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How to evaluate an extra virgin olive oil at home?

Please follow these 10 steps:

1.- Pour about 25ml into a glass. Approximately two tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil you intend to taste and evaluate. The best way to do this is in an official tasting glass for oil oil, but if you don't have one, that's fine; you can use a wine glass. 

2.- Hold the glass in the palm of one hand while you cover it with the other. Turn it gently with a slight tilt for 20 to 30 seconds. With this action we are heating the oil while preventing the volatiles from escaping. Remember that the optimum temperature for tasting an oil is 28 degrees Celsius. 

3.- Uncover it and quickly place it under your nose. Now you must concentrate, for the olfactory phase begins. Inhale with slow and prolonged breaths, trying to relate what you smell to known fragrances that you retain in your memory. You are perceiving the aromas of the olive oil, positive or negative; try to identify them. 

4.- Take the glass to your mouth and sip a small amount of oil. With it still not being swallowed, while it remains in the mouth cavity, suck in air strongly through the mouth and pass it between the teeth. In this way you will perceive the retronasal aromas, they go up from the mouth to the nose, which will remind you of what you have previously perceived through the nose. By passing a rpaid and strong current of air through the mouth, whose temperature is higher, you will be able to volatilize all the aromas. 

5.- Take a second small sip and try to identify the different tastes and sensations that unfold on your tongue, palate and throat. 

6.- You'll sense whether the oil is sweet or not as soon as it enters your mouth .We associate the sweet attribute with the feeling of fluidity in the face of pastiness and roughness. An oil is sweet when it enters cheerfully, lightly and quickly as it passes over the tongue. 

7.- Now you will perceive the bitterness on the back of the tongue and the palate. Bitterness is a positive attribute that is perceived in high-quality extra virgin olive oils. As the juice continues its journey inwards, it will show you whether or not it is spicy and with what intensity. You should positively assess the spiciness and bitterness when they are moderate and in proportion to each other. This is what we would call a balanced juice. 

8.- Evaluate complexity of the aromas you have perceive in the nose and mouth. An EVOO is complex when it smells and tastes like various levels of fresh, living nature. These levels are divided into fruit aromas, cultivated vegetables and wild vegetables. 

9.- Finally, put your mind to work. Remember the immediate nasal aromas and the sensations you perceived in the mouth, and then value the extra virgin olive oil as a whole. We consider an oil to be harmonious when the nose goes along with the mouth in its positive attributes, when it is elegant, balanced and complex. 

10.- Read the EVOO label carefully and identify the area, the variety of olive from which it comes, whether it is early-harvest or not...and record in your memory the association between the sensations you have perceived and its origin. Save it in your mind and start to set up you own "sensory oil library". Finally, try to associate the flavours of this EVOO with the culinary arts and/or foods with which it would best be paired. 


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