We knew Cyprus had what it takes to make premium extra virgin olive oil, but proving it would take time, preparation, and lots of help.
Who's who in olives and olive oil
There are over 500-600 different species of olives, we (humans) commercially grow and use. About 50-60 of these are used in Greek, Italian, and Spanish olive oils. A genuinely global crop these days, olives are grown from China to Chile, wherever the climate allows.
Our olives are native to Cyprus, the rare Kypriaki/Kıbrıslı/Cypriot variety. They are generally overlooked because they are not the most profitable from a mass production standpoint. In fact, over the last 20 years or so, many groves in Cyprus began replacing these native trees with the more common Koroneiki from Greece and Gemlik from Turkey. This means opportunities to enjoy this niche, rare olive oil flavor is more and rarer.
But, while perhaps not efficient from a purely economic perspective, from a quality and flavor perspective, the Kıbrıslı/Kypriaki/Cypriot is second to none. They are fragrant and flavorful, amazing to eat, and produce a rich, spicy, high-quality olive oil.
Olives Unlike Any Other Means Olive Oil Unlike Any Other
Cypriot olives are special because of their outstandingly rich taste. The bouquet begins with a grassy, meadow-like scent, and explodes in a crescendo of spice on the palate. We think that's worth it—even if it's less efficient to grow. This species is believed to be one of the oldest cultivars, and has been argued to be the closest to the original olive flavor humankind fell in love with when we first domesticated the tree. This makes perfect sense when you think about Cyprus' location. At the intersection of the Mediterranean Sea and Levantine Basin, Cyprus was crucial to trade routes throughout antiquity.
Also, Cyprus has 300 days of sunshine. Yes, you read that right! Not only does that mean we have beach weather most of the year (you should come to visit!), it also means we have the perfect climate for olives, and one of the longest olive seasons in the world. All over Cyprus, you'll see trees dotting the landscape, flourishing in the wild and all over the island.
The Colive Family Olive Farms
Most of our farms, for now, are in the Morphou/Güzelyurt and Larnaka regions. These farms were chosen because of their positive attitude towards farming, and the quality and character of the olive cultivars. They, like us, prioritize sustainable farming practices. They practice hand-harvesting and treasure the quality of the cultivar. It's an honor to work with them and continue the legacy of these trees and their olives. We hope they will long outlive us all!