The olive oil color can take different shades from the dark green to light yellow.
The factors with the greatest impact on the color of the oil are the ripening of the olive, the filtered, the passage of time and the olive variety.
Although the color of the oil is not a reliable measure of quality. This aspect conditions consumers when choosing to buy a specific type of olive oil.
This is the case of Premium brands of olive oil ( Emerald Green, Verde Segu ra, Yo Verde, Green Health, Fundo Verde…)
Green olive oil
The pigments present in the olive are those that confer color to olive oil. When olives are harvested green, the presence of chlorophyll (green pigment) is high and a part is transferred to the oil.
In extra-early harvest oils, the concentration of chlorophyll pigments is very high and the hue of the oil is usually dark green. As the harvest progresses, the oil turns to slightly brighter green colors.
The green olive oils are increasingly common in the markets. The supply of unfiltered olive oils has increased and there is a greater variety of early collection oils.
Yellow olive oil
As olives ripen, the presence of chlorophyll is reduced and that of carotenes (very present in carrots) and xanthophylls (yellow-orange) increases.
Both compounds have yellowish tones, this together with the reduced presence of chlorophyll give the most characteristic color to olive oil.
Influence of the filtrate on the appearance and quality of the oil
When an olive oil is filtered, suspended solids are removed and olive oil becomes more translucent.
The filtering process reduces the green color of the extra virgin olive oil by removing chlorophyll-laden particles. The filtering process also influences the taste, moderating the level of bitter and spicy. Other consequences of filtering are the reduction of poly-phenols, vitamins and antioxidants .
Although during the filtering process the presence of certain beneficial components is reduced. This action eliminates small particles with remains of olive and water that can negatively affect the conservation of the oil.
Other factors influencing oil color
With the course of time, the oil loses its green hue. This is due to the degradation of chlorophyll (bright green) in pheophytin (olive green with brown tones).
Exposure to light and high temperatures increase the speed of the process, favoring the change of the pigmentation of the oil from green to yellow.
Influence on oil color quality
The olive oil color is not a parameter to be evaluated by professional oil tasters.
In fact, the cups used in the tastings are usually blue. This prevents the color from conditioning the taster in any way.
Positive attributes of oil quality are considered: fruity, bitterness and spicy.
On the contrary, they are negative flavors with the presence of crushed, mold, vinegar, metallic and stale.
Olive variety and oil color
Of course, depending on the variety of olive selected, the presence of chlorophyll undergoes certain variations.
For example, the olives of the Italian variety Biancolilla , are whitish in color.
Therefore, it produces light green olive oil very much appreciated in Italy for its excellent quality.
We have translated the information on our website from Spanish to English. Note that some words may have seen their meaning altered during their translation.