How to Taste Olive Oil

There is a wide range of flavors to be found in extra virgin olive oils.  Oil flavors are determined by many factors including the type of olives, their ripeness, growing conditions, and how the oil was stored.  Below are Imed Ghodhbeni, the Director of CHO’s Analysis Laboratory, recommendations on how to taste olive oil.

  • Taste oil in mid-morning.
  • Don’t eat anything or have any foreign flavors in your mouth before tasting (no smoking, toothpaste, gum, etc.).
  • Don’t have foreign smells on your hands or body such as perfumes.
  • Find a room that is quiet and free of any odor.
  • Sit down, relax, take your time (5 – 15 minutes per oil).
  • Taste about 4 – 5 oils and no more than 10 oils at any one time.
  • Cleanse your palate with apple and water between oils.
  • Use a document to write down your observations.
  • Remove the bias of color from your tasting by using a colored glass.
  • Swirl the glass with a cover on it or use your hand to cover the glass.
  • Warm the oil up to about body temperature before smelling or tasting it.
  • Remove the cover or your hand and immediately smell the oil by inhaling deeply.
  • Drink about 1 teaspoon of the oil, but before swallowing it suck in air and swirl it around your entire mouth for about 10 seconds. Swallow it, close your mouth and breathe out through your nose.
  • Immediately write down your impressions – first ones are usually the best.

“The best oil is usually the one you like.” said Mr. Imed, CHO’s Master Taster and Head of the Sensory Panel.