Written by CQI Developer
Friday, 22 April 2011 20:50
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 18:37
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a profile to be on the CQI website?
To browse our site, you do not need to have a profile. If you’d like to enroll in a course, enroll for a retake test, submit a sample to be Q Evaluated, view Q Coffees™ or contact users directly on our site, you need to first create a registration/profile on our database. If you have recently been a Coffee Corps Volunteer for CQI, you can use the same username and password.
How do I create a profile on the database?
To create a profile, you’ll see a button in the upper right titled “Create an Account”. Click the button and follow the instructions.
I forgot my username and password. How do I retrieve them?
On the home page, in the upper right, you’ll notice the links “Forgot your username? “For your password?” Click the appropriate link and follow the instructions. If you do not receive an email, please first check your spam or junk folders. If you still cannot find it, please email
and we’ll reset it for you. Please do not create another account if you already have one!
Q Grader Program
Are there any pre-requisites required to sign up for a Q Grader Exam?
Currently, there are no formal requirements to enroll. However, the Q Grader Exam is not a course for inexperienced or new cuppers; it is an advanced level course. It is highly recommended that you practice your skills by signing up for SCAA Skill Building Workshops offered throughout the year, including SCAA’s The Event. For more information, please refer to the SCAA website.
Do I need to study with any particular material before a Q Grader Exam?
There are several tools that could be helpful such as the SCAA Cupping Handbook, SCAA Green Coffee Classification Chart, SCAA Brewing Handbook, SCAA Cupping Protocol & Cupping Form, among others. All of these can be found at the SCAA Resource Center and are available to purchase at SCAA’s online store.
When is the next Q Grader Exam happening in my area?
ALL upcoming Q Grader Exams are listed on this website. If you go to Upcoming Events, you will see the full course schedule. Each profile lists the instructor(s), location, date and cost. If you have any questions about the course, please contact the instructor directly. His/her email is located on the course profile.
How do I enroll for a course?
To enroll, please go to the Upcoming Events list, open the course profile and click the “Enroll” button in the upper right. If you do not see this button, you must first log-in.
How do I enroll for a retake?
To enroll for a retake, please go to the Upcoming Events list, open the course profile and click the “Retake Test” button in the upper right. If you do not see this button, you must first log-in.
How much does a Q Grader Exam cost?
The amount charged to participate in a Q Grader Exam varies depending on course location and instructor. Please contact the instructor directly if you do not see a cost listed on the course profile.
I started a Q Grader Exam some time ago; do I need to retake the whole class or only individual tests?
Once you start a Q Grader Exam, you have 18 months to complete it. If you took your initial exams more than 18 months ago, you need to take the full Q Grader Exam again. If it was less than 18 months ago, you can just re-take the individual tests you need.
I started a Q Grader Exam; is there a limit on how many times I can take the course?
Once you start a Q Grader Exam, you can participate in a maximum of 3 courses. If you do not pass all exams, you will need to retake a complete "Q Course" from the beginning.
I need to print my Q Certificate. How do I do it?
If you log in to your profile, and if you passed all of the required exams, your Q Grader Certificate will be available on your profile. After logging in, simply go to “My Profile” and follow the link underneath your profile picture.
Does the Q Grader Certificate have an expiration date?
Yes, the Q Grader Certificate is valid for 3 years (36 months) from the original date you took a Q Grader Exam. After this you will need to pass a Calibration to stay active / current.
What is a Calibration?
A CQI Calibration consists of three cuppings, and to renew your Q Grader License, you need to pass 2 out of the 3 cuppings. If you do not pass, you have one opportunity for a retake. If you fail the second time, you must take a Re-certification Course.
Can I contact a private instructor to come teach classes at my lab / facilities?
Yes! On the website, under “Q Coffee System”, you’ll find a tab called “Q Instructors”. This list contains all current CQI-sanctioned Q Instructors. To request information, simply click on his/her name and click the “Send message” button, located directly underneath the profile picture.
Q Grading Information
How do I submit a sample to be evaluated?
You must first select an In-Country Partner (ICP) from our list. Once you’ve selected an ICP, you’ll need to send 2 kg of green coffee to that ICP. In addition, you’ll need to submit the evaluation form online by logging in and going to “Submit a Sample” at the top menu.
How much does it cost to get my coffee Q Graded?
Fees range from $150 to $300 per sample, which includes the ICP administration fee, Q Grader fee and CQI fee ($90 administration fee). Please contact your ICP for fee information.
Roughly, Q Grading amounts to less than a penny a pound per lot. This estimate includes a number of variables, such as in-country Q Grading costs, the number of bags/lot, etc.
How does CQI define a lot of coffee?
A lot of coffee is 320 bags or less (i.e. equivalent to the maximum load on a transportation vessel). If your lot is larger, it must be divided to meet this requirement.
How is the 2 kilogram sample divided?
The sample is divided into three parts: 350 grams for green grading and roasting (one part), 250 grams for cupping only (two parts) and the remaining as a reference sample.
What if I cannot afford to have every lot Q graded?
We encourage everyone to use our Preliminary Assessment Tool, which vets coffee through a pre-screening process and only requires one Certified Q Grader, as opposed to three if it goes through the official system. If a coffee scores close to 80 or higher, it is recommended that you send it through the official Q Grading System, although we cannot guarantee that it will meet the minimum standards for specialty. However, if it does meet specialty standards, your coffee will receive an official Q Certificate.
After my sample is graded and I receive a Q Certificate (i.e. the coffee has scored 80 points or higher), what value does it have?
The Q Certificate signifies that this coffee is among some of the best in the world and can be deemed "specialty", following the standards of SCAA. The certificate provides feedback and cupper notes and information about specific attributes of the coffee. It also signifies an independent, third party evaluation of quality that clients can trust.
How do I track my coffee sample as it is being evaluated and retrieve the potential coffee sample Q certification?
Once your assigned ICP receives your sample, you can track its status online by logging into your account . You may track sample progress and will receive either a Q Certificate or a Technical Report, depending on the outcome.
Is there a coffee sample tutorial available?
For a step-by-step guide you may email
to request a PDF that will provide you with more specific information on creating a coffee sample.
R Grader Program
What is an R Grader?
An R Grader is a Licensed Robusta Grader, just like our Arabica Q Graders. R Graders must pass 22 tests to become certified.
I am interested in becoming an R Grader (Fine Robusta Grader). What is the process?
If you wish to become a Licensed R Grader, you need to take a full R Grader Exam. The course structure is the same as the Q Grader Exam, but with different characteristics and tests.
Why is there a licensing fee?
The licensing fee of $.01/lb is required in order to cover CQI's administrative services and is based on the entire volume of Q Coffees™ purchased by the Licensee.