From Q Grader to CQI Volunteer to Q Instructor – Alin Giriada

Alin Giriada recently became a certified Q Instructor. The path to becoming a Q Instructor is rigorous and long, but it makes sure that each of our instructors are committed to their partnership with Coffee Quality Institute and perpetuating our mission.
Alin started his journey with CQI in February of 2015 during his first Q Arabica Grader course.

On February 14th of 2015 I finished the most intense coffee course I ever did, and definitely the most fascinating. During the course I met some fantastic coffee professionals (I still keep in touch with some of them), I cupped some amazing coffees from all over the world, and I gained a lot of confidence in my skills. And yes, I became a Q Grader. About one year later, I applied on the CQI website to become a Coffee Corps volunteer. Yet, I had to wait 3 more years until I received an email asking if I would be interested to volunteer for a project in Ethiopia. I was more than happy to get involved and I replied to that email within seconds!

On the path to becoming a Q Instructor, it’s first required to become an Assistant Instructor. Before this you must have been a Q Grader for 3 years and have successfully passed calibration. Apprenticeships are the next step after successfully passing the Assistant Instructor course. Alin's time as a volunteer in Ethiopia this year helped him fulfill the amount of apprenticeship needed to become an instructor.

I knew it would be different. I was happy the course took place in a different environment, in such a way that I could test my ability to adapt to new conditions and to use alternative resources to accomplish the educational goal. The lead instructor, Jeremy, was absolutely fabulous so everything is much easier when you have a very skilled partner. The students were amazing also. Some of the best cuppers I've seen and really eager to learn. So the lesson I learned on this trip is that the human factor is essential in such a project. As long as you have students willing to learn and dedicated instructors, the success of the course is assured.

Alin owns a company that offers training and consulting services, and believes that the more origins he will visit and teach in, the better he will become as a coffee professional.

I was lucky enough to have a very smooth transition from Assistant Instructor to Instructor because I had the opportunity to assist some amazing coffee professionals which helped me a lot. They answered all my questions, encouraged me and offered a lot of advice. So, I have to say a huge thank you to Rouki, Mike, Polina, Jeremy and Eduardo for helping my throughout my apprenticeship.


Since his volunteer assignment Alin was inspired to donate materials to our program partners in Ethiopia. We are lucky to have Instructors like Alin who truly care!

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