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.
You may also like...
Fragrant Corn Chowder
Time to welcome the cosy season with a steaming bowl of goodness! This recipe comes to us from the 2023 Green Michelin Star winning restaurant championing all things seasonal and sustainable—Apricity in Mayfair. With this steaming bowl of chowder, their team says "Adieu!" to summer salads and welcomes the arrival of luscious, harvest-time dishes like this one. It will pair beautifully with any punchy extra virgin olive oil like our Spanish one or Croatian ones. Here's the method: Serves 3-4 ...
Don't Drizzle. Pour!: A Q&A with Johnny Madge
In the depths of early lockdown when we really couldn't leave our homes, I was desperate to taste and learn more about olive oils. We had our oil from Crete, and some others I'd been able to find in the UK, but I needed something extra... Enter Johnny Madge, an international judge and one of the leading olive oil "tasters" in the world (more on that later)—and one of the most passionate ones I've met to date. After a guided virtual tasting with a selections of oils he sent us from his favour...
The Ultimate Andalucían Travel Guide
Discover a more "tranquilo" approach to travel with our guide to Spain's sunny south. We're talking what to eat, where to go, and why you’ll love it... “Those who don't have too much of a plan are often the ones that have the best time. When some travellers get frustrated with the late eating hours or shops closing for siesta, I tell them to be a trout, not a salmon.” — Alexis Kerner, international olive oil judge and sommelier based in Sevilla. Andalucía beckons the curious traveller. Co...