FAQ

Of course! And its production has also an influence. This is the real world of the extra virgin olive oil. 
 
If we know that the virgin oil and the extra virgin oil are the basis of physical and chemical quality and it is proved that the extra virgin olive oils are different. The different varieties will be important for the flavour and the aroma of the oil. For example, the main character of the Arbequino oil is fruity and the Picual oil is bitterness and pungency. Picudo and Hojiblanca oils are more balanced; Empeltre and Cornicabra are softer. The production, earlier or late will give greener or more mature aroma or flavours, with a greater or lesser degree of bitterness and pungency.  
 
There are a large range of flavours in the extra virgin oils that allows the consumer to enjoy this rich variety, using this crude oil in different dishes.
 
To discover different flavours and sensations is the wonderful thing of this world.
 
On the other hand, there are the refined olive oils that they taste very similar and they have a very soft flavour. In this case, the variety does not influence on the flavour. They have created some intense and soft oils, as we have commented in the acidity question, this only confuse the consumer and they want to sell them as extra virgin olive oils.

 

This question is related with the precedent one. To preserve the olive oil it is important to protect it from sunlight, heat and air (oxygenation). The most important fact is the sunlight that easily deteriorates the oil losing its properties. For this reason, it is recommended to use dark bottles or tins. But there are also glass bottles, because in a commercial way it is important for consumers to see the color and the aspect of the oil. It is essential for plastic bottles to keep them in dark places. 
 
The preservation also depends of the olive varieties. There are varieties that possess more preservatives and there are others varieties that are easily deteriorated. The olive oils Olipe and Olivalle, possess a high oleic acid content that are resistant and their conditions last a long time if they are properly guarded and protected.

The concept of first cold pressure has been spread as a quality factor “beyond the extra virgin”. But it is important to explain two aspects: pressure and cold.

The extraction by pressure has practically become obsolete. This technique using esparto or plastic pressing mats and the contact of the oil with the environment it usually gives organoleptic defects. Most of them will not pass a tasting for extra virgin oils.

The olive paste has a cold temperature in the mixers before the separation of the oil. When we talk about a cold temperature it is always under 28ºC. In these temperatures, the oil does not suffer any physical or chemical alterations. If the temperature is increased it will produce double or triple breaks in the bonds of the fatty acids and it will have an impact on the quality of the oil. For this reason, if the oil is extracted in cold temperatures it will preserve its properties and it will be an extra virgin olive oil if the quality of the olive fruit is good. If an olive is extracted in bad conditions it will have more acidity.
The temperature parameter is controlled during the production and to demonstrate it is necessary to possess a register system of temperatures that could justify it. In the Olivarera Los Pedroches SCA we have a system of temperature sample that shows the production temperature and it belongs to the quality system ISO 9001 and ISO 22000. Otherwise, we do not indicate it on the label because we believe that the value lies in the extra virgin olive oil and if we include others notions it could be a confusion for the consumer. 

These days it is considered as a distinguish fact. But the differentiating value is to be an extra virgin olive oil. There is a large variety of different aroma, flavours and the consumer could choose in a large range of the highest quality extra virgin olive oils. 

On the labels of extra virgin olive oil we see “Best before”, it is a date that the packer guarantees that this type of olive oil will not suffer any physical and chemical modifications. If this date has been through, there will not be bad for the health, but it will surely lose some properties. If the olive oil has been through a long time, maybe the oil has lost its properties and that it has become lampante oil that is not advisable for its consumption.

 
The Community Regulation 640/2008 undertook to not include references about the acidity of an olive oil in the labeling unless that is together with other physical and chemical parameters of quality, such as the level of peroxides, K270, K232 and others. In this way it will not be possible to see the acidity indicator on its own on the label. 
 
This is due to the confusion of the consumer for the olive oils (refined oil mixed with a small proportion of virgin oil) that were advertised as an olive oil 0,4º and 1º, without any direct relation with the acidity. We remember that an olive oil is from refined oil and this last one it is from lampante oils that go through a refining process. During this process, color, flavor, smell and acidity are taken off by chemical processes. That is to say, that the refined oil has any acidity because it has been taken off. Thus, it is very different to the extra virgin olive oil that is the olive fruit juice in the best conditions where the acidity is a parameter of quality.
 
For this reason, it has been eliminated the acidity indication of these labels. And if the acidity indication is on the label it has to be together with other physical and chemical parameters of quality. 

 

The acidity of the extra virgin olive oil has always been important for the quality of the oil. We will explain what it is, why it produces acidity and what it indicates.

The acidity is a free acidity, expressed in oleic acid and measured in gr/100gr. The extra virgin olive oils have at most 0,8 gr free oleic acid for 100 gr of oil, expressed as 0,8º. 

What is free acidity or how is it produced? The olive oil produced by the olive fruit is made of triglyceride, made by the union of glycerol and fatty acids. These fatty acids are not free, they are part of triglycerides. In this way if there is not acidity, the oil will be neutral with 0,0º.

When the skin is broken by blows, injures made by pests, frosts, etc. the water of the vegetation that the olive fruit contains come into contact with the oil and it produces hydrolyses of triglycerides, dragging the fatty acids and leaving them free, this is how acidity is produced.

However, the treatment that receives the olive fruit is essential to not produce these hydrolyses reactions. If there are many reactions the oil will have more acidity. If we want low acidity oils, it is important to have a good soil management, an appropriate harvest directly from the olive tree, a polished transport putting the olive fruits into crates, a correct processing in the olive oil mill with suitable temperatures. Instead, if the olive fruit is hit during the harvest, or fallen in the soil and then sweep, or if it is transported in bad conditions, the fruit it is exposed to higher damages and there will be more hydrolyses reactions and the resultant oil will have more free acidities, that means, more acidity. 

Regarding the maturation of the olive fruit and its relation with the acidity, if there is a higher maturation there are more risks that the skin will be damaged and more possibilities to produce hydrolyses during harvest or transport. Otherwise, a little mature olive has a stronger skin and it is more resistant to breaks and to produce free acidities. In a general way, in addition to the own flavours and aromas of a little mature fruit, the early harvest have an impact producing lower acidity in our oils. 

The acidity of our oils Olipe and Olivalle is around 0,25º. 

We start this section with a question: types of olive oils. After this explanation we will better understand these notions.  
 
The most general classification corresponds to four commercial categories of olive oil recognized in the legislation of the European Union (Standard CE 1019/2002). The categories are the following:
 
  • Virgin olive oil: These oils are solely obtained by mechanical or other physical methods under conditions that do not lead any alteration in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation or filtration. 
  • The Extra Virgin olive oil, it is synonym of highest quality, it preserves intact all its sensorial characteristics and proprieties of health. It is the olive juice without additives nor preservatives, having an acidity lower than 0,8%. This oil presents pleasant and identifiable sensorial characteristics, without organoleptic defects.   
  • The Virgin Olive oil, without the word “extra” is still an olive juice without additives nor preservatives but it has a sensorial defect even if it is very small. Its acidity must be lower than 2%.
  • Lampante olive oil: it is not intended for direct human consumption. The acidity is higher than 2º and possesses defects that are easily identifiable. This oil is intended to the refinery where it is taken out colours, aromas and flavours of the olive using solvents or using adjuvants having a chemical or biochemical action, or by re-esterification process to produce refined oils. This refined oil is neither intended for a direct consumption and it has to be mixed with virgin oils. 
  • The olive oil does not have the appellation “Virgin”. It is lower quality oil because it is from a mixture of refined oils and virgin oils. Some of this mixture is obtained when the Virgin olive oil is refined with acidity higher than 2% for this reason the Olive oil is not olive juice. It is intended for the consumption and must have an acidity degree lower than 1%. 
Pomace oil is the lowest quality oil for consumption. This oil could not be considerate as olive oil because it is the result of the mixture of refined pomace oil with virgin olive oil. It has an acidity degree lower than 1%.
For this reason, we have to base on the qualities and the goodness of extra virgin olive oil.

 

The predominant variety were come from the olives that we elaborate in Olipe and Olivalle is the variety “Nevadillo Blanco” located in the olive groves of the Sierra of Los Pedroches. It is a sub variety of Picual, it is adapted to areas of the sierra with low deep and fertile soils and cold climate. The name “nevadillo” (snowy) is because in spring in times of rainfall it is possible to see more the back of the leaf than the inverse. This back has a light green colour and it is very similar to white. For this reason, this mountain area of olive trees seems snowy and this is why they are called like that. It is a real pleasure to enjoy the view of these “snowy” olive trees mixing the green with other colors of the countryside of the Sierra of Los Pedroches. 
 
This variety has particular characteristics such as bitterness and pungency. From a chemical point of view it has a high content in oleic acid, with values close to 80% that made it an olive oil with incredible preservative qualities. 

 

The distinguishing organic olive oil lies in the production system that is to say in the field and management of olive trees in relation with its environment.
 
To distinguish an organic and a conventional olive oil by its flavour it is practically impossible. It difference lies in the analytics, in the absence of pesticide waste and the management of the soil. For this reason, it is essential for an organic product to possess a certification system that evaluates the soil management. As I said before, the difference is inside. There are researches that concede significant differences regarding contents of nutritive elements in organic products. These differences have been contrasted in favour of organic oils.  
 
But it is important to make clear that the flavour is not perceptible and it does not help to differentiate two extra virgin olive oils, one from the organic culture and the other from the conventional culture.
 
In the Olivarera Los Pedroches SCA the 70% of our production is organic and the rest is conventional. Oils are different due to the olive quality and we are able to distinguish thanks to our experience in olive oils; otherwise, it is very complicate for the consumer to notice this distinction between two extra virgin olive oils of highest quality. 

 

In the Olivarera Los Pedroches SCA we normally use different batches for plastic, tin or glass bottles. The olive oil in plastic bottle is normally focused in a local market and its consumption is for the kitchen (this oil is better for cooking) and we made tastings to prepare batches that are adapted to this type of consumption. On the other hand, the extra virgin olive oil in a tin or in a glass bottle is for raw consumption. 

This kind of warehouse and the experience in tasting of our responsible of the oil mill and our Director, it is possible to establish some batches without renouncing to the category of extra virgin. It is not an easy task to classify the warehouse, it is intense but it is also passionate to be able to taste and observe the evolution of the oils, aromas and flavours... This work is compensated offering balanced and characteristic batches of Olipe and Olivalle. 

The olive oil Olipe and Olivalle is rich in fatty acids (especially in oleic acid). There is also a kind of oleic acid that we commonly call “margarine” that has a freezing point below to the rest. For this reason, when the temperature drops some lumps are created because the oil is curdled.

This aspect is completely reversible, when the temperatures increase, it returns to its normal aspect. 

The olive oils (refined...) do not have these lumps.