What does cold pressed olive oil really mean?

In the world of olive oil we often hear the expression ‘cold pressed’ or ‘cold extracted’. But as consumers we may not really understand what this means. As a result, doubts may arise on whether it is good quality or whether it has any value added. I’ll provide an explanation of what it means to clarify the picture.


Cold extraction is one of the stages in the production of extra virgin olive oil. It’s a stage where innovation has enhanced the product. In the old days the olives were pressed using a mill powered by beasts of burden. Later on, pressing machines were made that improved the technique of squeezing the olives to bring out the olive juice. Nowadays the machinery used is state-of-the-art, yielding an even higher quality product.

But what do we get from cold extraction (or cold pressing)? We maintain all the natural qualities of the olives, which are many. The word ‘cold’ comes in because the oil is extracted at a temperature of no more than 27° C (80° F). At that temperature we get pure extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality–that’s what we produce at Carapelli. Even though the yield is lower using the same resources, it is well worth the difference.

Fresh-pressed green virgin olive oil flowing from olive press spout (close-up).


On the other hand, oil extracted by pressing it at a temperature of over 27° C will lose some nutritional qualities that benefit your health. This is due to the presence of volatile compounds, which evaporate rapidly if the temperature rises above the threshold we stated.

With cold pressing the output in terms of volume will be lower, but we are assured that it will be exceptional quality oil. For instance, the acidity is lower, which makes it a higher quality product.

Another quality provided by ‘cold extraction’ techniques is that it abides by strict safety and hygiene controls. With this we ensure not only the highest quality but also that the best health requirements are met in the production of extra virgin olive oil.

Now that you know what cold pressed olive oil really means, together with the characteristics of the end product, you can be assured that extra virgin olive oil will no doubt be the best choice in your kitchen.