10 of the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brands: The Real Thing

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A Fresh Green Olive With Olive Oil Dripping From It.Widely known as “liquid gold,” extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats in the world.

However, that is providing you use the real thing.

Sadly, there have been many fake olive oil scandals in recent years.

As part of this, some olive oil companies have been supplying non-virgin olive oil, yet labeling their product as “extra virgin.”

Worse still, some manufacturers have been cutting their product with cheaper oils such as soybean and sunflower oil.

So, the question is; which extra virgin olive oil is real?

In this article, we will list 10 of the best, most reliable, authentic extra virgin olive oil brands.

That way, you can feel confident that what you buy is what you are getting – as it always should be.

What Does “Real” Extra Virgin Olive Oil Mean?

“Real” extra virgin olive oil means two things;

  • First, the oil should be the 100% pure juice extracted from the olive fruit. This extraction should be by mechanical means only, such as a press or centrifuge and it should involve no chemicals.
  • Secondly, the oil must then be bottled with nothing else added – only pure olive oil.

In addition to meeting these two criteria, the oil should also comply with international standards for extra virgin olive oil.

To be specific, the International Olive Council states that extra virgin olive oil must have (1);

a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams, and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in the IOC standard.”

Genuine extra virgin oils that meet this definition are some of the best (and tastiest) olive oils in the world.

Key Point: Extra virgin olive oil should be pure cold-pressed juice from fresh olives. It should contain no additives and should have a very low level of free acidity.

Fake Extra Virgin Olive Oil Scandals

A Devious Man With a Counterfeit Brand of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

There have been numerous fake olive oils on the market over the past decade;

  • In 2017, Italian police arrested 33 people for their role in exporting hexane-treated refined oil to the US as ‘extra virgin olive oil’ (2).
  • During 2015, some of Italy’s biggest olive oil companies were under investigation for selling inferior olive oil as ‘extra virgin.’ These companies included big names such as Bertolli and Primadonna (3).
  • A 2015 study by the National Consumer’s League found that 6 out of 11 ‘extra virgin olive oil’ products on store shelves were not extra virgin olive oil.  These bottles were bought from four major stores;  Giant, Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market (4).
  • Independent laboratory tests conducted in 2011 found that 73% of bottles tested, from the five top-selling brands in the US, failed to meet extra virgin olive oil standards. There were three reasons given; 1) some oils had oxidized due to temperature/light/aging; 2) adulteration with cheaper refined oils; 3) poor quality-oil due to damaged olives or poor storage (5).

Sadly, even if it looks like extra virgin olive oil and has a label stating so, we have no way to be sure it is the genuine article.

In the world of olive oil, there are many fake counterfeit products, and there are also those that do not meet International standards.

Unfortunately, anyone who regularly buys ‘extra virgin olive oils’ without researching the brand is likely to have consumed adulterated or inferior quality oils.

Key Point: There are many poor-quality extra virgin olive oils on the market. Some are fake, and some are real, but not worthy of the ‘extra virgin’ label.

10 Real Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brands

In this section, we will take a look at ten extra virgin olive oil brands that produce top-quality oils.

These brands make authentic, quality-checked, pure extra virgin olive oils. The real thing.

Additionally, many of these brands are part of certification schemes that regularly test the oil’s quality.

To make this list even better, we have selected only oils packaged in dark glass bottles or tins.

The reason for this is simple; extra virgin olive oil is susceptible to oxidation from prolonged heat and light exposure, and plastic bottles do not protect against this.

In other words; dark glass packaging ensures the oil reaches you in the freshest state possible (6).

Extra virgin olive oil comes in all shapes and sizes, so for each of the following ten brands, the price per 100 ml has been calculated.

1. California Olive Ranch: ‘Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

A Glass Bottle of California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil - One of the Most Reputable Brands.

California Olive Ranch’s extra virgin olive oil contains freshly pressed Californian olives bottled within hours of picking, and it has won a string of awards for its quality.

The label proudly states how the oil comes from the first cold-press of the olives.

Furthermore, this oil is one to trust as it has certification from the California Olive Oil Council (COOC), which has one of the strictest requirements in the world.

The certification requirements of the COOC stipulate that extra virgin olive oil must regularly pass two tests (7);

  • Sensory (taste): the council’s panel taste test the oil for flavor and impurities in a “blind” setting.
  • Chemical analysis test: the oil undergoes a chemical composition test to ensure the oil is pure and contains no oxidation products or impurities.
Brand: California Olive Ranch‘Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil’
Size: 25.4 fl oz (750 ml)
Harvested:California, United States
Certification:Yes: COOC
Price per 100 ml:$2.17
Online Availability:Yes – see here

2. Burroughs Family Farms: ‘Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

A Dark Glass Bottle of Burroughs Family Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Burroughs Family Farms is another producer of extra virgin olive oil with certification from the California Olive Oil Council.

Additionally, for those who wish to avoid GMO, this one is an organic product that uses GMO-free olives.

The oil makes use of three different types of olives; arbequina, arbosana and gretchenina.

