If you want to buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil, EVOO from now, you should know that in a mill it can be obtained three different types of oil:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil. EVOO is the one with the highest quality, flawless in terms of taste and smell. In order to be considered EVOO, Olive Oil has to pass two tests. On the one hand, a chemical test. The oil is checked in a laboratory where it needs to fulfill several conditions. The most famous parameter to be studied is acidity, which must be under 0,8% for an EVOO. On the other hand, the organoleptic test, simply put, a tasting. A tasting panel must verify that the oil is Extra Virgin, for which the oil must present a median for defects equal to zero and a positive median of fruitiness.
Virgin Olive Oil. Presents a great quality. Virgin Olive Oil is allowed up to 2% for acidity and between 0 and 3,5 median for defects. The median of fruitiness must still remain positive.
And the last type is Lampante. Lampante presents serious issues in taste and flavor as well as defective chemical features. Because of that, it can not be directly consumed. Therefore it needs to go through a refining process. In such process there are mainly four phases, degumming with phosphoric acid, neutralization with caustic soda, discoloration and deodorization. The result is basically a transparent oil without odor or taste. However, it is not suitable for human consumption yet. They mix between 80 and 90 percent of this refined oil with 10-20 percent of Virgin Olive Oil to add some smell and taste and they sell this mixture as Olive Oil. As a curiosity we would like to tell you that its name, Lampante, comes from the uses that it was given in the antiquity. The worst oil obtained was burned in the lamps to light up.
From our humble point of view, EVOO is an exceedingly broad category which tends to confuse the costumers, who do not understand how it is possible those price variations within the same label of EVOO. As we have said before, from the organoleptic point of view, an oil is considered EVOO as long as it has no defects (median for defects equal to zero) and is slightly fruited (median over zero). In other words, if an oil has no defect whatsoever and has half a point of fruity, it is considered extra virgin just like the flawless one which has nine and a half points of fruitiness. Now you can have an idea of how many possibilities fit within that range.