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The official receptacle for tasting olive oil is a specially designed blue glass with cover prescribed by the International Olive Oil Council. These are available in Spain and Italy for a cost of approximately 7 Euro’s.

  • Most tastings are carried out with small (100ml) glasses or plastic cups with covers to keep the volatile elements in.
  • Approximately 20-30ml of olive oil is poured into the tasting vessel.
  • Professional tastings are limited to 3 or 4 oils a day, amateur tastings usually cover 6-8 oils.
  • The olfactory senses tire fairly quickly and the perception of pepperiness in the back of the throat will become distorted through a cumulative effect.
  • The olive oil can be swallowed or spat out.
  • Between tastings the palate can be cleansed with small slices of apple and the mouth washed with mineral water.
  • Bread is not a good medium for tasting as it has a strong taste, is often salty and can mask faults in the oil.
  • Notes should be taken using tasting cards for future reference.
  • Colour is not a good indicator of the quality or style of the oil and is not used as a parameter for evaluation other than in culinary contexts where colour may be important for presentation.

The following can be used as a guideline for olive oil tastings:

  • Pour 25ml of the oil to be tasted into a numbered cup or glass.
  • Place lid over cup or glass to retain aroma.
  • Warm tasting cup to approximately 26?C by cupping it in hands or placing on a warming pad.
  • When ready to taste, remove lid and inhale, noting the aroma 
  • characteristics of the oil.
  • Replace lid and record descriptions.
  • Repeat, if necessary, to further define aroma.
  • Take approximately 10ml of oil into the mouth and spread all over the mouth noting the tastes of as the oil spreads over the palate:
    • Fruitiness at the front of the palate
    • Bitterness at the back and sides, and
    • Pepperiness or piquancy at the back.
  • Aspirate, taking in air through the mouth and expelling it through the nose to enhance the taste effects.
  • Replace lid and record descriptions.
  • Repeat after a short break if necessary to further define taste.
  • Cleanse palate and take a break before the next sample.