Answers To Your Top 8 Burning Questions About Olive Oil Revealed (& How To Avoid The Most Common, Dangerous Olive Oil Mistakes)

Affiliate Disclosure

which olive oil is best
Articles, Nutrition

Today's article was written by my recent podcast guest on the episode, “What Olive Oil Should Taste Like, The Scary Truth About Olive Oil, Can You Cook With Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Much More!,” T. J. Robinson, aka “The Olive Hunter®.” One of the world's most respected authorities on all matters olive oil, T.J. is known for his “platinum palate.” He is one of the few Americans invited to serve as a judge in prestigious Italian olive oil tasting competitions. These days T.J. is dedicated to importing rare fresh-pressed olive oil, the most flavorful and healthiest extra virgin olive oil on the planet, until now virtually impossible to obtain year-round in the U.S. All his oils are independently lab tested and certified for 100% purity.


As I recently discussed with Ben on this podcast, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is on just about everyone’s shopping list these days. It’s been hailed as a superfood by Harvard Medical School, acclaimed by the Mayo Clinic, lauded by the Yale School of Public Health, and recommended by scores of leading MDs for its numerous health benefits. EVOO is all the rage for those on the paleo, keto, and Atkins diets because it’s a delicious, zero-carb food that makes almost any meal more flavorful and deeply satisfying.

But many people make mistakes when buying and storing their olive oil.

I invite you to test your knowledge by taking the quiz below. Your reward will be learning the most important pointers you need to know whenever you buy and use this popular superfood. Scroll down past the explanation to see the correct answer.

Ready? Let’s go!


T.J.'s Olive Oil Quiz

Question #1: True or False? The most important factor in an olive oil’s flavor and nutritional potency is its freshness.

I’ve been spreading this message about the critical importance of freshness for many years. Nowadays, many of the world’s most influential food writers and master chefs preach the same sermon. For example, the culinary experts at America’s Test Kitchen emphasize that when it comes to olive oil, “the fresher, the better.”

Moreover, a recent New York Times article by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Julia Moskin states, “More than the flags on the bottle, more than the varietal, more than whether the oil appears grass-green or butter-yellow, many experts and producers now say the biggest factor in the deliciousness of olive oil is its freshness.”

And here’s why freshness is the most crucial factor you should demand whenever you buy olive oil. It’s because the olive is a fruit. And olive oil is a fruit juice. Just as with other fruit juices, olive oil tastes outrageously delicious when fresh-squeezed right after being plucked from the tree. If you’ve never tasted fresh-pressed olive oil, you’re in for one of the great tasting discoveries of your life.

In addition, when olive oil is fresh-pressed, its health-promoting polyphenols are at their zenith. But after six months, those healthy polyphenols begin to degrade inside the bottle. So when olive oils sit on the shelf too long, which is routine in supermarkets, even the best olive oils turn dull, lifeless, stale and eventually rancid.

The correct answer is: True.


Question #2: True or False? The way to ensure that your olive oil is fresh when you buy it is to check the label’s “Best Used By” date.

Forget “Best Used By” dates. They’re arbitrary and tell you nothing about how recently the olive oil was pressed. In addition to a “Best Used By” date, the top olive oil producers put a Pressing Date on the label (also known as the Harvest Date). Preferably, you want to see a Pressing Date no older than six months prior to your purchase. In contrast, many “Best Used By” dates are set for two or two-and-a-half years out, way beyond the six-month window of maximum freshness and nutritional potency.

Outrageously, the producers of mediocre mass-market olive oils intentionally omit the Pressing Date on the label because they don’t want you to know how old—and thus stale—their olive oils are when you buy them.

The correct answer is: False.


Question #3: True or False? The best place to store your olive oil is on your stovetop, where it’s conveniently within reach when you cook.

Because olive oil is perishable, heat and oxygen are enemies of olive oil’s flavor and healthful polyphenols. They destroy its freshness. Store your olive oil in a cool, dark place—never next to the stovetop.