This particular oil has quite a robust flavor and leaves a strong peppery taste in the back of the throat.

However, this is a good thing.

A peppery after-taste is a sign of good olive oil, and it comes from high concentrations of the polyphenol oleocanthal (8).

Brand: Burroughs Family Farms‘Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil’
Size: 16.9 fl oz (500 ml)
Harvested:California, United States
Certification:Yes: COOC
Price per 100 ml:$3.99
Online Availability:Yes – see here

3. Mr. Organic: ‘Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

Dark Glass Bottle of Mr Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Mr. Organic comes from the Puglia region in Southern Italy.

If you are not aware of this region, Puglia is famous for its endless number of olive trees and farms.

Firstly, Mr. Organic do things the traditional way, and every olive is hand-picked rather than brought down from the trees by mechanical means.

Following this, all the olives are cold-pressed and bottled within 24 hours.

Mr. Organic work directly with a small group of organic farmers, and their oil has no air miles.

This local production means you can be sure of what you are getting and the oil has full traceability.

Better still, it comes in a thick, dark glass bottle which will protect the oil from heat and light damage.

Brand: Mr. Organic‘Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil’
Size: 33.8 fl oz (1000 ml)
Harvested:Puglia, Italy
Certification:No certification program
Price per 100 ml:$3.48
Online Availability:Yes – see here

4. Cobram Estate: ‘Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

A Bottle of Cobram Estate's Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Cobram Estate is one of the most respected producers of extra virgin olive oil in the world.

Notably, they operate out of two locations; California and Melbourne, Australia.

Their dual-location allows them to produce from two different harvests every year, ensuring optimal freshness of the oil.

Cobram’s oils are certified for their authenticity by the COOC in California, and the company has won many awards too.

For instance, Cobram won the 2017 award for ‘Healthiest Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the World’ at an annual awards competition in Spain.

Judges examined three factors about each oil;

  • Total polyphenol content
  • Oleocanthal levels: (major polyphenol responsible for the peppery taste)
  • Most balanced fatty acid profile: (i.e. optimal)

Overall, Cobram Estate’s olive oils are one of the best-quality options available, but that comes at a price.

They are also far from the cheapest.

Brand: Cobram Estate‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’
Size: 12.7 fl oz (375 ml)
Harvested:California, US + Melbourne, Aus
Certification:Yes: COOC
Price per 100 ml:$5.18
Online Availability:Yes – see here

5. ZOE: ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

A Large Multi-colored Tin of ZOE's Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Zoe provides good quality extra virgin olive oil at an affordable, budget price.

Firstly, the oil comes only from the first cold-press of ‘Cornicabra’ olives, which are a cultivar native to Spain.

Secondly, you can be sure you are getting genuine EVOO.

ZOE’s extra virgin olive oil has certification from the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) and meets all international standards (9).

Regarding taste, the oil offers a fruity and only slightly bitter flavor, and it recently won a “Best Choice” and “Fruitiest Oil” award in a New York Time’s taste test.

Unlike most oils, this one comes in a tin.

Tins are just as good as glass bottles in protecting the delicate composition of the oil and much better than cheaper plastic options.

Brand: ZOE‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’
Size: 33.8 fl oz (1000 ml)
Harvested:California, United States
Certification:Yes: NAOOA
Price per 100 ml:$1.49
Online Availability:Yes – see here

6. Cave Creek: ‘Ultra-Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

A Dark Black Bottle of Cave Creek's Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Cave Creek is an Arizona-based extra virgin olive oil brand, and they have ‘Ultra-Premium’ (UP) certification for extra virgin olive oil.

The ‘ultra-premium’ certification claims to be the highest standard for EVOO in the world.

As part of this certification program; all oils must undergo regular lab tests and taste evaluations.

Here are some of the finer points of the certification (10);

  • All oil must be lab-tested by authorized third-party labs. One such lab is Modern Olives, an Australia-based laboratory which is the most respected independent olive-testing laboratory worldwide.
  • All oil must be 100% pure oil from olives.
  • Bottles must have full traceability and display the harvest date.
  • All ‘UP’ accredited products will undergo random testing via frequent anonymous purchases from stores, which will go to a lab for analysis.

As a result of their ‘UP’ accreditation, you can be sure that Cave Creek extra virgin olive oil is authentic.

Cave Creek offers a range of extra virgin olive oils using different olive varieties with varying flavors.

Brand: Cave Creek Olive Oil‘Ultra Premium EVOO’
Size: 12.7 fl oz (375 ml)
Harvested:Various – depends on product
Certification:Yes: ‘Ultra-Premium’ certification
Price per 100 ml:$4.78
Online Availability:Yes – see here

7. Ellora Farms: ‘Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

A Tin and Glass Bottle of Ellora Farm's Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Ellora Farms is a single-origin producer of extra virgin olive oil.

Furthermore, they have a “PDO” (protection of designated origin.)

In other words; any oil from Ellora Farms is 100% from the Kolymvari region of Crete, a Greek island in Southern Europe.

Ellora farms are one of the most consumer-friendly brands around, and every single bottle has a lot number that customers can enter on their website.

