A friend thought my pair of olive oil tasting cups would make perfect candleholders. She might just have a point.
We recently saw a “Tweet” about the cobalt blue vessels: “Research shows that the blue EVOO tasting glasses don’t even work!” Australian olive oil expert Richard Gawel declared in a message, or Tweet, on Twitter.
I’ve used the stemless glasses to sample extra virgin olive oils. Trained olive oil tasters use them when judging oil and evaluating whether a particular oil should be classified as “extra virgin” or some lower grade. The tasting cup’s blue tint is meant to mask the oil’s color so it won’t influence a taster’s judgment.
In the study, researchers from Spain performed high-tech color measurements on 18 blue-tinted tasting cups. They used 10 commercial olive oils in the process.
“Our main goal was to test whether traditional blue-tinted cups effectively conceal the color of virgin olive oils,” the researchers wrote.
It’s an interesting question. To be certified “extra virgin,” an oil must pass a barrage of tests – some conducted by lab technicians, and others done by a panel of professional olive oil tasters.
It’s the taster’s job to analyze the aroma, taste, and pungency of the oil to see if it passes muster. Color doesn’t indicate the quality of the oil. Hence, the blue-tinted cups.
The Spanish researchers found the cups aren’t fool-proof. It turns out you can tell the color in certain instances, according to their tests.
“Blue-tinted olive-oil-tasting cups reduce, but do not completely conceal, oil color,” the researchers concluded. “The use of opaque tasting cups with black walls is suggested.”
You be the judge. But I’m guessing it won’t be the last we hear on the matter.
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch