What is the Q Mark?

Q represents QUALITY.

The Q Mark is the only third-party evaluation and verification that demonstrates to consumers the quality of the specialty or fine coffee they are purchasing, and the only one administered by CQI. Any mark that is not one of these is not Q Coffee.

Each Q Coffee product started at the farm, and producers are the key to quality. From seed to cup - growing, handling, and processing of coffee cherries ultimately determines the coffee taste (profile) and quality. Each Q coffee product has a producer story, backed by hard work and dedication to craft.

Because CQI's mission is to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of those that produce it, the Q Mark on coffee products also demonstrates our commitment to producers: funds generated from the Q Mark program are used to provide education opportunities to producers.

Look for Q coffee when you shop! Try coffee from different regions and experience regional and even farm-level diversity. Just like fine wine, coffee has an amazing diversity of flavors from origins all over the world.

Your purchase supports coffee producers and rewards their hard work delivering the best quality coffee you can buy.

The Q Coffee System identifies quality coffees and brings them to market through a credible and verifiable system. A common standard for both Q Arabica, (Specialty Grade) and Q Robusta (Fine Robusta Grade) has resulted in a universally shared language and standard top scoring lots. The Q system engages the industry at the producer level to identify lots for specialty, at the export/import level by certifying individuals to grade coffees, and at the buyer level to offer a consumer facing product with the Q mark. This system's infrastructure has resulted in greater opportunity for producers to access the premium price in the market and improve their economic viability.

The Q Coffee System is dependent on our In Country Partners (ICP) to facilitate Q Grading around the world. For more information about our ICPs, click here. Green coffee samples are submitted to an ICP, who then issue it to the three local Q Graders who conduct the evaluation and create a report. Coffees that meet the standards for green, roasted, and cup quality are issued a Q Certificate. If a coffee does not meet Q standards, it receives a CQI Technical Report. More details about the program can be found on our FAQ page.

Coffee Quality Institute certifications include: Q Certified Arabica, Certified Q Arabica, Q Certified Robusta, Certified Q Robusta, Q Certified Blended, and Certified Q Blend. These phrases have been in use since 8/22/2013. The current Q Coffee logos, including Q Arabica, Q Arabica Coffee, Q Coffee Arabica, Q Robusta, Q Coffee Robusta, Q Robusta Coffee, Q Blend, Q Coffee Blend and Q Blend Coffee have been in use since April of 2021. These marks are the property of Coffee Quality Institute and may only be used through a licensing agreement.

If you are a roaster or importer of specialty Arabica or fine Robusta, and are interested in being part of this program and differentiating your coffees, please contact Tina Yerkes at tyerkes@coffeeinstitute.org.