Cold Extracted Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs Cold Pressed: Are They the Same?

Is Cold Extracted Extra Virgin Olive Oil the Same as Cold Pressed?

No, cold extracted extra virgin olive oil is not exactly the same as cold pressed olive oil. The difference lies in the method of extraction. Cold extracted means that no heat was added during the extraction process.

Extraction Processes: Cold Extracted vs Cold Pressed

  1. Cold Extraction: In this process, olive paste is subjected to malaxation, where it is slowly churned or mixed to stimulate the oil molecules to conglomerate and concentrate. The process occurs at a temperature of less than 27°C (80.6°F), hence the name cold extraction.
  2. Cold Pressed: This is the traditional method where olives are pressed using a hydraulic press or similar to extract oil. The term “cold” suggests that heat hasn’t been artificially added. However, friction during the pressing process may slightly increase the temperature.

Quality and Flavour

Cold extracted extra virgin olive oil tends to have a superior taste and aroma. This is because the absence of heat helps preserve the flavors and health benefits. On the other hand, cold pressed olive oil, despite its quality and flavor retention, might slightly lose on these aspects due to possible frictional heat.

Common Terms Used in Olive Oil Industry

  • Extra Virgin: Indicates olive oil of the highest quality, produced from the first press of olives, with no heat or chemicals used.
  • Malaxation: It’s a process that involves slowly churning or mixing olive paste to facilitate oil extraction.
  • Press cake or Pomace: The solid residue left after pressing the olives. It can be further processed to extract more oil – but this oil won’t qualify as Extra Virgin.
  • FFA (% Free Fatty Acids): A key parameter that indicates the quality of olive oil. Lower FFA usually denotes higher quality.
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