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How to choose the right olive oil - Types of Olive Oils

If one has knowledge about the various grades or types of olive oil, one can choose the right one according to their needs and partake of its health benefits and wholesome flavor. Here is a description of each type of olive oil with its benefits and drawbacks.

1. Extra-virgin olive oil

In order to make extra-virgin olive oil, a mechanical procedure is made use of to extract the juice of olives. First, by smashing the olives to a pulp, a mash is obtained. This mash is whirled around in order to enable the separation of the juice from the pulp and the stone. The pulp that gets separated is also known as the sub-product.

Extra-virgin olive oil is a completely natural product and forms an important part of the Mediterranean cuisine. This oil retains the organoleptic features of the olive fruit.


Extra-virgin olive oils can be categorized into various sub-types based on their flavor and acidity levels. When the olive oil has acidity lower than 0.8 degrees, it is considered to be of the best quality olive oil.


1.  Completely natural product
2.  Less acidic; lower than 0.8 degrees. Lesser the acidity level, higher the quality of olive oil.

Costly, although the quality is superior to all other olive oils. 

2. Virgin olive oil

The grade of olive oil that is just a notch lower than extra-virgin olive oil is virgin olive oil. This type of oil is obtained by cold pressing the olive fruit. Virgin olive oil tastes and smells fruitier and is lighter. There are various methods in which virgin olive oil is obtained. Thus, the oil generally has an acidity level lower than 2% and is considered a little defective.

3. Refined olive oil

Refined olive oil is not fit for human consumption and is produced by refining extra-virgin olive oil. During the chemical process that produces refined olive oil, the color, smell, and debris are removed. Its quality is good enough to be combined with extra-virgin olive oil to derive “pure” olive oil. Refined olive oil is not sold as edible oil but is used in industries such as pharmaceuticals, tinned food, and cosmetics.

4. Pure olive oil

Pure olive oil is obtained by combining extra-virgin olive oil and refined olive oil in a 25%:75% ratio. 


1.  Pure olive oil has an intense flavor due to the presence of 20% extra-virgin olive oil that has acidity lower than 0.7 degrees
2.  Less expensive than extra-virgin olive oil


1.  Not completely natural, although of good quality
2.  There is no fixed proportion for mixing extra-virgin oil and refined olive oil to make pure olive oil. Thus, certain brands of pure olive oil hardly contain significant amounts of extra-virgin olive oil, thus rendering it tasteless. This difference is reflected in the difference in price of the oil.

5. Pomace olive oil

Pomace olive oil is derived from the subproduct i.e. the pulp obtained after separation of olive juice from the mash. This oil is then refined to improve its quality. Finally, it is combined with extra-virgin olive oil in the ratio 95%:5%.


1.  Less expensive as compared to extra-virgin olive oil or pure olive oil
2.  More conducive to good health as compared to vegetable oils like sunflower oil and soya oil


Its benefits can be obtained only if the pomace oil is properly refined.

6. Salad olive oil

Salad olive oil is made by combining extra-virgin olive oil with any vegetable-based oil such as soya oil, sunflower oil, or mixed-seed oil in the ratio 15%:85%. Also known as “blended oil,” it is not allowed to be sold in countries which produce olive oil. However, in other countries, blended oil has proved to be quite popular.


1.  Less expensive than other grades of olive oil
2.  More flavor if the extra-virgin olive oil used in the combination is strong


Does not provide as many health benefits as other grades of olive oil since it has more of the properties of vegetable oil.

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