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Nov 15, 2006 08:23 PM

Bitter EVOO - did I buy too cheap?

I've noticed that the most recent olive oil I've purchased is bitter. Quite bitter. I went with a lower-end brand that I hadn't tried before but I've never noticed this before. It's not a rancid taste - just a bitter aftertaste. Any help? I've never noticed this with cheap EVOO before - thoughts? Suggestions? Do I just pitch it?

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  1. Is it a "green" bitter taste - that I associate with more expensive olive oils - but wondering if that could be the case here. Care to share the brand?

    And, if you don't like it and it was cheap, you might want to pitch it - did you try cooking something w/it?

    1. Badia is the brand. (meant to reply to MMRuth - oops)

      Hmmm, it is kind of a "green" bitter. My husband even noticed the bitterness last night and was unhappy (and his tastes aren't that sharp).

      I've used it for cooking and haven't noticed any problems, but I have noticed a bitterness with salad dressings and just now I was able to put my finger on it when I dipped a piece of bread in it. It's just very sharp, if that makes sense. Unpleansantly so, for me.

      I love a strong olive oil taste - do you have any suggestions for a good flavor with no bitterness?

      2 Replies
      1. re: krissywats

        I just bought a wonderful Spanish olive oil at that Spanish store on Broome - Despana or something - it was relatively reasonable - will find the name for you and post. Not familar with Badia - but sounds like just cook with it and find another option for salads.

        1. re: MMRuth

          The olive oil I was referring to is called "Castillo de Canena"- unfiltered, made with picual olives. To me, it has a lovely green flavor.

      2. Newly bottled oil sometimes has a bite that disappears after a few months.

        1. Sounds like the Badia olive oil should be left for cooking only, if that. If my husband noticed that the olive oil had a bitter taste (once I recovered from the shock), I would have to figure I probably shouldn't even use it for cooking. I have found the California olive oils tend to have a very olivey (sp?) taste. A little too much for my taste, but many of them are quite reasonable, and might be worth trying one or two and see if you like them.

          1. I like the Badia spices. I never purchased their EVOO ... To avoid a lot of disappointment, I tend to purchase olive oils from Italy, and France. Those tend to have the fruitiest taste of the olive. No bitter aftertaste [usually]. The brand I can recommend that is consistently good is Carapelli EVOO. The oil is very floral and very fruity surprisingly for its price. You can find it at most supermarkets ...

            Some useful info:

            Spain uses Picual, Hojiblanca, Ecijano, Cornicabra, Arbequina, and Picudo olives for olive oil. These tend to have bitter aftertastes many times.

            Italy uses Frantoio, Lecino, Ascolana, and Coratina olives. All fruity notes.

            France uses Picholine, Salonenque, and Lucques olives. All *milder* fruity notes.

            With the prices of olive oils skyrocketing, olive oils from Turkey still remain very nicely priced and really impart wonderful flavors to any recipe. Don't be quick to judge them as "cheap and probably tasteless" because they have a small price-tag. Turkey uses Edremit, Ayvalik, and Domat olives.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cheese Boy

              One of my favorite brands is Sultan from Turkey. Nice pronounced olive flavor. Currently around $30 for 3 liters of EVOO.


              1. re: Cheese Boy

                > Spain uses Picual, Hojiblanca,
                > Ecijano, Cornicabra, Arbequina,
                > and Picudo olives for olive oil.
                > These tend to have bitter aftertastes many times

                This is not true... There is a huge difference in flavor between these varieties (and the many other varieties grown in Spain). There is also a pretty marked difference between olives of the same variety grown at lower and higher altitudes.

                Mild Spanish varieties:

                Picual--particularly those grown at a higher altitude
                Arbequina--except for those pressed from the first olives

                The problem is that the vast majority of Spanish (or Italo-Spanish) olive oil sold in the US does not identify the variety on the label as it would in Spain. It's much easier to choose the right oil based on the variety than it is by brand.