Olive Oil Primer: What is the Koroneiki Olive?

I like to rate the pungency of our extra virgin olive oils by how many times people cough when they swallow the oil during a tasting. I tell people our Koroneiki EVOO is a “two or three cougher.”

It packs a deliciously robust flavor, and finishes with a pleasant, peppery zing in the throat. The oil is the most pungent EVOO we produce. A case in point: I hosted a tasting earlier this year for a large group of chefs in San Diego. And, sure enough, people were clearing their throats after tasting our Koroneiki.

I want to focus on the Koroneiki olive in this blog post, following my earlier posts about the two other olives we grow: Arbequina and Arbosana. Unlike those olives, however, we don’t bottle our Koroneiki oil as a single varietal extra virgin olive oil. Instead, we blend it into our Arbequina EVOO.

That blending kicks up the Arbequina’s flavor a notch. And it gives the Arbequina a more complex taste profile. The blending also extends the Arbequina’s shelf life.

The Koroneiki olive hails from Greece, where it’s grown to produce oil. The tree has grown there for more than 3,000 years. It’s a prolific olive producer. And the Koroneiki olive itself is very small.

That small olive, however, delivers a healthy punch. The Koroneiki olive has a very high level of polyphenols, the chemical substances found in plants that may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Our Koroneiki olives represent about 10 percent of the olives we grow on Northern California ranches that extend from Fresno up to Corning. It’s our smallest olive crop. By contrast, our Arbequina olives accounts for 70 percent and Arbosana the remaining 20 percent.

We use a system known as “super high-density planting” for all three olive varietals. It allows us to harvest the olives more quickly and get them to the mill to be crushed into fresh extra virgin olive oil.

Our Koroneiki EVOO has a robust fruity nose with a strong, peppery finish. It’s characterized by aromas of fresh grass and artichokes.

One final note: Our miller Bob Singletary says the complexity of Koroneiki makes it a favorite of people who enjoy a Tuscan-style flavor profile.

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch