Olive Oil Tasting: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Texana Brands on

Do you enjoy the taste of olive oil? If so, you're not alone! Olive is one of the most popular types of oils in the world. Its versatility makes it an excellent choice for cooking, and its unique, delicate flavors can serve as a perfect ingredient for nearly any dish. 

However, you may still have some questions about olive oil. If so, you're in luck! At Texana Brands, our team of olive oil growers, producers, and distributors pride ourselves on providing reliable resources and educating consumers about olive oil. 

At Texana Brands, we've created this blog as a comprehensive guide to olive oil tasting. In this post, our team will discuss:

  • Everything you need to know about olive oil tasting 
  • How to pair olive oil with food
  • Common myths about olive oil flavors 

Table of Contents:

  1. Olive Oil Tasting: Everything You Need to Know in 11 Steps
  2. Pairing Olive Oil with Food: A How-To
  3. 7 Common Myths About Olive Oil Flavors 
  4. Myth #1: The color of olive oil can tell you a lot about it
  5. Myth #2: The stronger the flavor, the darker the color
  6. Myth #3: All extra virgin olive oil tastes and looks the same
  7. Myth #4: Cooking olive oil will destroy the flavor
  8. Myth #5: Like wine, olive oil tastes better with age
  9. Myth #6: Bitter-tasting olive oil means it's gone bad 
  10. Myth #7: The best-tasting olive oil comes from Italy 
  11. Conclusion

People Also Ask: 

What is tasting olive oil?

Tasting olive oil is similar to tasting wine, and it has a similar range of tastes and aromas. Extra virgin olive oil should have a fruity flavor with fresh herbs and fruit characteristics, ranging from delicate to complex. 

Low-quality oil, on the other hand, has an unpleasant taste.

What can I use for tasting olive oil?

For olive oil tasting, consider using glasses or cups for each sample. Professional tasters use blue glasses to avoid being influenced by the color of the oil. You may also use wine glasses, tiny drinking glasses, or disposable cups. 

If you are hosting an olive oil tasting, our Texana Brands team recommends having paper and pens available for them to take notes. 

Does olive oil taste like olives?

Simply said, high-quality olive oil has a distinct green olive taste. Other words used to describe the taste of high-quality olive oil are peppery, buttery, grassy, vegetal, and faintly spicy. 

Olive Oil Tasting: Everything You Need to Know in 11 Steps

Tasting olive oil is both a science and an art, similar to tasting beer, wine, chocolate, whiskey, etc. However, don't let the thought of tasting olive oil intimidate you! 

To make the most out of your olive oil tasting, follow the simple, step-by-step guide that our team at Texana Brands has created below! 

    1. Research the olive oils you wish to taste. If you're purchasing oil for tasting, try starting with our Texana Brands infused olive oil products in our 8.5 fl oz bottles. Our wide variety of flavors will allow you to experience the difference of homegrown Texas taste and expand your palate.
    2. Choose an olive oil tasting vessel. Many professional olive oil producers and tasters use special cups of blue glass that look similar to votive candle holders. The blue glass camouflages the color of the oil, which can unconsciously impact tastings. If you can't find cups of blue glass, you can always choose an opaque glass or a standard wine glass. 
    3. Pour one to two tablespoons of olive oil into the glass of your choosing. Be sure to hold the glass in your left hand and cover the top of the glass with your right hand. This is necessary to warm up the olive oil, allowing it to release more of the natural aromas. 
    4. Swirl the olive oil in your glass gently. This will coat the sides of your tasting glass and cause the oil to release the deep aromas. 
    5. Raise the glass to your nose and remove your right hand to uncover it. Inhale the natural aromas of the olive oil and make notes of what you smell if you wish to do so. Do you smell fruity notes? Do you detect a slight bitterness or peppery aroma? 
    6. Take a small sip of the olive oil while you inhale, helping heighten the flavor of the oil even more. Be sure to sip enough of the oil to coat your tongue thoroughly. If you let the olive oil sit for a moment, you'll be able to note the aromas and flavors a little better. 
    7. You'll activate your retronasal perception if you close your mouth and breathe through your nose. This is important because your nose and mouth are connected, thus providing you with a richer tasting experience. 
    8. Pay attention to the tastes and sensations you feel when swallowing the oil. You might notice a slight bitterness, which is a standard in olive oils, especially those derived from greener, younger olives. Last but not least, be sure to look out for fruit notes, including herb and vegetable flavors. 
    9. If you wish, take some notes regarding the taste and aromas of the olive oil before moving to the next olive oil. 
    10. To clear out your palate, you can choose to drink water and sparkling water and pair it with Granny Smith apple slices. Green apples are a natural palate cleanser and are often used in professional olive oil tastings. 
    11. When ready, move on and taste the next olive oil!

    Pairing Olive Oil with Food: A How-To

    Whether you're using olive oil for cooking or as a finishing touch, consider how it will interact with the other flavors in the dish. Decide if you want your olive oil to complement the ingredients or compete with the different flavors of the dish. 

    Choosing an olive oil that complements the dish means it won't overtake the flavors but only enhance them. If you choose olive oil to compete with the dish, the taste of the oil will dominate the other flavors. 

    Here is a quick how-to on paring olive oil with food: 

    • Have at least three olive oil flavors ready. At Texana Brands, we have a variety of infused olive oils available for purchase. (See our infused olive oil products to learn more.) Follow the olive oil tasting steps above to sample them before setting a pairing baseline with food. 
    • Collect various foods with different flavors to pair with your olive oils. Foods such as steak, grilled chicken, fresh bread, pasta, cheese, and salad greens are excellent options for olive oil pairing. Make sure the foods chosen aren't seasoned too much, so you can gain an accurate sense of how the olive oil adds to them.
    • Try every food with each type of olive oil. If you wish, take notes on which olive oil and food pairings you like and which ones you didn't. Importantly, try taking some notes on the pairings that surprised you. 

    Be sure to pay attention to how the olive oil flavors complement or compete with the food while cooking. Depending on the outcomes, you may change which infused olive oils you use for your pairings. 

    7 Common Myths About Olive Oil Flavors 

    With olive oil's popularity, it's not surprising that there is a lot of misinformation and myths circulating about its taste. 

    Below you'll find some of the most common myths about olive oil flavors:

    Myth #1: The color of olive oil can tell you a lot about it

    Olive oil colors vary considerably, much like olives. As a result, the color of olive oil can not accurately assess its taste. Only after tasting it can you determine how the olive oil tastes.

    Myth #2: The stronger the flavor, the darker the color

    Many people believe that olive oil darker in color means the taste will be stronger. However, this is not true. Olive oils lighter in color can have a robust taste, while darker oils can have a delicate flavor.

    Myth #3: All extra virgin olive oil tastes and looks the same

    It's a common misconception that all extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is robust in taste and dark, green-gold in color. The truth is that EVOOs come in all kinds of flavors and colors. 

    Myth #4: Cooking olive oil will destroy the flavor

    Olive oil, especially high-quality extra virgin olive oil, is a popular cooking ingredient for a reason. It's a culinary oil and healthy dietary fat that can withstand the heat of commercial kitchens and traditional home cooking without losing its flavor. 

    Myth #5: Like wine, olive oil tastes better with age

    While tasting olive oil resembles tasting wine, olive oil does not improve with age. If you store your oil correctly, in a cool dark place, it will last and taste better for longer. However, olive oil tastes best when used 18 to 24 months after harvesting. 

    Myth #6: Bitter-tasting olive oil means it's gone bad 

    A bitter taste is one of the positive characteristics of olive oil's flavor. If your olive oil tastes bitter, that means it's fresh. Olive oil that's gone bad or rancid usually tastes waxy, gluey, or crayon-like. 

    Myth #7: The best-tasting olive oil comes from Italy 

    Most people believe that olive oil from Italy tastes the best because it's said to have originated in the Mediterranean Basin. While Italy does produce delicious olive oil, great-tasting, high-quality olive oil is often made in the United States–especially in Texas!


    If you're looking for a unique and delicious way to step up your cooking game, then give tasting olive oil a try. At Texana Brands, we provide olive oil made and derived from fresh olives homegrown on our own 150-acre Texas olive orchard as well as olives that we harvest for other farms.

    Our professional olive oil makers, producers, and distributors oversee every step of the production process to ensure the highest quality product possible. 

    Ready to start shopping? We can't wait to help you add some delicious new flavors to your kitchen!

    Click here to shop Texana Brands' signature olive oil products!

    You can also learn where to buy Texana Brand olive oil products here