Pressing with The Olive Press
People have pressed olives for oil for over 5000 years or more. While the technology has changed and is now a much more hi-tech process the basic steps in making good oil remain the same.
The olives are first cleaned of leaf and twigs and washed. They are then crushed into a paste and mixed to release the oil. The oil is then separated from the olive pulp and water components to produce pure olive oil. This used to be done by way of a “press” but today in modern oil making facilities it is done by centrifugation, although the term olive press is still used. This technology has improved hygiene, yields and oil quality.
The OMT press at TOP has a capacity of 1.5 tonnes per hour. We use a highly specialised Mori-TEM cellulose filtering system as the final stage of a continuous process to remove any remaining water or impurities from the oil. This means the oil can be bottled immediately and it improves the shelf-life of the oil. The fresh oil is then stored in approved tanks or barrels prior to bottling.
Some growers prefer not to filter which means the oil will need to be “racked off” after a period of time to remove any sediment that has settled to the bottom as this can taint the oil.
The Olive Press also has modern bottling and labelling facilities for olive oil and provides bottling and labelling services to its customers.
The olive fruit that goes in at the beginning is what produces the oil along with the skill of the oil maker and dedication of the processing team. Quality of the fruit matters and the oil content depends on fruit ripeness and variety. Cleaning fruit prior to processing is critical to ensuring quality and purity of the olive oil. TOP has invested in new state- of- the- art fruit cleaning equipment to remove branches/leaves and any other matter that comes in with the harvested fruit. This is to ensure MOO (Material Other than Olives) does not go into the Press and impact on the quality of the olive oil. Cleaning the fruit improves yield and provides much more accurate data on oil yield to fruit weight which is important information for growers. It is also an important step in ensuring the sansa (fruit pulp), which is a by-product of the oil extraction process, can be used in other products.
The Olive Press uses only cold pressing techniques and prides itself on not overprocessing the oil and sacrificing quality for quantity. We look to get the best out of the olive fruit for our customers and produce oil that is a true expression of the olive variety and its region. We only produce “first press” oil. Unlike many international commercial producers we do not re-press the pulp and apply heat and/or solvents to produce refined olive oil or pomace oil.
Our olive oil is a natural, pure, fresh product that retains the beneficial ingredients of the olive (the polyphenols) that promote good health and give olive oil its distinctive flavour.