light yellow will have a milder taste.

Side Note – the colour of oil has nothing to do with the quality of oil  


With your one hand, cover the top of your glass and with your second hand, heat the oil by holding the round bottomed glass. When you lift your hand from the top of the glass you should be able to smell things like a newly-cut lawn, fresh and green, dry hay, raw nuts, vegetables.


Next, take a sip of the oil. Like when tasting a good wine, swirl the oil inside your mouth. Make sure you get it under the tongue and around your mouth. You should taste the freshly cut grass and a peppery/pungency after taste.

If the olive oil has an unpleasant sweetness or tastes like wine, then it is off/rancid.


All good tastings involve some sort of food.

Cut up an apple and eat a piece. Take some freshly baked, plain bread and dip it into the olive oil next. Eat your dipped bread and then eat another slice of apple. Repeat the process and then think about the flavours you are tasting.

In this scenario, the apple neutralizes the taste in your mouth and helps to break down the oil barrier.

Keen on doing an Oil Tasting? Download our Tasting Score Card:

To be clear, the only thing one needs to do to check the quality of Oil is taste and smell…

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  1. Pingback: Qualifying Your Olive Oil - The Oil People

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