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What is cold pressed Extra Virgin olive oil?

What is cold pressed Extra Virgin olive oil?

Extra virgin olive oil has been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for hundreds of year and is still one of the most celebrated foods in the world. Used for its unique flavours, versatility and its many health benefits.

The ancient traditional olive mills consisted of large slabs of stone, a pile of circular mats and a donkey. The mill stones were pushed around by a donkey which crushed the olives to a paste. It was then placed on the mats which were then stacked and pressed to squeeze out the oil and water, which would then be separated.

If you have visited Olive Fabrica the home of the Governor extra virgin olive oil you can see the old traditional mill in the museum, which was once used many many years ago. It was a very labour intense process.

Historically, the term ‘cold pressed olive oil’ referred to olive oil that was produced from olives that were freshly harvested then pressed early in the day when the large mill stones were cold before friction began to heat them up. If left until later in the day the stones would become hot from friction and therefore heat the olives. Using the mill stones when cool prevented the olives oxidising resulting in an olive oil of a higher quality in taste, aroma and healthy compounds.

‘First cold pressing” refers to olive oil produced during the first pressing as often a second pressing occurred which produced a lower quality oil.

evoo tours1

Today, it’s very rare to see olive oil produced in an old traditional mill but the ancient process of olive oil production, the crushing, mixing and separating oil from the water is still followed.

These days the best extra virgin olive oils are ‘cold extracted’ meaning the oil is extracted without the use of excessive heat, using modern technology stainless steel milling machines that prevent oxidation from heat, light and air. It is a far easier, more hygienic, more accurate process which results in a far healthier higher quality product.

These modern milling machines keep the temperature below 27c which preserves the healthful polyphenols. At olive fabrica the home of the Governor EVOO the temperature is constantly monitored which keeps the average temperature very low. We look for an average temperature for between 17-21c, the cooler the better, knowing this makes huge difference to the aroma, flavour profile and its healthful polyphenol levels. This is why cold pressed olive oil retains the natural smell and taste of olives.

Lower temperatures below 20 degrees tend to produce significantly lower quantities of oil per kg of olives compared to 27 degrees but of higher quality and taste. This is why high phenolic olive oil costs more to produce.

Any oils that are not cold extracted would not qualify as an extra virgin olive oil as the heat would degrade the oil to a point that it wouldn’t pass the strict standards for EVOO such as several sensory panel tests and a chemical analysis.

the cold press process

Extra virgin olive oil is an unrefined oil with no chemicals, just pure olive juice giving it a higher nutritional value than other types of cooking oil. It is packed full of beneficial nutrients including healthy fats and antioxidants, making it an ideal addition to any diet.

It is associated with numerous potential health benefits to overall health and wellbeing including supporting a healthy immune system, helping to reduce cholesterol, protecting against cancer , boosting heart health, reduces inflammation, improves brain health, slows ageing, combats diabetes and reduces all cause mortality.

As well as all its amazing health benefits, it is absolutely delicious too!