How do you measure the quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

How do you measure the quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

At Liokareas, we strive for the best of the best when it comes to quality.  There are many factors that distinguish one olive oil from the next.  A list of a few of the major differences are as follows:

1. Type of Trees - There are several different types of olive trees, Arbeqina (Spain), Arbosana (Spain), Coratina (Italy), Koroneiki (Greece) and many more.  The Koroneiki trees are a much smaller tree than most, producing a small fruit that is very dense and full of flavor.  The Koroneiki tree requires more pruning than most trees, and is very labor intensive to harvest.  The olives are small and are harvested when green and starting to turn purple.  This work must be done by an experienced farmer and if done properly, will yield an oil that thicker than others, green in color and an authentic flavor.  The Koroneiki Tree is known in Greece as the "Queen" of the olive trees.  It is also a known fact that many olive oil producers will add Koroneiki Oil to their oils to add flavor to them.  At Liokareas, our oil is 100% pure Koroneiki Oil, from our premium orchards.

2. Climate & Location - The climate is an important factor as well in olive oil production.  Most olive trees are grown in a dry, warmer climate, such as the Mediterranean, California, Australia and many others.  In areas closer to the sea, olives trees tend to grow taller and produce more volume.  Sometimes this can cause the olives to be less dense and produce a thinner oil.  In the mountains and in higher elevations, the trees tend not to produce as well due to the colder climate.  Also the terrain is important to the growth of a tree.  An olive trees branches are the same size as an olive trees roots!  In other words, in softer soils, roots go deeper and trees are taller.  Taller trees tend to produce a different type of oil than smaller trees.  In rocky terrain, roots cannot penetrate as deep and the trees are kept small and produce less oil, but a more concentrated oil.  At Liokareas, our trees are located at the foothills of the mountains south of Kalamata Greece.  We have found that the elevation of our trees, at the base of the mountains, keeps our trees small, but they are not too high up the mountains where they effected by weather.  The result is a high concentrated, strong tasting oil that is rich in flavor.

3. Shelf Life - When choosing a premium olive oil, shelf life is very critical as well.  It has been tested and proven that Olive Oil is high in antioxidants and that premium Olive Oil have high level of phenols. These are important in maintaining heart health, lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the chances of heart failure, and many other health benefits.  But, it has also been proven that over long periods of time, as well as exposure to sunlight, that these healthy characteristics that are found naturally in olive oil can begin to break down.  So how can you ensure that you purchase fresh Olive Oil? Check the best by date on your bottle, check the harvest date if possible, check the color (green=good & fresh).  At Liokareas, we sell fresh, green oil that is farmed and pressed by our owners.  We turnover our product quick, and keep it stored away from sunlight. 

4. Care for the Olives - Another major factor in the quality of olive oil is the care taken to tending the trees.  Koroneiki trees require much more pruning and are labor intense to harvest, but prove to be a better quality oil.  Using pesticides, artificially watering as well as genetically modifying trees all tend to produce higher oil yields, but the oil lacks in quality.  During the harvest, it is also critical to press the olives as soon as they are harvested.  Leaving olives harvested for days before they are pressed can cause the skin to wrinkle, and acidity levels to rise.  At Liokareas, we never use pesticides, all our orchards are natural and we always press our olives when they are picked.  We have found that this high level of care is sometimes not always taken by others. 

At Liokareas, we physically work in our olive orchards year after year, we harvest our own olives, and press them ourselves.  The extreme level of care that is given to our Premium Orchards is a reflection of our intense devotion to quality and perfection in every drop of Premium Koroneiki Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

This is what separates Liokareas from the rest.  Once you try a bottle of Liokareas, you will be able to taste the difference.