Spotlight On the Koroneiki Olive and the Peppery Oil It Produces

Photo by Rancher Charlie Garcia
Photo by Rancher Charlie Garcia

If you ever taste our Koroneiki oil, don’t be surprised if you find yourself coughing two or three times from the peppery tickle you experience in the back of your throat. It’s a robust, “cougher” of an oil, one we use for blending with other oils. Koroneiki is the third variety of olives we’ll gather during next month’s harvest, on top of Arbequina and Arbosana.

It’s a small green olive shaped like a tear drop. Koroneiki originally is from Greece. It’s considered that country’s most important variety and has grown there for more than 3,000 years.

As for the flavor profile, we use terms like herbaceous, pear, and green olive to characterize our Koroneiki oil. It’s more robust than Arbequina, delivering “medium intense” levels of aroma, bitterness (a positive attribute of extra virgin olive oil), and pungency. Our Arbosana oil shares those same intensity levels.

Koroneiki is the smallest of our northern California olive crop, accounting for about 5 percent of the olives we cultivate versus 80 percent for Arbequina and 15 percent for Arbosana.

Unlike Arbequina and Arbosana, we don’t bottle our Koroneiki oil as a single-variety oil. We blend it with other oils to make Miller’s Blend, where it delivers robust bitterness and pungency, or pepperiness. We also use Koroneiki to create our Rich & Robust oil.

In general, the intense flavor profile of our Koroneiki adds something very special to our oils. The complexity of Koroneiki also makes it a favorite among people who enjoy a Tuscan-style flavor profile.

The drought-resistant Koroneiki olive tree is a prolific olive producer. And the olive itself is a prodigious producer of oil.

Like the Arbosana olive, timing is very important when we harvest Koroneiki. If harvested too early, the flavors are green and harsh and take time to settle out.

By the way, there’s a scientific explanation behind that peppery and pleasant tickle you get at the back of your throat when you swallow a good extra virgin olive oil. And researchers say the findings may prove useful in combating deadly diseases. (Click here to see a blog about the medical significance.)

In addition, the little Koroneiki olive delivers a healthful punch. It has a very high level of polyphenols, the chemical substances found in plants that may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch