What different types of olive oil are there?

Olive pomace oils

Although olive-pomace oil is usually included among the different types of olive oil, it is not really a quality oil at all and its consumption must be sporadic and even avoided. This type of oil is extracted from the residual material once the olive oil has been extracted.

For its production, chemical solvents generally derived from petroleum are usually used after increasing the temperature of the waste to extract the product. It is a similar process that is used in the extraction of other oils such as soy, sunflower, canola, and most other oils derived from seeds. Only by heating at high temperatures, the oil can be extracted from seeds that are solid in nature. It cannot, therefore, even be considered as olive oil and is usually very cheap.

Refined olive oils

They are usually made from old and often highly oxidized olive oils. In order to eliminate rust or mold flavors, different chemicals are usually applied at high temperatures, also eliminating possible free fatty acids.

This type of oil is the product of olives collected from the ground in which the decomposition process has begun or that have suffered some type of decrease in quality due to lack of irrigation, diseases or adverse climatic phenomena. The refinement process allows to hide and even eliminate unpleasant flavors. Sometimes they are mixed with better quality oils in small amounts to enhance their appearance.

It is the lowest quality type of olive oil since it is a processed product that throughout this process has lost most of its qualities and health benefits.

It is generally identified because the name “Olive oil” appears on the label. Attractive names such as “premium” or “aromatic” are often used on the label to attract misinformed customers.

Pure olive oils

Although it has a very attractive name that seems ideal for healthy consumption, it is a product that contains high amounts of refined oil, usually over 70%.

Light olive oils

Some brands recently in Europe have added this name claiming that they are oils with very mild flavors. Again, these are low-quality oils that do not, even with this attractive denomination, have lower calories.

Virgin olive oil

This denomination includes those olive oils of lower qualities not subject to refining processes. They tend to have high levels of acidity and poorly defined flavors. It would constitute a medium quality level in olive oils.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

It is the product extracted directly from the olive milling. Its flavor is intense and retains all the healthy and organoleptic properties.

In relation to the previous oils, it is the one with the highest price given the much higher cost of its production. This type of oil must not exceed the temperature of 28 degrees Celsius in its production process and must be stored in adequate light and temperature conditions. They are oils with low acidity (never above 0.8%) and, therefore, of very high quality.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from early harvest

It is a specific type of EVOO obtained from olives harvested shortly before they begin their ripening process (generally in the month of November). Its flavor and aromas are unmatched, as is its intense green color. Its properties as a food of high nutritional value and healthy make it the jewel of olive oils. They tend to have the highest price given the low yield of the olive that offers all its qualities before its moment of maturity. It is also the only type of oil produced by Cortijo de Santa María.


Botella de 500 ml de aceite de oliva virgen extra cortijo Santa Maria

629 / 5000

Expensive and cheap olive oils: Cortijo de Santa María EVOO

The price of olive oil fluctuates over time. This depends on several factors such as the amount available in the market (supply), domestic and international demand and also on the futures markets. Droughts, as well as other atmospheric phenomena, can be very damaging both during flowering times and when harvesting olives. However, the final price is also influenced by the quality of the oil and the procedures with which it is obtained.

International Monetary Fund, Global price of Olive Oil [POLVOILUSDM], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/POLVOILUSDM, December 8, 2020.

Thus, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) can be either non-organic, in transition to organic or organic. The first type is produced in olive trees treated with chemicals to cure non-compatible farming techniques for organic products. The second type applies  all the techniques approved by law to be considered organic products to be maintained for at the least 4 years to move on to the ecological category. Obviously, the production cost of the non-organic oil is much lower than that of the organic or transitional oil. In addition, these olive oils are much more compatible with the maintenance of the environment and facilitate the growth of insects, birds and other animals as it involves the non-use of pesticides. That is why the market price needs be higher because the consumer gets an EVOO produced with a special care and a zero level of chemical substances, that is, only EVOO  extracted through natural and mechanical processes.

The same applies to early harvest olive oil, picked up in late October and early November, when the olive has not yet begun the process of final maturity, which gives the oil a fresh taste and a unique flavor . In this case, performance in terms of oil obtained per kilogram of olives lowers significantly. If the performance of a ripe olives can be around 25% (i.e., 4 kg of olives is obtained 1 kg oil), the performance of an early harvest rarely rises of 12%, so it is an oil much more expensive to produce.

There are other techniques of product manipulation that cheapen the price of oil production. In the case of AOVE early harvest Cortijo Santa María, the olives travel directly from the tree to the mill, that is, no buffers are made. Olives stored in chambers, tippers and even fusty gradually undergo a process of decomposition which can generate molds that disminish quality dramatically. Obviously, this generates huge cost savings as large quantities of storaged olives can be transported to mills only once instead of  doing it with small quantities every time. All those impurities end up affecting the quality of the oil. The mixture of purest oils and more intense colors with mediocre oils also allow lower costs. Many times, treatments with caustic soda or chlorophyll adding to improve the color of low quality products.

Early harvest EVOO Cortijo Santa María is olive juice in transition to ecological, packed in transparent bottle so you can enjoy the green color. It has not been filtered so it to contains all its essence.  It requires to be stored in dark places avoiding direct light with temperatures below 25 degrees centigrades so in order to retain all its properties. Hence, it is not a cheap product to be obtained  and ir does not pretend to be. You can find other cheaper oils that not necessarily have to be bad oils at all. We simply have chosen to make you get the gift that the goddess Athena gave the men, that is early harvest EVOO with first cold pressing as it has been produced during millennia, for you and for your palate.