When it comes to the best olive-oil bang for your buck, Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil gets top honors from several review sites, with high praise for its robust olive taste. Produced in Spain, Goya Extra Virgin is made from the first pressing of Spanish olives, which accounts for the intense olive flavor mentioned by many reviewers. Two more factors -- affordability and availability -- also add to its popularity. While retail prices can vary by as much as a couple of dollars, Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil typically costs around half the price of a popular premium priced Spanish import, Columela Extra Virgin Olive Oil (*Est. $19 for 17 oz.).
Experts tell us that, in the end, it's all about the olive taste -- and several reviewers agree that Goya stands up well compared to more expensive premium oils when it comes to robustness of flavor. This is why, in many taste tests, it fares better than another comparably priced supermarket staple from Italy, Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil (*Est. $8.50 for 17 oz.).
Most reviewers use the low-tech (but highly effective) testing methods of slurping (from a spoon) or dunking (with good bread). According to the experts, flavor is the first consideration, followed by other factors such as aroma and color. Since taste assessments are subject to unscientific personal opinion, most review sites have a panel of olive-oil experts -- some even trained in International Olive Oil Council standards -- to conduct these tests.
In a highly informative 2004 report on inexpensive, supermarket-staple olive oils, ConsumerReports.org tackles the question Why are some olive oils pricier than others and are they worth the difference? In a blind taste test of 18 extra-virgin olive oils, testers compare Goya and other supermarket-shelf brands to some of the premium-priced oils, with some surprising results. In a similar taste test of both inexpensive and premium-priced olive oils, Washington Post reviewers -- three prominent area chefs -- name Goya Extra Virgin as their best value olive oil, citing its high-quality flavor (including its peppery kick) and affordability.
However, not all taste buds are alike. A 2008 review from a reputable site gives Goya a lower ranking, with testers making comments ranging from mild and neutral to metallic.
Among foodie sites, SeriousEats.com selects Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil as a top choice because of its dramatic "bitter, but not crazy bitter" flavor, and several user threads on foodie sites RoadFood.com and Chowhound.com are full of enthusiastic postings for this popular product of Spain.
Prompted by a letter from a college student on a budget, Erin Zimmer searches for the best tasting inexpensive olive oils and chooses Goya Extra Virgin as the best "bitter, but not crazy bitter" olive oil, praising its dramatic yet not too spicy flavor.
Review: Taste Test: Cheap But Good Olive Oils, Erin Zimmer, Sept. 30, 2009
2. The Washington Post
Three chefs participate in this taste test of nine different brands of olive oil, with Goya Extra Virgin winning top honors as the overall best value. The testers particularly praise Goya's peppery finish, which they say goes well with grilled meats and fish.
Review: Putting Olive Oils to the Taste Test, Editors of The Washington Post, Jan. 26, 2005
To find out whether premium brands are worth the price difference, the experts at ConsumerReports.org conduct a blind taste test of 18 extra-virgin olive oils -- including Goya -- with surprising results. A lot of basic information about what to look for in a good olive oil is included here as well.
Review: A Cheap Bottle Beats a Pricier Lineup, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Sept. 1, 2004
4. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
The experts at Cook's Illustrated taste their way through a wide range of olive oils, comparing both expensive premium and inexpensive supermarket brands (including Goya) in this comprehensive report.
Review: Tasting Lab: Regular Olive Oil, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, July 1, 2008
Posters to this foodie website tend to be well-versed in the best brands for table and cooking -- and aren't shy in explaining their reasoning. Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil garners quite a few positive posts in this message thread, with posters praising its flavor and affordability.
Review: Favorite Brands of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Contributors to RoadFood.com