A Closer Look At Different Types Of Olive Oil

Not all olive oils are the same. There are a wide range of different types on the market and many are graded by specific standards which then denote the kind of labelling they can carry.
Olive oil is like wine in some respects, there are many different flavours, aromas and colours that define different types of oil. Below is a closer look at how olive oils are classified and how each type differs.
Olive Oil Taste Factors
There are many different factors which impact on the taste of olive oil. These include:
  • The ripeness of the olives
  • The variety of olive chosen to make the oil
  • The soil and climate conditions of where the olive was grown
  • The timing of the harvest
  • The method of harvesting
  • The pressing technique
  • The length of time left between harvesting and pressing
  • The packaging and storage methods of the olives and the oil
Olive oils are also graded by a range of determiners including production method, acidity of the content and flavour. The International Olive Oil Council exists to set quality standard that the majority of countries who provide olive oils adhere to and recognise.

Local Variants

Olive oils which come from different parts of the world have different appearances, flavours and tastes. Here is a closer look at some of the characteristics of different olive oils.


Spanish olive oil is a golden yellow in colour and is known for its fruity, nutty flavour. A large amount of the olive oils sold worldwide is from Spain.


Italian olive oil is darker green in colour and has a strong herbal aroma and a flavour with grassy undertones.


Greek olive oil is known for its pungent, strong aroma and again has a green colour. It’s lighter than Italian olive oil as a rule and the flavour is amongst the strongest.


French olive oil is pale in colour and has a softer, subtle flavour. It has a green, yellow tinge and is milder and preferred by those who enjoy the flavour of olive oil when it has been watered down.

Grading Olive Oils

There are a wide range of different olive oils with virgin olive oils amongst the most popular and fine. Virgin olive oils can be split into a wide range of categories from premium extra-virgin olive oil which has an acidity level of as low as 0.225% to semi-fine virgin olive oil which has an acidity no higher than 3.3%.
Olive oils which aren’t classed as virgin are those which are refined after the first pressing. The general olive oil category is less refined and popular than virgin olive oil. Oils which have been refined after this point are often colourless and odourless and are often blended to be used in cooking – they can’t really be enjoyed in the same way as a virgin olive oil will be on salads and with breads.
Olive oil tastings run cross the world to give connoisseurs a chance to discover a favourite. The different types of oil all have their fans and it’s a true science to classify and identify one oil from another.
Maria Cumming Panadero is a Managing Director in El Olivo. She is committed to sharing her passion for delicious, high quality olive oils and fine food from her homeland Spain.