Extra virgin olive oil not only allows us to enjoy its unique flavor and aroma, but it is also beneficial for our health. However, most of the oil consumed in the world is refined olive oil, which has lost its organoleptic properties (aroma and flavor) and many of its healthy attributes. The different olive qualities, the collection method and the production process give rise to different types of olive oils. To guarantee the quality and transparency in its commercialization, Europe, the largest producer, has established a regulation to classify the different types of olive oils according to the extraction process, the acidity and other physical-chemical parameters. The result is as follows:
Extra virgin olive oil
It is the oil obtained from the fruit of the olive tree only by mechanical means, under conditions that do not lead to alterations of the oil, and with a maximum degree of acidity of 0.8%. This parameter is related to the amount of free fatty acids that are in the oil, and that are produced mainly because not all the olives used were in optimal condition. Extra virgin olive oil is very rich in antioxidants and has the highest amount of minerals and vitamins that can be found in olives.
Virgin olive oil
This oil is extracted in a similar way than extra virgin olive oil, but its degree of acidity is higher, reaching 2%, that is produced by a worse quality of the olive. However, it may be the case of an acidity less than 0.8% but not fulfilling the aroma and flavor required to be qualified as extra virgin.
The olive oil is obtained from the mixture of refined oils from defective oils (lampantes) with virgin oils, which give it flavor and smell. It is a lower quality oil. It is still suitable for consumption and must have a degree of acidity of no more than 1%. Sometimes, this type of oil has the qualification of soft or intense, but we must remember that it is a mixture of oils of lower quality.