Olive Oil Varieties & Types

There are countless varieties of olives grown throughout the world today and many different olive varieties are commonly used for producing olive oil. As with any agricultural item, the end product is greatly affected by a number of factors such as olive variety, growing conditions, harvesting methods, production methods and storage and distribution factors. This is one reason why there is such a broad range of flavors found in extra virgin olive oil. The same olive variety can produce different flavors when grown in different parts of the world or when harvested earlier or later than usual. Even fruit from the same tree can have different results each year depending on the weather and other factors during the growing season. this list shows a quick view of the common varieties typically grown worldwide.

In North America, there are three common types of olive oil sold today:

The main difference in the three types is flavor. Extra virgin olive oil is the most flavorful and also is the healthiest. The range of flavors of extra virgin olive oil is unlimited and producers and suppliers might blend multiple extra virgin olive oils to achieve a specific flavor profile. Whether a mono-varietal or a special blend, the end result might be smooth and subtle, peppery and pungent or anything in between.

Olive oil is often also referred to as pure olive oil or classic olive oil. Olive oil has a mild flavor with just a hint of fruitiness, allowing other ingredients to be the star of your dish. Light-tasting olive oil is almost flavorless, bringing the great properties of olive oil to a recipe without influencing the overall taste. Visit the Using Olive Oil area for detailed suggestions on how to best use the different types of olive oil. For more information on how the grades are determined, visit the Origin & Production page.