Searching the lot number will provide full traceability for the product, as well as laboratory analysis of the oil and all the findings.

All Ellora Farms extra virgin olive oil comes from the ‘Koroneiki’ variety of olives, and it is 100% cold-pressed.

Although buying a single bottle can be expensive ($24 for 250 ml,) purchasing larger quantities offers much better value ($39.95 for 1250 ml.)

Brand: Ellora Farms‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’
Size: 8.45 fl oz (250 ml) – 33.8 oz (1000ml)
Harvested:Crete, Greece
Certification:No external certification, but lab analysis for all bottles available.
Price per 100 ml:$3.19
Online availability:Yes – see here

8. Goya: ‘Ultra-Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

A 500ml Glass Bottle of Goya's Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Produced from Spanish olives grown in the sunny Andalucia region on Spain’s south coast, Goya’s ‘ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil’ offers a fruity, peppery flavor with a slight bitterness.

Additionally, we can combine the great taste with guaranteed purity; the oil has been certified genuine by the NAOOA.

Goya also claims their extra virgin olive oil has a “maximum acidity of 0.4%,” which is much lower than the extra virgin olive oil standards require (0.8%).

Concerning price, this oil comes somewhere in the middle, with a 500 ml bottle coming in at slightly over $20.

Brand: Goya‘Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil’
Size: 16.9 fl oz (500 ml)
Harvested:Andalucia, Spain
Certification:Yes: NAOOA
Price per 100 ml:$4.37
Online Availability:Yes – see here

9. Colavita: ‘Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

500ml Dark Glass Bottle of Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Colavita is a family-run, Italian-based producer of extra virgin olive oil, and they are one of the more reputable brands.

The Italian arm of the company has over four generations of history, and Colavita USA was born in 1978.

Among their oils, ‘Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ has certification from the NAOOA.

With a fruity, bitter and slightly spicy flavor, this oil comes from the first cold-press of olives.

Olives used in this Colavita oil come from Apulia and the surrounding area, Italy’s most prominent olive growing region.

Brand: Colavita‘Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil’
Size: 16.9 fl oz (500 ml)
Harvested:Sant’Elia a Pianisi, Italy
Certification:Yes: NAOOA
Price per 100 ml:$4.34
Online Availability:Yes – see here

10. Kouzini: ‘Greek Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil’

500ml Glass Bottle of Kouzini's Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

For the last extra virgin olive oil on this list, we have a Greek product.

Kouzini is a Greek ‘ultra-premium’ certified oil, it is organic, and it is a single origin EVOO from the Southern Peloponnese area of Lakonia, Greece.

On the positive side, Kouzini has minimal levels of free fatty acids and it is very high in phenols.

The packaging impresses too; Kouzini has a heavy duty dark-green glass bottle that is sure to help protect the oil from light exposure.

Despite the strict quality requirements for this product, it is relatively affordable compared to oils of similar proven quality, and it starts at $17.99 for a 500 ml bottle.

Brand: Kouzini‘Greek Premium Organic EVOO’
Size: 16.9 fl oz (500 ml)
Harvested:Lakonia, Greece
Certification:Yes: ‘Ultra-Premium’ Certification
Price per 100 ml:$3.59
Online Availability:Yes – see here
Key Point: These 10 extra virgin olive oils offer some of the best quality and most reliable products on the market.

An Important Note

Firstly, if you buy one of these extra virgin olive oils, you don’t need to worry about whether your oil is the real thing.

These oils are from some of the best extra virgin olive oil brands in the world, and they all have external certification and purity testing.

The only exception is Ellora Farms, who offer customers full transparency at every stage of the olive oil production process. Furthermore, they provide access to test results for every single bottle.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that testing and certification schemes can be expensive and not all olive producers can afford it.

In other words; just because a particular producer is not part of a certification scheme does not mean they make “fake olive oil.”

If you are interested in a specific oil, then keep an open mind and research the company who make it.

Key Point: If a particular brand does not have certification, it does not mean their product isn’t genuine.

Olive Oils To Avoid

Only virgin (and extra virgin) olive oils are 100% oil from pure pressed olives.

Any other product relies on the use of solvents like hexane to extract the olive’s oil.

Look out for names such as ‘light,’ ‘regular’ and ‘pomace’ olive oil; these particular products are commonplace, highly processed, and without the benefits of genuine extra virgin olive oil.

Key Point: Only certain oils are the 100% oil from pressed olives. If you want the genuine thing, make sure you are buying ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’ olive oils.

Final Thoughts

As discussed, the quality of extra virgin olive oil can vary a lot, and sadly, the name on the label is no guarantee of authenticity.

Conversely, the brands mentioned in this article all give peace of mind that you are getting the real thing.

That said, many other brands are also good options. Some of these may be in certification schemes and others may not.

However, make sure to do a little research about your chosen brand before buying.

Unfortunately, we have to choose carefully because of the widespread quality issues with extra virgin olive oil brands.

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  • I would suggest the multi award winner Dos Aguilas Olive Oil from Californias Central coast. Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Best in Show winner of the LA international Olive Oil competition over multiple years.