Unfiltered Vs Filtered Extra Virgin Olive Oil – What is the difference?

We are often asked whether or not our Timperio Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is filtered. Chefs and restauranteurs ask us, as do wholesalers, retailers and even friends too. People are very aware of EVOO in these days of healthy eating and they naturally want to know what makes Timperio so exceptional.

One of the factors is filtering – or in our case NOT filtering.

How extra virgin olive oil is produced

In our mill, after the olives have been washed, they are crushed and the pulp is passed through a high speed centrifuge to extract the oil. This is the modern day equivalent of the old-fashioned olive press and is far more efficient at extracting oil.

Everything is done in a temperature-controlled environment that keeps the olives and the oil at a low temperature. No chemicals whatsoever are used in the process. It is as nature intended.

The oil is as pure as can be and contains tiny particles of olive as well as some water that occurs naturally. All these are very natural impurities but they need to be removed before the oil is bottled.

However, filtering is not the best way. We use another method as you will see.

What is filtering?

Filtering involves passing or pumping the oil through layers of cotton or very fine cellulose filters. That takes out the vast majority of suspended particles and makes a clearer and less cloudy oil.

The main benefit is that the EVOO then has a longer shelf life because some impurities can cause anaerobic fermentation that produces aromas and higher levels of acidity after perhaps 12 months.

Filtered oil suffers less from this problem.

Does filtering have any negative effect on the olive oil?

Without getting too technical, EVOO is a very complex natural substance with instantly recognisable organoleptic properties, such as flavour, colour, aroma and consistency. It is packed with health-giving antioxidants like carotenoids and chlorophyll, and polyphenolic compounds including oleuropein, hydrotyrosol and tyrosol.

Filtering removes some of these beneficial components and positive flavour. This is unavoidable. Those who favour filtering claim that the quantities lost are too small to make a difference but we have a different opinion. Those tiny particles of olive fruit are a part of what makes olive oil so superbly tasty and healthy.

We produce premium olive oil for the connoisseur as well as the family. That means retaining every little element that makes the natural product so great.

It is also why we only use locally-grown olives that have been cultivated using organic, sustainable methods handed down through generations.

All these factors count. Every one of them contributes something to our superb olive oil and we have no desire to take any of them away. Our customers deserve the very best that we can produce.

How do we ensure there are no unwanted impurities in Timperio EVOO?

At Timperio, we believe in creating the best and most flavoursome EVOO we can. That is why we do not filter our oil but prefer a more natural method.

We use what is called a 2-phase racking or decanting process. Basically we let the oil sit for 2 to 3 months in vary large stainless steel vats or silos. Slowly, all the impurities sink to the bottom and form a layer of sediment.

Then we pump the pure oil at the top into temporary holding silos or vats while the main vats are thoroughly cleaned and sanitised. Then we transfer the oil back to the original silos.

Everything happens in a thoroughly clean and controlled environment, with the highest standards of hygiene. The objective of “cleaning” is to ensure that the impurities do not contaminate the EVOO. Impurities may carry an unwanted odour and so we want to make sure the EVOO preserves its natural and very attractive aroma.

Which is best – Unfiltered or Filtered?

The big olive oil brands that you find in supermarkets filter the oil. This is a commercial decision to prolong the shelf life and make the product look clearer and brighter.

They may also use other techniques that involve heat and/or chemicals to process low quality oil to make it marketable.

When you buy Timperio Extra Virgin Olive Oil you are getting a substance exactly as nature intended. We think it’s probably the best that you can possibly buy.

Check out our full range in our online store.