Seth Schrage - Jan 29 2019
That's me standing next to the filter used for La Laguna de Fuente de Piedra.
“Unfiltered Olive Oil” is used on packaging as a positive feature. Lots of olive oil enthusiasts seek unfiltered oil under the belief that it will have more/better flavor. I want share some details about filtration and why it’s actually necessary for producing quality olive oil.
Here is a quote from Claudio Peri's "Extra Virgin Olive Oil Handbook":
"Filtration is necessary
Some producers maintain that extra-virgin olive oils do not need filtration but also that filtration is detrimental to oil quality. This point of view should be considered as erroneous and probably the result of improper implementation of this operation." (Peri 155)
At TSS we find that filtered olive oil have a cleaner, less greasy, and more expressive flavor. The filtration removes water, enzymes, and detrimental suspended particles. This makes the olive oil taste fresher for a longer time and raises the smoke point.
Filtration is expensive for producers to perform. It decreases the yield. The filter medium is expensive. It ads an additional time consuming step after centrifugation. You can see the thickness of the filter below. The oil travels through more than 50 of these at a low temperature. This is why a lot of unfiltered olive oil actually a cheaper product.