What Makes a Great Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

High quality extra virgin olive oil has a high olive aroma and flavor and a bitter taste profile. It is rich and has a moderate rate of dissolve. Specifically, the olive oil has a clear golden green color and appears thick. Its aroma and flavor profiles have dominant olive notes. The oil is fruity, floral, buttery, nutty, earthy,grassy and vegetal (e.g., green leafy notes, bell peppers). The bitterness of the olive oil may be complemented with very low sweetness or saltiness. There is a rich mouthweight with butteriness that stays on the palate without becoming greasy. There can be some astringency and also some pungency or heat in the back of the throat.

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Tasting terms

  • flavor

    A combination of a food's basic taste and its accompanying aroma, flavor is the distinctive taste of a food or ingredient while it is in the mouth. Along with aroma, appearance, texture and taste, flavor is one of the five dimensions considered by ChefsBest Master Tasters. Example: Chocolate chip cookies should have a moderate chocolate flavor accompanied by a slightly lower level of complex dough flavor that includes egg, flour, vanilla and brown sugar notes.

  • aroma

    The smell that emanates from food. Along with appearance, texture, flavor and taste, aroma is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate a product. Example: Brownies should have an aroma that includes chocolate as well as egg, toasty and sweet notes.

  • bitter

    One of the basic tastes; often considered harsh and unpleasant in abundance, but a key basic taste for foods like coffee and dark chocolate. Example: Unripened fruit, aspirin and coffee all have bitter components.

  • taste profile

    The expected levels of each basic taste in any given food; defines the overall taste balance. Example: The taste profile of baking chocolate is led by bitterness that is balanced by a low amount of sweetness.

  • floral

    A natural, flower-like aroma or flavor. Example: High-quality vinegar, vanilla, honey, Mandarin oranges and dark chocolate can all have floral notes.

  • grassy

    A natural flavor or aroma suggesting grass. Example: Green tea, olive oil and some dairy products can have grassy notes.

  • astringency

    The tendency of some foods to cause the mouth to pucker; often associated with the presence of tannins or acidity. Example: Red wine, tea, grapefruit juice and pickles can be astringent.

  • heat

    The intensity of spiciness or the perceived warmth of food in the mouth. Example: Hot sauce has a distinct flavor, but it also possesses a heat component that warms the mouth.