What Does First Cold Pressed Actually Mean?

extra virgin olive oil after pressing

There are many terms and keywords, like first cold pressed, that are important to look for when seeking out a quality, flavorful extra virgin olive oil for cooking. We think it’s great that consumers are learning more and more about which phrases will indicate a genuine and high-quality product. But, we find that there is sometimes confusion about what these terms actually mean! To help better educate all our fans and lovers of our extra virgin olive oil, we thought we would help explain what first cold pressed actually means.

Olives being dumped into storage to become extra virgin olive oil.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is First Cold Pressed

Generally, this term means that the fruit of the olive tree was crushed exactly one time, the “first press.” And additionally, it was a “cold” press – the temperature range of the fruit at the time it was crushed didn’t exceed excess temperatures and not a lot of heat was applied. If the temperature is too high during the crushing process, the quality of the oil will suffer. Lower quality oils – those that aren’t extra virgin – typically are the product of olives that were too mature at the time of harvest, sat too long after being picked before being milled, or sat too long in the malaxer at the mill causing oxidation and high heat.

Olives moving on belts from storage to become extra virgin olive oil.

First cold pressed is not a grade of olive oil but a descriptor for how an extra virgin olive oil is made. In fact, in order to be extra virgin, the oil is required to have been not subject to any heat or abuse during processing. Otherwise, it can’t qualify as extra virgin olive oil under standards established by the Olive Oil Commission of California and the USDA.

We hope this clears up any confusion!


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