Olitaliano: la filiera tracciata di Unasco


Basic facts about oil


The oil quality

  • The olives must be harvested at the right maturity stage: that is when the colour starts changing from green to brown (veraison or ripening).
  • The quality of oil depends on olives variety, each one has its own distinctive flavor and aroma which depends on cultivar specimen, and the climate conditions in the area of cultivation. In addition fruit must not present signs of decay or other sanitary conditions.
  • Harvested olives are placed in crates perforated for air circulation and are taken immediately to olive oil mill for further processing as soon as possible.
  • The temperature during the milling and malaxing process of oil extraction must be around 25°C-32°C and the duration of the process should not be longer then 25 to maximum 35 minutes.
  • Prior to bottling the olive oil undergoes the decantation process followed by filtering in order to avoid that any production process waste influence negatively the quality of oil. Special filters can help to eliminate the production process waste.
  • The oil must be stored in sealed air-free tanks, and kept at about 18°C-20°C in humidity free environment and most importantly in total darkness.

The classification of oil

The oil is the product of crushing of the olives through mechanical proceedings.
Its quality depends upon the quality of olives, environmental conditions, place and method of olives crushing.
It is not at all certain that even from the first-pressing of olives we will obtain the extra virgin olive oil!

The extra virgin olive oil is characterised by:

  • the acidity is inferior to 0,8% and is free of defects (=0)
  • extra virgin olive oil must have precise chemical and organoleptic characteristics

The oil that has no above mentioned chemical characteristics is classified as virgin olive oil and lampante olive oil.

  • Virgin olive oil is oil with the acidity comprised between 0,8% and 2% and defects at (>0>3.5)
  • Lampante olive oil is oil with the acidity higher then 2% and defects that make its flavour and aroma unpleasant (>3.5)

Lampante olive oil can be used only after further industrial treatment in order to eliminate unsavory defects in flavor and aroma and after its analytical values have been restored within the limits set by regulations.

This treatment is called refining and the product deriving from it is known as "refined olive oil".

Refined olive oil can be sold to final consumer only after being mixed with extra virgin olive oil or olive oil in a percentage that goes from 10 to 25%. The result of refining process followed by mixing with oil obtained by crushing the olives is called olive oil. Keep in mind that this oil is a mixture of oils obtained through mechanical proceedings and industrial refined oils.

The extra virgin olive oil has nothing in common with the adjective "refined".

Let's learn to read the labels because the greater our oil culture becomes, the lesser chances are to be deceived.

The last product that can be obtained from the olives is olive pomace oil. Olive pomace oil is made from the residue left after milling the olives (% of oil in olive pomace oil is comprised between 3% and 9% of the weight based on the milling system used).

Shall we dispel a myth?

There is only one pressing cycle therefore the extra virgin olive oil is obtained from the first and only one milling proces. There is no second pressing! There are only olives of first, second and third class, but that's another story.

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