Virgin olive oil taste tests are carried out by professionals in order to classify and separate extra virgin olive oil from virgin olive oil for their subsequent commercialization. One can easily get mixed up between an extra virgin olive oil and a virgin olive oil. Two different oils with acidity lower than 0.8º could, at first glance, be considered as extra virgins. As a matter of fact, a virgin olive oil and an extra virgin olive oil are both natural products and real olive juice. The difference consists in the level of olive oil acidity and in the score they get in the sensorial analysis.
For virgin olive oil, the median of defects is greater than zero and lower or equal to 2.5; and the median of the fruity attribute is greater than zero. For extra virgin olive oil, the median of defects is zero and the median of the fruity attribute is greater than zero.
The following is an approximation to a professional extra virgin olive oil taste test:
1.- The ideal temperature for a taste test is 82.4 degree Fahrenheit. Between tasting each sample of olive oil, in order to eliminate the taste of the previous one, tasters eat a small piece of apple and drink a sip of water.
2.- The actual tasting is done directly from a glass which is rotated to wet the sides fully.
3.- The tasters lift the glass to their nose and sniff rapidly in order to receive the aroma from the oil.
4.- The taster has to notice the fruity attributes and the aromas of apple, grass, tomato, almond, etc.
5.- The taster takes a sip of oil, which should touch all areas of the mouth so that the various tastes and sensations can be noted.
6.- Now, the bitter attributes should be detected (on the rear part of the tongue), pepper notes (in the throat) and sweet notes (on the front part of the tongue).
Extra virgin olive oil has irreproachable taste and aroma, or in other words: it has zero defects. If any defects should be found, although almost imperceptible (winey, fusty, rancid, musty), the oil could not be called “extra virgin”. It is extremely difficult for a non-trained consumer to notice these subtle negative attributes; that is why professional taste testers and origin denominations play an important part in order to ensure that the olive oil bottle we buy is really "extra virgin".