EVOO's flavor spectrum includes fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. Depending on the region of origin and varietals, other subtle flavors—like grassy highlights or a hint of artichoke—will also be present.
Olive varietals, the location of origin, climate and harvesting conditions all influence an EVOO's flavor profile. EVOO—by definition—has an acidity level of less than 0.8%. However, it can be preferable for an EVOO to be lower than 0.5% at the time of bottling.
The lower the acidity, the longer the oil retains its freshness. All other grades of olive oil are also cold pressed, but, unlike EVOO, they have defects requiring them to be subsequently refined with heat or chemicals.
These lesser olive oils have neither the flavor nor the nutritional value of EVOO's health-giving polyphenols, and they are euphemistically labeled "Virgin," "Light" or "Pure." Olive varietals, the quality of cultivation and the location of origin do not impact their flavor.