How many times have you tasted an EVOO that has generated some bitterness and spiciness? Surely you have thought: – Oops! This oil is not good … Nothing further from reality!

The bitterness and spiciness are two positive attributes and characteristics of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

They stand out in the early harvest oils and in certain varietals.

But what does this oil bitterness and spiciness mean?

  • Bitterness: It is an elemental flavor characteristic of the oil obtained from green olives. It is perceived in the circumvallated papillae of the lingual “v”. The chemical responsible for this taste are the phenolic compounds, their presence or absence in the oil makes this attribute be found to a greater or lesser degree. When they are totally absent or there is little amount of phenols, the oil is sweet, or termed as a fruity oil. When the intensity of bitterness is high, it may provoke some rejection among consumers, however, it is a very positive attribute and the indicative that the oil can be consumed later, meaning it has a longer life, since the phenolic compounds are powerful antioxidants with beneficial effects on health.

  • Spiciness: It is the tactile sensation of itch, characteristic of the oils of the campaign of still green olives. It is felt in the oral cavity, especially in the throat. It is very common that when tasting oil with this attribute, it is said that the oil grabs the throat. As with the bitterness attribute, its high intensity can provoke some rejection, but the answer is the same, this happens because this attribute has a phenolic nature.


To conclude, the bitter and spicy touch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is, above all, a characteristic of the Picual and Cornicabra varieties, due to its high concentration of polyphenols and natural antioxidants, indicators of its quality and high stability, provoking beneficial effects for the consumers’ health.