One of the most common quality indicators for olive oils is their acidity, a percentage indicative of the number of free fatty acids, with ratings for Extra Virgin Olive Oil fluctuating between 0-0,8%.
Several factors can have an important impact on the olive oil’s acidity, such as the time and general practices during harvest, but also the procedures concerning the extraction of the oil and the storage of the final product. Keep in mind the general rule which is the lower the acidity the better the olive oil.
Always check if the olive oil is organic and whether it is stored in proper packaging. Show your preference to conscious and small-scale farmers, the products of which are typically filled with the unique and characteristic aromas of the land that nurtured them. Also, don’t forget to check the harvest or expiry date. In general, olive oils can be preserved in excellent condition for about 12 to 18 months, before the gradual deterioration of their characteristics.
Last but not least, as far as the organoleptic characteristics of the olive oils go, that is – the attributes we can perceive through our taste and smell, always prefer olive oils that are bitter, spicy and fruity! Keep in mind that the bitter and spicy taste are definite signs that the olive oil came from relatively early harvested olives, that it was extracted and stored following the proper procedures and thus contains a very high percentage of polyphenols. In other words, bitter is better.