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Filtered vs. unfiltered olive oil: discover the differences

filtered and unfiltered olive oil

Surely, you have wondered about the mysterious world of unfiltered olive oil. What makes it unique? How does it differ from conventional filtered olive oil? In this article, we will explore the intriguing universe of unfiltered olive oil in depth, unveiling its secrets and comparing it to its more common counterpart, filtered olive oil.

Extraction of extra virgin olive oil coto bajo

Unfiltered olive oil is the result of omitting one of the final processes of its traditional production: fine filtering. Despite following the standard production stages in the mill, such as washing, sieving, milling, blending and bottling, this oil does not pass through the fine filter at the end of the process.

Find here more information about the olive oil production process.

As a result, it retains particles of skin, pulp or small remnants of stone from the fruit. Also known as branch olive oil or olive juice, it has a more cloudy and less transparent appearance compared to its filtered counterpart.

Uses of untreated olive oil

This oil excels in raw applications due to the olive particles present, making it less suitable for frying. Its consistency, intense color and cloudiness make it a popular choice for garnishing cold dishes or as a finishing touch to hot dishes.

Differences and similarities with filtered oil

1. Omission of fine filtering

unfiltered olive oil

The main difference lies in the fine filtering process. While unfiltered olive oil avoids this phase, it does go through a previous sieving to remove larger particles such as stones, leaves or pebbles. Although perceived as more natural, both products are equally natural, as filtering does not involve the addition of chemicals.

2. Conservation difficulty

Unfiltered olive oil has a shorter shelf life, being recommended for consumption within 6 months after purchase. In contrast, filtered oil can be conserved between 18 and 36 months. It is advisable to consume it soon and to strictly follow the conservation guidelines, avoiding exposure to light and heat.

3. Equivalent quality

Contrary to common perception, unfiltered oil does not guarantee higher quality than its filtered counterpart. Both are equally natural and delicious. Although some claim that their flavor is more intense, expert tasters deny it, and a simple home filtration can prove it.

4. Higher content of Polyphenols

Within the olive fruit, we can distinguish between two categories of polyphenols: apolar polyphenols, which are "dissolved" in the fatty acids, and polar polyphenols, which are present in the vegetable water. During the oil production process, the apolar polyphenols are preserved in the oil, while the polar polyphenols are eliminated with the water. Thus, unfiltered oils, containing small portions of water, include both polar and apolar polyphenols. However, these additional benefits do not outweigh the conservation and consumption requirements, according to experts.

So, is it more advisable to buy an Extra Virgin olive oil that has already undergone the filtering process?

In situations where we plan to consume both oils in a short period of time, both untreated and filtered oils have equivalent properties and are equally beneficial to health.

However, complications arise when consumption is extended over time. Unfiltered oil, due to the impurities it harbors, tends to deteriorate more rapidly, resulting in a loss of quality. It must be carefully protected from light and temperature to preserve its properties. In addition, there is the problem of sediment formation, since the particles present in unfiltered oil tend to settle to the bottom of the container over time.


In summary, the choice between filtered and unfiltered olive oil depends on your preferences, considering the limitations of unfiltered olive oil in terms of conservation and uses. The crucial thing is to opt for extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality.

From Coto Bajo we recommend the use of filtered oils in the kitchen to enjoy its flavors and aromas for a longer period of time. 

Discover our filtered options, such as Picual, Arbequina and the balanced Coupage, in our online store, and choose your favorite to enjoy it to the fullest!

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