The oil is produced by grinding whole olives and extracting the oil by mechanical or chemical means.
The different names for olive oil indicate the degree of processing the oil has undergone as well as the quality of the oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is the highest grade available, followed by virgin olive oil. The word "virgin" indicates that the olives have been pressed to extract the oil; no heat or chemicals have been used during the extraction process, and the oil is pure and unrefined. Virgin olive oils contain the highest levels of polyphenols, antioxidants that have been linked with better health.
Cold pressed or Cold extraction means "that the oil was not heated over a certain temperature (usually 80 °F (27 °C)) during processing, thus retaining more nutrients and undergoing less degradation. For the most part, we're talking room temperature at the time. They don't really "cook" the oil.
First cold pressed (Italy) means "that the fruit of the olive was crushed exactly one time i.e., the first press. The cold refers to the temperature range of the fruit at the time it is crushed. There is however, no international reliable definition of "cold pressed".
Furthermore, there is no "second" press of virgin oil, so the term "first press" means only that the oil was produced in a press vs. other possible methods.
Virgin means the oil was produced by the use of physical means and no chemical treatment.
Refined means that the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes (characterized as defects) and neutralize the acid content (free fatty acids). Refined oil is commonly regarded as lower quality than virgin oil; oils with the retail labels extra-virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil cannot contain any refined oil.
Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. It is used on salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.
Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has an acidity less than 1.5%, and is judged to have a good taste.
Pure olive oil. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.
Olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 2% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
* Where do they get "virgin olive oil"??? .......................... Ugly Olives.
Edited by IceMan - 7/12/12 at 12:33am