How to taste
Small dark glasses are typically used to taste olive oil because colour is a minor factor in judging quality and style. The glass is warmed in the hands ideally to around 28°C (the temperature at which the oil’s aromatic substances become volatile) and then you take in the full aromas firstly just by smelling. You then take a small amount in to your mouth and perform a kind of slurping or sharp intake of air known as strippaggio which allows an oxygen exchange, similar to wine tasting, that allows full appreciation of the taste, texture and complexity.
Alternatively, you can just pour over a piece of unflavoured bread – it’s less technical, but you may find it more enjoyable.
You are looking to identify various characteristics in high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the main three being bitterness (detected from the middle of your tongue and back), pungency (detected at the back of your tongue and in your throat, it may feel quite peppery) and fruitiness (the range of fruit/vegetable aromas that you can describe the oil with to help you recall its flavour and figure out what to serve it with).
If you ever get to the point where you want to learn about olive oil in depth, Olive Oil Expert Judy Ridgway offers classes in London and in Brighton.