What Is Olive Wagyu?

Everyone has heard of Japanese Wagyu, but have you ever heard of Olive Wagyu? It is probably the rarest wagyu beef brand in the world. Read on, and we’ll explain everything you need to know about Olive Wagyu, from what it is to where you can find it.

What is Olive Wagyu?

Simply put, Olive Wagyu is a brand of Japanese Wagyu that comes from cattle raised on Shodoshima Island in the Kagawa Prefecture. The island is home to about 2,000 cattle fed a diet consisting of olive pulp.

This type of beef contains higher amounts of monounsaturated oleic acid, a substance that increases the meat’s tenderness. Due to olive oil’s phenolic compounds, many meat connoisseurs praised its richer umami flavor. The beef is so prized that it can fetch a high price tag, and a single steak can sell for hundreds of dollars.

raw olive wagyu steak
raw olive wagyu steak

History of Olive Wagyu

It all began in Shodoshima, a small island in the Seto Inland Sea. The area’s mild climate and fertile soil make it the perfect place to grow olive trees, and the locals eventually became active producers of high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Cattle farmers also called the island home.

One day, Rancher Masaki Ishii came up with a new idea for raising cattle. The innovative rancher saw potential in the island’s olive trees, which produced a lot of leftover pulp after farmers pressed the fruit for their oil. He began feeding his cattle with the byproduct (caramelized pressed olives) and was amazed at how much it improved the quality of their meat.

The rancher quickly realized he had stumbled onto something special and officially branded his beef as “Olive Wagyu.” The unique feeding practice took three years to perfect and soon began to catch on. Soon after, Olive Wagyu beef began appearing in high-end restaurants all over Japan.

Olive Wagyu vs. Kobe Beef

The nutrient profile is the most important difference between A5 Olive Wagyu and A5 Kobe. Olive Wagyu has a much higher content of good fats. This is confirmed by the fact that Olive Wagyu won the “Fat Quality Award” in Japan’s prestigious Wagyu Olympics. Olive Wagyu is simply a healthier steak than Kobe.

Olive Wagyu is no different from Kobe in terms of tenderness and marbling. As for the taste of the meat, many people see little or no difference. Olive Wagyu also has a higher oleic acid content and more antioxidant components (anserine and carnosine).

Where To Buy Authentic Olive Wagyu?

The best way to try it is to head to Japan and track down a specialized, high-end restaurant. If you’re not up for a trip overseas, the Crowd Cow company has directly partnered with the ranchers in Shodoshima to bring the beef to the U.S.

Crowd Cow is a platform that gives you access to some of the best, most exclusive cuts of meat available, including Olive Wagyu. As of 2018, they remain the only certified Olive Wagyu vendor in the United States.

FAQ on Olive Wagyu

Is olive Wagyu worth it?

Olive Wagyu has excellent marbling, which makes the meat very tender; cooked, it melts in the mouth. Let’s forget about the price for a moment. Olive Wagyu is worth it if you are a steak lover. Not an everyday steak, but more like a special occasion as a unique experience.

How much does olive Wagyu cost?

Olive Wagyu can cost an average of $300 to as much as $400 per pound. For example, A5 Olive Wagyu ribeye steak costs nearly $200 for a 10-ounce steak.

Why is olive Wagyu so rare and expensive?

Only about 2,000 olive wagyu cattle exist in the world. Limited supply plus high-quality beef makes the price on the market very high. It is worth mentioning that only a tiny amount of olive Wagyu is exported.

What Does Olive Wagyu Taste Like?

The olive wagyu beef is incredibly tender—enough to cut with a fork. The meat has an intense umami flavor and contains more omega-fatty acids than any other brand of Wagyu.

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow, the founder of Steak Revolution, is a true steak enthusiast. His primary goal is to help others perfect their steak-cooking skills.