Also, over long periods beyond six months, any oxygen inside the bottle will dull the olive oil’s flavor. So unless you are a voracious user, buy olive oil in small bottles or tins to minimize the amount of oxygen in contact with your oil inside its container.

What about storing your olive oil in the fridge? I’m not a big fan of this practice because it can cause your olive oil’s fats to coagulate, which in turn can result in moisture condensing inside the bottle when you remove it from the fridge.

The correct answer is: False.


Question #4: True or False? It’s smart to buy olive oil in a clear bottle so you can see the color of the oil, which ideally should be bright green.

First, you never want to buy olive oil in a clear bottle. Just like heat and oxygen, light is also an enemy of olive oil. Always buy olive oil in dark glass bottles, tins or other opaque containers. Clear glass bottles might be aesthetically pleasing, but they do not protect the oils from natural or artificial light. Prolonged exposure to light hastens the deterioration of your oil. This is why you should never store your olive oil on a windowsill in direct sunlight. Inside your kitchen cabinet is your best storage option.

Second, when judging an olive oil’s appeal, color is irrelevant and not a predictor of flavor. A golden-hued oil will not necessarily be buttery tasting. An intensely green oil would seem to suggest pepperiness and pungency, but it might be very mild on the palate. Even judges in tasting competitions fall prey to color prejudices, which is why professional tasters use color-obscuring tasting glasses, usually blue or brown.

The correct answer is: False.


Question #5: True or False? The highest grade of olive oil is “extra virgin.”

Always buy olive oil certified to be “extra virgin.” Grades such as “pure,” “light,” or “virgin” indicate that the oils did not meet international standards for “extra virgin” and typically have been chemically treated to mask defects. Also, ignore terms like “cold-pressed” and “first-pressed.” They are meaningless in today’s olive oil lexicon.

The correct answer is: True.


Question #6: True or False? The Mafia has infiltrated the olive oil world and, according to Sixty Minutes, you face a “sea of fakes” when you shop for olive oil in stores.

In recent years, many of America’s most respected media, including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and CBS News, among others, have reported the appalling news that many olive oils in U.S. stores are cheap counterfeits made by the Mafia. Investigators have found that some of these fakes contain ingredients and chemicals that could cause serious harm. To avoid such fakes, buy only those olive oils that are independently lab-certified to be 100% pure extra virgin olive oil. All olive oils available at the link below qualify on this count.

The correct answer is: True.


Question #7: True or False? If an olive oil causes a tickle or even a cough in the back of your throat, it’s an excellent sign of its freshness and quality.

A segment aired on NPR explains this:

“Ever wonder about that peppery and irresistible urge to cough you feel at the back of your throat when you slurp some extra virgin olive oil?

“Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have discovered that back-of-the-throat receptors recognize an anti-inflammatory agent in extra virgin olive oil called oleocanthal. The chemical is a potent inhibitor of an inflammatory enzyme called COX (cyclooxygenase). And that’s just how ibuprofen works to reduce inflammation.

“Connoisseurs of olive oil know that the cough response is a marker for how pungent the oil is—a sign of purity. They even rate extra virgin olive oils as one-cough, two-cough, even three-cough.”

Indeed, throughout Italy, Greece and other olive oil-loving regions, “three-cough” olive oils are the most prized. Their anti-inflammatory power is one of Mother Nature’s most potent, all-natural ways to relieve everyday aches and pains.

Of course, you normally will experience this tickle or cough only when sampling such super-fresh olive oils direct from a spoon or glass. As with other pungent foods and seasonings, this spicy kick will calm down and smooth out once you blend it with food. Then your predominant sensation will be the oil’s vivid and delicious harvest-fresh flavor.

The correct answer is: True.


Question #8: True or False? You should shop for olive oils where the bottles show the pressing dates and the proprietor encourages you to sample the oil before you buy.

Now that you know that freshness is the most critical factor in selecting any olive oil, you want to find a convenient source of olive oil with a pressing date on the label. And most important of all, you want a source that lets you taste the olive oil before you buy so you can verify its fresh-from-the-harvest taste. This is easy if you’re lucky enough to live near an olive grove or a gourmet store that specializes in fresh-pressed olive oils, has a brisk turnover and lets you sample the oils.

