What is 'cold pressed' olive oil? And is it the same as 'extra virgin'?

What is 'cold pressed' olive oil? And is it the same as 'extra virgin'?

We get asked this all the time, and we get that it’s super confusing. So many brands talk a lot about their quality being centred around “cold pressing”—but in the case of a true extra virgin olive oil, you’re just stating what it is already by legal definition.

"Back when olive oil production was done with presses, the term described the first press of the fresh fruit. Now it's a meaningless buzzword emblazoned on bottles everywhere." —The Olive Oil Times

First, let's talk about the 'press'.

It's actually a common misunderstanding that people still use traditional olive oil presses. The best olive oils in the world today are cold extracted—still no heat or chemicals, but in a much more precise and hygienic way than the old press. Most brands these days do this using a clean, cool and continuous-cycle milling machine that removes (as much as possible) the enemies of extra virgin olive oil—namely light, heat and air. 

But it's cold, right?

Sure. We're not applying any heat to our extra virgin olive oil, and neither is any brand following the rules.

The term "cold" is redundant when it comes to EVOO, and here's why: By definition, extra virgin olive oil cannot be extracted with heat. Using modern milling goes on to help keep that below 27 °C.

So why do people keep marketing their oil as 'cold pressed' or 'cold extracted'?

Some actually don't know the difference. Especially those disconnected from the actual supply chain and production, or who aren't watching the regulation in the main producing countries (e.g. Mediterranean countries under EU laws).

For others, it's a way to show some consistency in the language that other oils and juices use. That's because most people don't know that "extra virgin" by definition means it is (or should be!) done without heat.

Such an ancient industry and yet so much confusion, but we're trying to navigate it through transparency.
Want to know more? Drop us a line and we'll geek out with you about olive oil.

Join the Olive Oil Club

Every gift comes with a handwritten note. Just add your message to the box in cart for us to include.

You may also like...

Mediterranean nespoli and almond cake

This cake encapsulates the taste of spring in Greece, combining sweet almonds and sour nespoli fruits. It’s best enjoyed with a cool drink, under a shady tree. Or, simple close your eyes & let the delicious evocative flavours of this Olive oil cake transport you to the Med. All across the Mediterranean this time of the year, nespoli trees gift us with their soft, sweet-sour orange fruits.These are sometimes  hard to come across in the UK, so if you can’t find them, switch them up for an...

Introducing a small-batch EVOO from Northern Portugal

It seems like everyone in the olive oil world knows Marije. Ambitious, but decidedly artisan, she represents a new wave of olive oil producers who are increasingly improving the whole industry while keeping it small. This is a story about friends. In the early days of our olive oil adventures, we stumbled around Portugal meeting some of the most exciting women coming up in the space. That led us to Ana, our second producer ever and one who makes multi-award winning, high-polyphenolic extra vi...

Meet Ana: our olive oil producer from Alentejo, Portugal

Meeting this producer actually changed the course of our business. She became the goal of what an “ideal” producer looked like and established a level of quality that’s truly a rare find in the olive oil industry. As we turn down the roads to get to the farm, the path turns from pavement to dirt. This was our very first “sourcing” trip, after only having worked with our close family friends in Greece. We didn’t really know what to expect or what we were getting into.... But nevertheless, we t...

Follow us on instagram