The Q CoffeeTM mark is the only certification in the coffee industry that distinguishes the QUALITY of coffee.

Specialty coffee is highly desired by consumers, yet can be hard for them to identify in the marketplace. Research has shown that quality certification marks on consumer products increase sales, provide consumer confidence, and result in a market advantage.  

Coffee Quality Institute is the standard for coffee quality verification and certification in specialty and fine coffee. CQI developed and institutionalized the global language of coffee quality though our Q Grader certification program that now boasts approximately 8000 graders globally, enabling consistent and professional grading of green coffee.

How do I use the Q on my Coffee?

Q Coffee™ is a consumer quality mark that evaluates and verifies that the coffee has achieved either Specialty or Fine status. It is an identifiable trademark that allows the consumer to differentiate their buying decision.

For your coffee to qualify, it must first be evaluated through the Q CoffeeTM System and meet the standards for green and cup quality, resulting in a Q Certificate. After qualification, you will be enabled to enter a licensing agreement with CQI in order to use the Q on your products.

The Process

 Step 1: Identify the coffee and expected quantity.

Contact Emma Sage to discuss the expected quantity, appropriate sampling scheme and licensing fees associated with using the Q Mark.

 Step 2:  Have your coffee evaluated with CQI.

CQI will help you decide the best location to have your coffee graded.

Note:  If your coffee has already been evaluated and it received a Q Certificate, please proceed to Step 4.

Step 3:  Does your coffee qualify?  

Your coffee must qualify as Specialty Arabica or Fine Robusta grade coffee and receive a Q Certificate to quality for Q Coffee™.  Here are the criteria required to receive a Q Certificate.

* Primary Defects: 0

* Secondary Defects: maximum 5

* Cup Evaluation: 80 points or above

* Quakers: 3 or less

 Step 4:  Enter into Q Coffee Licensing Agreement with CQI.

Contact  to finalize this step.

 The Outcome

 Your company will be enabled to sell this coffee with the Q Coffee mark. CQI will work with you to determine the best way to present and display this mark to your customers. Your customers will understand the quality of coffee in your bag and trust CQI as a third-party verification.

The mission of Coffee Quality Institute is to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of those that produce it, therefore CQI dedicates the net proceeds from the Q CoffeeTM licensing program to supporting activities in origin countries where the benefit to quality improvement is most impactful to the lives of producers.  If your company has sustainability goals, this certification not only informs consumers of the coffee quality but also enables marketing in the support of coffee farmers where they need the help most – improving their coffee quality.

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 itto 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 Blend, 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.

 For questions or assistance, please email Emma Sage or Carrie Blaida at

Q CoffeeTM certification differentiates your coffee, allows quick identification by discerning consumers, is a valuable marketing tool, and an avenue to achieve sustainability goals.