If you don’t live near such a source, no worries. I have just the solution for you.

The correct answer is: True.


How To Get The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil (& A Cordial Invitation To An Exclusive Club)

I’ve created an exclusive club for olive oil lovers called the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club. We bring, direct to your door, the world’s freshest, most flavorful olive oils produced by the world’s top gold medal-winning artisans. And we ship these divine olive oils to you straight from the latest harvests around the world, when these prize oils are at the peak of freshness, flavor and nutritional potency.

Best of all, we let you sample your first bottle free (a $39 retail value) if you’ll pay just $1 to help us cover shipping; and, unlike with other clubs, there’s never a minimum commitment or anything that you are obligated to buy, now or ever.

If you’d like to try my Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club and spend just $1 to help cover shipping, I’ll send you my finest, freshest $39 olive oil for you to taste on your juicy grilled meats, delicate fish, crisp salads, scrumptious veggies, luscious pasta, and hunks of warm, crusty bread. Based on my experience with many thousands of olive oil lovers, I’m confident that when you taste how this harvest-fresh olive oil elevates the flavors and deep-down satisfaction of all your favorite foods, I’ll win you over as my long-term club member. But that decision will be up to you. All I ask is that you taste it and decide for yourself.

The reaction these oils are generating is extraordinary. Foodies, celebrity chefs and food writers are raving about them. For example, Larry Olmsted, the award-winning food and travel journalist, recently wrote in his New York Times best-selling book, Real Food/Fake Food:

“I now get most of my oil from T.J. Robinson’s Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club, and every time I open a bottle, my kitchen literally fills up with the smell of fresh-crushed olives—the scent explodes out of the bottle. Just breaking the seal transports me to Italy or Spain or Chile.”

And Ben Greenfield says:

“I was shocked when I got my first shipment of Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil and got to try ‘real' olive oil for the first time. It's a spicy, complex explosion of flavor and I now know why they're so darn healthy over there in the Mediterranean – you cannot deny the benefits, and superior flavor, of this extra virgin olive oil. Once you try it, you'll realize what you were missing!”

When you click here to claim your $39 free bottle for just $1 shipping, you’ll see similar comments from many other olive oil lovers. If you’re interested, try a bottle for just $1, taste for yourself, and discover how the world’s finest and freshest olive oil is really meant to taste.

If you have questions, comments, or thoughts, leave them below and I'll be happy to answer them!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question



20 thoughts on “Answers To Your Top 8 Burning Questions About Olive Oil Revealed (& How To Avoid The Most Common, Dangerous Olive Oil Mistakes)

  1. Jim says:

    Hi Ben, does organic matter for olive oil?

    1. Tj Robinson says:

      Hi, Jim,
      I’m happy to share my thoughts on this.
      I feel a high quality, early harvest, fresh olive oil is far better than a low-quality organic oil.
      Sadly, fraud in the olive oil industry includes false labeling for extra virgin and false labeling for organic.

      Find a source you can trust. Search for early harvest oils.
      Look for harvest dates printed on the bottles.
      Buy small, consume quickly and follow the global harvest to obtain the freshest.

      Happy Drizzling,
      Tj Robinson

  2. Steven Cowser says:

    what if entering the club is a little much for my wallet and I were to ask for a recommended brand of extra virgin olive oil?

    1. Brad says:

      I am certainly no expert. However, with the amount of olive I use part of my purchasing decision is based upon price

      I buy an organic olive oil with the NAOO seal. NAOO states that the oils are tested twice a year from bottles off the shelf to meet International Olive Council standards. You can look those standards up, but I can’t say they really mean anything to me since I am not a food scientist. It does give me some minimum level of confidence that the certified olive oil is likely real and that it is likely extra virgin.

