A Beginner’s Guide to Olive Oil Tasting

January 12, 2023

You may have heard of wine tasting, beer tasting, or even chocolate tasting. But, have you ever heard of olive oil tasting? Olive oil tasting is very similar to wine tasting. Just like wine, olive oils have a variety of flavors and aromas. 

By attending olive oil tastings, you will be able to sharpen your palate and be able to discern which type of olive oil you prefer. And, similar to wine, olive oils come in three distinct categories: delicate, medium, and intense. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Olive Oil Tasting

In this olive oil tasting for beginners guide, we will highlight the eleven steps in the process and offer tips for olive oil tasting parties. 

Let’s start with the must haves for olive oil tasting:

  • A selection of three or more different types of olive oil
  • An olive oil-tasting vessel
  • Different kinds of food for your olive oil tasting DIY party
  • A paper and pen for taking notes

1. Select olive oils

Start by selecting a range of oils in different categories that you will be introducing at your olive oil tasting. You could opt to include different oils of the same strength or different strengths.

2. Select an olive oil vessel

You could simply use a wine glass. Or, you could opt for a special vessel designed for this process known as Olive Oil Tasting COI Glasses. The blue cups look like votive candle holders.

3. Pour the olive oil

Pour one to two tablespoons into your vessel and cover the vessel with your left hand. This will warm the olive oil and allow the aromas to be released. 

4. Swirl

Gently swirl the olive oil to release more flavor. You may or may not notice the viscosity of the oil. 

5. Smell

Raise the glass to your nose, remove your hand, and take in the aroma. Is it fruity, bitter, or pungent, or is there another aroma?

6. Sip 

Sip the olive oil, making sure to get enough to coat the inside of your mouth. Inhale while you sip as this intensifies the aromas. Make note of any flavors.

7. Exhale

With your mouth closed, exhale. This will introduce a new set of flavors and aromas. 

8. Swallow

This is one of the most important aspects of the tasting process. Pay attention to any sensations and flavors as you swallow. Certain flavors will be felt in the throat, such as chilies and pungency. Pay attention to any bitter notes or fruity flavors as these indicate different elements of the particular olive oil, such as its quality or age. Learning about the different elements of olive oils such as how pungent they are, their fruitiness, and bitterness will help to distinguish higher quality oils from those that are lower in quality or subpar in taste. 

9. Notes

Be sure to note each experience so that you are able to make a comparison when you are done. 

10. Cleansing

Clear your palate with fresh or sparkling water. Professionals use granny smith apple slices. 

11. Proceed

You are now ready to continue on to your next option. 

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