Your Guide to Different Olive Oil Types

We understand that buying olive oil from the store can be quite confusing. It is because of all the different terms and labels one finds on the bottles.

For an average person, most of these labels are too similar (what’s the difference between extra virgin and virgin olive oil anyway?). What’s even more concerning is that some specific olive oil types you find in the store are not made for cooking at all.

Fortunately, the guide below is designed to educate you on the different types of olive oils available on the market, hoping that we can help you choose the right oil when it comes to cooking for your family. So, without any further ado, let’s jump straight into it.

The 5 Different Olive Oil Types

The 5 Different Olive Oil Types

While there are several others, we’ve decided to review the five most common olive oil types in this guide. Each of these oils differs from the others in terms of flavor, aroma, acidity content, and, of course, price.

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin is probably the most prevalent type of oil in supermarkets. EVOO is the highest quality olive oil available made by crushing olives and extracting juice. It is the only cooking oil that is made without the use of chemicals and industrial refining.

To qualify as extra virgin, the oil must also meet strict chemical and sensory standards, including having a free acidity of no more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams and no sensory defects.

The primary difference between extra virgin olive oil and other types of olive oils is in flavor, aroma and high nutritional value. It retains the fruity, peppery notes of the original olive fruit, making it stand out as the most flavorsome and tastiest olive oil type.

Its key use is in cooking and baking. However, experienced cooks know that it's at its most flavorsome when used to make dips and sauces, as its natural, unheated flavor adds an extra zest and tang to your dishes.

Already interested in buying extra virgin olive oil for your cooking needs? If yes, try Ayvaco’s top-quality olive oil now!

2. Virgin Olive Oil

Contrary to popular belief, virgin olive oil is unrefined as well. It may prompt you to ask why it is considered different from extra virgin olive oil. Well, that’s because it possesses higher acidic content.

Virgin olive oil is divided into subtypes containing different acidity levels. Namely, these are:

  • Fine virgin olive oil: Fine virgin olive oil is the closest to extra virgin olive oil in terms of acidity, as it only contains, at most, 1.5 percent acidic content.
  • Semi-fine virgin olive oil: In contrast to fine virgin olive oil, semi-fine virgin olive oil can contain up to 3.3 percent acidity.
  • Virgin olive oil: Virgin olive oil acts as the middle ground, containing no more than two percent.

If you’re living in the U.S., you’re not likely to find this olive oil type in stores, as most stores go directly from extra virgin olive oil to refined olive oil. Its overall taste is milder than extra virgin olive oil, which is why most cooks use it for low-heat cooking purposes.

3. Refined Olive Oil

We’re now diving into processed forms of olive oil that aren’t fit for human consumption in their natural, unrefined state. Refined olive oil usually consists of olive oil extracted from black and ripe olive fruits. However, it contains an acidity level higher than 3.3 percent. Thus, it needs to get refined before it can be sold.

The refining process usually involves pre-heating, filtering, or adding chemicals to the oil. The key to identifying is by looking at its color. Refined olive oil is really light in color and doesn’t possess the same aroma and flavor as extra virgin or virgin olive.

That said, it does contain the same amount of calories and fats as other olive oil types. This olive oil isn’t usually used to make dips and sauces. Instead, it's mostly reserved for bulk cooking purposes.

4. Olive Pomace Oil

Olive oil extraction gets done usually by cold pressing the olive fruit, which doesn’t remove all the oil from the fruit. Some of it, about 5 to 7 percent, is almost always left over in the form of olive oil pulp, also known as “pomace.”

Manufacturers tend to squeeze the remaining olive oil from this pulp out as well. Using a combination of chemical solvents and high heat renders the oil extracted completely unusable for cooking purposes.

Instead, this type of oil is used strictly for commercial purposes, making it one of the few types of olive oils that aren’t edible.

5. Pure Olive Oil

Judging from the name itself, consumers may believe that pure olive oil is the best of all in terms of flavor, aroma, and taste. However, we’re here to tell you that it’s the opposite.

In reality, pure olive oil is a blend of extra virgin or virgin olive oil and refined olive oil. This composite form of olive oil usually occurs when the extraction of refined olive oil is not as good as expected.

The aim is to improve the quality of the original oil by mixing it with higher-quality extra virgin olive oils, which ultimately increases its flavor and vitamin E content. Unlike olive pomace oil, pure olive oil can be used for human consumption and is largely used as a cooking oil.

Olive Oil Type for Cooking

What is the Best Olive Oil Type for Cooking?

If you’ve read through the entire article up to this point, you already know the answer to the above question. However, we’ll still reiterate one more time that extra virgin olive oil is by far the best olive oil type for cooking.

Not only is it the most flavorsome and tasty of all the olive oils on the list, but it also contains the least acidity and highest health benefits. Plus, if you’re looking for olive oil seasoning for a salad, the extra virgin variety works best in this regard as well. In fact, using it to make dips, sauces, and seasonings is the best way to bring out the premium olive oil’s full, uninhibited flavor and taste.

And while we’re on the subject, allow us to also plug our Ayvaco extra virgin olive oil as one of the best EVOO on the market. As a brand, Ayvaco aims to be one of the healthiest extra virgin olive oil brands on the market, offering the best quality extra virgin olive oil that’ll make your food taste even more flavorful.

So, are you ready to win over your guests and impress them with your delicious and meticulously crafted dishes?