The absence of negative attributes is the major characteristic of extra virgin olive oil.
However the tasting of olive oil, as the one of wine, takes an exhaustive training, we are going to go over the main steps in the process. In this way, you'll be able to practice and you'll come to appreciate more the unique scents and flavours of each different oil. For the tasting, you'll need glasses for the oil which are able to be sealed, or at leas covered conveniently. Also water and pieces of apple, which you will eat in between to clear the taste off your mouth. Also, you should know that during the day there are some periods in which the smelling and tasting sensitivity is higher. Perceptions are more acute in the morning and just before eating. Anyway, no food should be ingested in the hour before of starting with the tasting. Talking in general, olive oil has a very wide range of characteristics. Some are always positive, as the fruitiness, which is divided into ripe (the taste becomes more sweet and the smell more dull) or green, when the olives still didn't mature. Also a bitter or a pungent quality are considered positive. Both appear when the olives used for producing the oil were just starting to ripe or were collected in the beginning of the campaign. Then we have perceptions which could be pleasant or not depending on their intensity. They are usually associated with familiar scents or flavours, as apple, fresh cut grass, green leaves, sweet... And finally, there are some traces whose presence is obviously always negative, such as earthy, metallic, fusty, rancid, vinegary, machine oil... which point to mistakes or defficiencies during the process of producing the oil. The tasting starts with the olfactory part. Now, pour approximately 25 gr of oil into the tasting glass and cover it. Rub it with your hands to warm it a little bit -the temperature at which properties are perceived at their best is 28ÂºC-. Tip up the glass and turn it around carefully in order to wet its walls as much as possible. Uncover and bring it under your nose. Breath in deeply and slowly, for 30 seconds maximum. This time you will just get a first and general impression. Take a rest breathing in and out. Now you can repeat the procedure, but this time for a longer period, alternating rapid and shallow with deep and slow breathings. Try to focus on the different notes that will appear, and associate them with various fruits. You can repeat this as many times as you want, although according to most of the experts, what was not detected in the 5 first tries will continue to pass unnoticed. The second phase is the gustatory one. After warming the cup in your palms as before, take into your mouth a small amount of oil (3-5 ml), then procceed to make it circulate slowly towards the back of your tongue. If you focus on the taste, you will perceive bitter close to the root of your tongue, while spicy is further down to the throat. The salty taste can be felt on the whole tongue, although it's more clear on the sides of the front part. The feeling for sweet is more acute in the center of that part. If the olive oil is virgin extra, no strange taste should appear at this moment. Now close your mouth so that your teeth touch each other and your tongue is resting against the upper row, and push the oil to that frontal position. Now make many short succesive intakes of breath. The oil will mix with the air and the saliva and, when touching the taste buds, create new perceptions. Also the scents will now reach the nose from the inside. After you recognized the new perceptions, empty your mouth and wait still 30 seconds to see if any after-taste shows. In the tactile phase, you will take again some oil into your mouth, but this time paying attention solely to its density. Also you will consider its consistency, if it is thick, smooth, fluid or watery. Nest, the harmony and the equilibrium of the oil will be analyzed. Usually experts do this by considering the balance between scents and flavours, and, so to speak, how they match each other. Finally, there is a visual phase in which you pour the oil into a transparent glass and observe its appeareance and colour. It should be clear, without turbidness or floating particles. The colour doesn't affect the quality at all, however it should be in the range that goes from intense green to gold.