Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Olive Wood Charcoal

Q: Where is the olive wood charcoal made?
A: We use a highly efficient and environmentally friendly pyrolysis kiln on our property. We only use olive wood in the kiln. The timber comes from our 3 groves that are overgrown and need to be pruned down to a manageable size. Both green and dry wood can be used.

Q: How is the olive wood charcoal made?
A: We use an Exeter Retort (Carboniser) kiln. It uses a process called pyrolysis where moisture and wood volatiles are driven off the wood at high temperature in a space that is starved of oxygen. The internal drum or retort is filled with wood and sealed. A fire is lit underneath. At first water is driven out of the wood as steam, then it turns to wood gas. This gas is flammable and it’s redirected into the fire box where it ignites and becomes the only heat source for the rest of the process, which is efficient and environmentally friendly. As the wood is heated it’s converted to good quality charcoal. The process continues until all the wood has released it volatile components, the fire stops and once the charcoal is cool it can be taken out of the kiln.

Q: How do you get the different charcoal products?
A: When we unload the charcoal from the kiln it is sorted by size. Large lumps are taken for cooking charcoal, smaller pieces used for forging, even smaller pieces for air purifiers or crushed for biochar. The charcoal art drawing sticks are made from olive branches with the bark peeled off.

Olive Wood Biochar

Q: How is olive wood biochar made?
A: Biochar is made from crushed olive wood charcoal pieces which is charged with an organic agent like compost tea, worm juice or castings, seaweed concentrate or old animal manure.

Q: Why should I use biochar?
A: If you look at the crushed charcoal through a microscope, it has thousands of holes or micropores. The micropores are perfect for holding water, nutrients and giving a home to beneficial soil microbes. It improves the health and vitality of your plants and soil. Plus you need to add less water and fertiliser to your garden.

How do I use biochar?
Biochar is best added to your compost heap where it increases microbial activity, speeds up the composting process and reduces smells.
It can be mixed into potting mix or added directly to the soil either dug into the plant root zone or spread on top of the garden and covered in mulch.
If you know what your soil is lacking, you can add that nutrient to your biochar.

Q: How much biochar do I use?
A: It depends on your own garden needs, but a general rule of thumb is 10% per volume of compost. ¼ litre (1 handful)) per kilo of potting mix, 2.5 litres per square metre when dug into the soil or ½ litre per square metre sprinkled on top of the soil (then mulched).

Olive Wood Cooking Charcoal

Q: What’s the best way to light cooking charcoal?
A: Start with a clean charcoal cooker by emptying the ash from the previous cook. This helps air flow around the cooking charcoal. Sit the charcoal on a small pile of paper and small sticks to light the charcoal evenly.

Q: How long before cooking should I light the charcoal?
A: You need at least 15 to 20 minutes to let the cooking charcoal and your charcoal cooker to properly heat up. Exact time depends on how much charcoal you’re using and also the weather, colder days take slightly longer.

Q: How do you know when cooking charcoal is ready to cook on?
A: When all the charcoal is burning and there is some grey/white ash on the outside.

Q: Is cooking on charcoal better than gas?
Cooking over charcoal takes more effort than gas. The smokey flavour you get cooking over charcoal is incomparable, it’s so worth your time to do it. It gives heightened aromas and flavours to food, it is after all one of the oldest cooking fuels. Plus our olive wood lump charcoal is pure and free of any chemicals.

Olive Wood Air Purifiers

Q: What are charcoal air purifiers?
A: Small pieces of olive wood charcoal in organza bags that can be hung in the house, caravan or car. Hang them near clothing, shoes, in the bathroom, laundry, above animal litter trays or anywhere that smells linger.

Q: How do air purifiers neutralise odours?
A: The odourless charcoal has numerous small holes or micropores that adsorbs moisture and odours from the air. These particles stay in the charcoal pores, leaving only fresh air.

Q: Do purifiers run out?
A: Charcoal air purifiers can be revitalised by putting them in direct sunlight for a couple of hours.