The term “first, cold press” refers to the inherent qualities of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. By definition, Extra Virgin Olive Oil should come from the initial “pressing” of the olive pulp, which creates the highest quality oil.
The process involves a cold water rinse of the olives before grinding and “pressing”. This term also refers to the fact that the oil not refined in any way, a common process that utilizes high heat. Keeping the temperature as low as possible through the milling process maintains the highest quality olive oil.
Did you wonder why I put the term “press” above in quotes? It’s because this is actually not the process used to create olive oil in modern times. As few as 30 years ago, olive oil was most commonly pressed between two round grinding stones. The industry standard has changed in recent years to a modern centrifuge system that spins the olive paste instead of pressing it (except in smaller, local family farm mills). This new system produces a higher quality oil and better yield.
This iconic marketing term “first cold press” has not been updated to match the modern centrifuge system. In actuality, your Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the “first cold spin”!