How is extra virgin olive oil made?

Starting out as olives picked from the trees, to our factory where they are made into extra virgin olive oil, the process of making our 100% Spanish La Española olive oil in Andalucia is a time-honoured one which has developed over the centuries from a mechanical press to high-tech machinery

 

When and how are olives picked?

Between November and March, our olives, which are grown naturally without pesticides, ripen and are picked from the trees. Our olive groves are located in the town of La Roda, in Seville province. This central area of Andalucia is famous for the quality of its olive oil - the region of Andalucia itself produces 75% of Spain`s olive oil, largely in the provinces of Seville, Cordoba, Malaga, Granada and Jaen.

To collect the olives, nets are spread on the ground, and the tree is either shaken or beaten (less destructive than it sounds) so that the olives fall into the nets. The beating-with-stick method dates back to Roman times, whereas the shaking uses a powerful motorised machine. These nets full of olives are then collected into a trailer and taken straight to our almazara (mill) in La Roda; time is of the essence at this stage, so that olives don’t degrade. Ideally they should be processed within 24 hours.

How are they made into oil?

When the olives arrive at the mill, the leaves and twigs are removed, the olives are cleaned, and the olive with their pits (stones) are ground down to a paste, which is put into a mixing machine and then a centrifuge machine, to separate the oil from the water. Sometimes a low heat is used to help increase the yield, without affecting the flavour.

 

What happens next?

The unfiltered oil is stored in huge stainless steel vats, where it is left to decant. After a few weeks, it is filtered and bottled in our bottling plants in Vilches (Jaen province) and Dos Hermanas (Seville province). From there, bottles of La Española Extra Virgin Olive Oil are taken to supermarkets, such as Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury and Asda in the UK.

 

How closely is quality controlled?

The production process of La Española Olive Oil complies with the highest quality standard regulations. Processes are controlled by more than 20 analysts, who utilise advanced techniques such as the two milling phases for olive oil crushing.

La Española facilities are audited and certified by respected international institutions. We are careful to use methods that preserve the environment and avoid pesticides and antibiotics.