      A major health food supermarket markets an organic version under their own brand with the NAOO certification at a very affordable price in the 34 ounce size bottle. The good thing about this supermarket is that the bottles likely have a very high turnover and do not sit on the shelf for a long time. Unfortunately, the bottle does not have a harvest date or press date. It only has a use by date. Also, the bottle states that the oil may come from one or more Mediterranean countries. (Spain, Tunisa, Greece, Italy). If you shop at the the most well known health food supermarket, you should be able to find it. NAOO also publishes a list of other certified brands.

      1. Steven says:

        thank you so much for your info! as I was pondering all of this, I found a shop in my town that imports oils from Europe that have press dates and affordable prices. definitely good knowledge to hold for the future my friend.

    2. Tj Robinson says:

      Hi, There,
      Look for something as fresh as possible.
      California has one harvest a year, in the fall.
      Then look to the Southern Hemisphere in our Spring and Summer months.
      Try to find a shop that buys in small quantity and moves product quickly.
      If you can sample the oil all the better.
      A fresh, green oil should smell grassy and herbaceous.
      It should leave a tickle or slight kick in the back of your throat.
      It may even make you cough a bit, that’s a good thing!

      Always look for a bottle that has a harvest date printed in the label.
      Hope this helps!
      Tj Robinson

    3. Tj Robinson says:

      Hi, Steven,
      If you can find an early harvest from California you can get fresh oil domestically once a year.
      Then look to the southern hemisphere in our Spring and Summer months.

      An oil from early harvest, green olive is best.
      Look for a harvest date on the label, otherwise it’s hard to know how old the oil is.

      Hope this helps!
      Tj Robinson

  3. MARK says:

    Hi really interesting podcast looked at subscribing to get the oils sent to me but doesn’t seem to send to Scotland – any European companies that send similar to Scotland? Ps any further on with KION shipping to UK?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Kion ships to the UK. If you're having trouble you can click "chat" in lower right corner at http://getkion.com/

    2. Tj Robinson says:

      Hi Mark,
      Sorry, we do not ship outside of the USA.
      My best advice is to download the Flos Olei 2020 guide.
      This guide ranks the best olive oil producers around the world.
      You may be able to identify some producers who can ship to you.

      All the best,
      Tj Robinson

  4. Drew says:

    Your links to the olive oil club don’t work for me. Are you blocking puerto rico?

    1. Tj Robinson says:

      Hi, Drew,
      Sorry your link didn’t work.
      No, we are not blocking Puerto Rico.
      But, sadly we do not ship to Puerto Rico.

      All the best,
      Tj Robinson

  5. Plamen says:

    How to get high quality olive oil in EU?

    1. Tj Robinson says:

      Hi Plamen,
      The EU has many great olive growing regions!
      My best advice is to download the Flos Olei 2020 guide.
      This guide ranks the best olive oil producers around the world.
      You may be able to identify some producers near to you, or who can ship to you.

      All the best,
      Tj Robinson

  6. Jane says:

    Hello Ben
    Not sure I want to purchase Kion Flex, your website hasn’t updated the label with new ingredients you mention in Boundless – glucosamine and chonriotin. How do we know you aren’t just selling off the old formula ?

    Jane

  7. Hannah Hausman says:

    What about cooking with olive oil. I was under the impression that when heated at high temps, the oil actually turns into a trans fat inside the body? Is this true?

    1. Nick says:

      The polyphenols in quality oil protect against this. Still wouldn’t cook with it at super high temps though.

      1. Tj Robinson says:

        We at the Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club agree with Nick!
        Cook away, but be sure to start with a high quality olive oil.
        Tj Robinson

  8. Glenn Doerr says:

    I’ve been using TJ’s oils for about a year now and love getting the 3 different oils every quarter to try. I have not gotten one that we don’t love. It is remarkable the difference in quality from the so called “extra virgin olive oils” we’ve been using from the supermarket. Thanks to Ben and TJ my family is now olive oil snobs and can’t go back to low grade oils. Our favorite is reverse seared grassfed French ribeyes drizzled with the bold olive oil just before eating!

    1. Tj Robinson says:

      Thanks so much, Glenn!
      I’m so happy to hear you and your family love the oils.
      That steak sounds dreamy…!!
      Happy Drizzling,
      Tj Robinson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *