Below is all the technical information to become a Q Grader. To read stories and hear inspiration from Q Graders around the world, click on their photos.
The Pre Q is…
A comprehensive training in cupping of coffee samples for the purposes of scoring and identifying individual lots against the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) physical and sensory criteria for specialty quality.
The goal of Pre-Q is to provide participants with a professional understanding of how to identify and differentiate coffees using the SCAA’s internationally accepted scoring system and prepare them to successfully complete the Coffee Quality Institute’s (CQI) rigorous Q Graders Course and Exam.
This scoring system provides a common language for discussing coffee quality throughout the coffee chain from producers to buyers.
Pre Q is the foundation for becoming a Q grader, and maybe even someday becoming a Q instructor.
To see a list of upcoming classes and to register, click here.
A CQI Q Arabica Grader is...
An individual who is credentialed by the CQI to grade and score coffees utilizing standards developed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).
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 events.
The course for becoming a Q Arabica Grader prepares participants for for the 22 tests they must pass to become a certified Q Grader. The tests relate to an individual’s ability to accurately and consistently cup and grade coffee according to SCAA cupping and grading standards and protocols, including a thorough understanding of the SCAA cupping form.
A student who passes these 22 tests is given a professional license as a Q Grader. This license must be renewed every 3 years by attending a Q Grader calibration to ensure the Q Grader is up-to-date.
A CQI Q Robusta Grader is...
An individual who is credentialed by the Coffee Quality Institute to grade and score coffees utilizing standards developed by the CQI in partnership with the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA). The course for becoming a Q Robusta Grader is an intensive review of the cupping and grading protocols required of a certified R Grader combined with a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s ability to consistently cup and grade green Robusta coffee.
If you wish to become a Licensed Q Robusta Grader, you need to take a full Q Robusta Grader Exam consisting of 22 tests. The course structure is the same as the Q Grader Exam, but with different characteristics and tests. There are no prerequisites, but just as the Q Arabica Exam, we highly recommend you have a strong familiarity with the cupping process, cupping form, and experience with robustas. Upon passing the Q Robusta Grader Exam, the student will receive a professional certification credential that must be renewed every 3 years by attending a Q Grader calibration to make sure the Q Grader is up-to-date.