Change the Olive Oil Tasting Glass? Some See Red

A glassware designer and the University of Jaén think they've found a better vessel for olive oil sensory analysis.

By Olive Oil Times Staff
May. 17, 2017 14:34 UTC

To con­duct a sen­sory eval­u­a­tion of an olive oil sam­ple, an ana­lyst will smell it, then taste it, but one should never con­sider the color of the oil, which has no bear­ing on its qual­ity and should not be a fac­tor when deter­min­ing its organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics.

It is time to present new tools such as a new glass of pro­fes­sional tast­ing that responds to the 21st cen­tury.- Daniel Millán, Elaia Zait

For that rea­son, in 2007, the International Olive Council estab­lished a tast­ing glass stan­dard in cobalt blue, which has been duti­fully fol­lowed by tast­ing pan­els around the world ever since.

Now, a glass­ware designer and the University of Jaén think they’ve found a bet­ter ves­sel and they envi­sion a sea of red.

Until now the clas­sic color of the pro­fes­sional cup was a blue color, how­ever, we have deter­mined that this is not a suit­able color for the pur­pose the stan­dard describes. The opti­mal color for this is the one that we present that has red­dish tones,” said José Juan Gaforio, head of the Center for Advanced Studies in Olive Oil and Olives and pro­fes­sor of the Immunology Area of the University of Jaén.

We are in a his­toric moment,” declared Daniel Millán of Elaia Zait, the glass­ware maker. It is time to present new tools such as a new glass of pro­fes­sional tast­ing that responds to the 21st cen­tury,” he told a gath­er­ing at Expoliva 2017.

To back up their claim, the team demon­strated that red hues are more effec­tive at con­ceal­ing the oils’ var­i­ous shades of yel­low.

While it might be true that red bet­ter sup­presses yel­low and green hues, the color red has also been found to hin­der moti­va­tion and the abil­ity to think, and trig­ger strong, often neg­a­tive psy­cho­log­i­cal responses, noted Olive Oil Times pub­lisher Curtis Cord in a tweeted response to the cre­ators of the new glass.

Cord, who keeps a reg­u­lar stock of hun­dreds of tast­ing glasses for the New York International Olive Oil Competition and edu­ca­tional pro­grams he leads, said he would­n’t mind switch­ing to a new uten­sil if it was found to be bet­ter, but he is not con­vinced.

What’s worse: a pleas­ing blue ves­sel that not entirely con­ceals the color of an oil sam­ple, or a glass that’s red — nature’s cue for dan­ger, the sym­bolic color of warn­ing signs and poi­son labels?” Cord asked.

Red is per­haps the most manip­u­la­tive color, influ­enc­ing every­thing from your behav­ior in the work­place to your love life,” the BBC’s David Robinson wrote in an arti­cle that under­scored the power of red to influ­ence how we per­ceive things.

Andrew Elliot at the University of Rochester in New York found that peo­ple per­formed worse on cog­ni­tive tests if they were given to the par­tic­i­pant in a red cover slip,” the BBC reported.

And, as Juliet Zhu, a University of British Columbia psy­chol­o­gist noted, Think about red, and what comes to mind: stop lights, stop signs, dan­ger, ambu­lances. Blue is the color of the sky, the ocean, safety. When their envi­ron­ment is safe, peo­ple are more explo­rative.”

One thing is clear, whether you’re in a red or blue state of mind in terms of your olive oil tast­ing glass choice, there will be entre­pre­neurs who see, mostly, green.


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