Tasting Olive Oil

A Quick Introduction to

Fresh, high-quality extra virgin olive oil is healthy and delicious. So how do you know if an oil is great - or not so great? It's easier than you might think.

Olive Oil Tasting

Smell it.

Pour a little in a small, clean glass and cover the top with one hand as you warm the glass a little with the other hand (to release the oil's aromatic compounds). Now smell the oil.

What you're looking for here is the fruity smell of fresh olives. You might find hints of grass, herbs or floral notes -- all good stuff.

What you don't want to find are unpleasant aromas like spoiled fruit, mustiness, vinegar or wine.


Now that you have the basics down, go explore. There are hundreds of olive varieties and countless other factors that make every extra virgin olive oil unique. 

At the 2018 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, 521 brands from 22 countries were awarded - each with its own one-of-a-kind set of qualities and complex character.


Try pouring two different oils over the same simple food, such as a boiled potato, ripe tomato or poached egg. 

Grilled steak with a delicate oil will taste different than a grilled steak with a robust one. They'll both be great, and you can't really go wrong, but you'll probably find you prefer one over the other.

The best chefs have discovered how the endless varieties of extra virgin olive oils can enhance and elevate their culinary creations to new heights.

Want a cheat sheet? Try our pairing app.

Keep Tasting.

The more oils you taste, the better you become at recognizing the characteristics of high-quality extra virgin olive oils. So make a habit of tasting oils before you use them and try different pairings to see how they can bring out the most in your dishes.