How the Q Combo and calibrations work at CQI

Q Graders around the world take the same exams and calibrate together. Whether in China or Colombia, this is what is included.

Are you interested in becoming a Q Grader?

Aspiring Q Graders should create a profile in the CQI database and select their course from upcoming courses. Learners can search by course name, specific venue, instructor, or country. Active and renewing Q Graders, see below for updates on the new Q Calibration.

This course consists of two corresponding parts that take place over six days.   

  • For the first 3 days, learners review assumed knowledge and theoretical principles, including practice of all activities.
  • The second part is a 3-day series of exams regarding the material presented. The course includes 20 exams over 9 Modules to test the learners’ job-relevant skills including cupping protocols, olfactory and gustatory senses, green coffee defect identification, roast sample level identification and matching pairs of coffee acids. 
  • Testing also includes recognizing and recalling CQI Flavor Standards (FlavorActiV) in aqueous solutions.
  • Participants who pass all exams earn a Q Arabica Grader certificate valid for thirty-six (36) months.
  • Q Graders failing a coffee or flavor standards exam in the Q may retake this portion of the course during this course. General knowledge or cupping exams must be taken in person within a subsequent course to retake.

This course consists of two corresponding parts over six days.

  • For the first 3 days, learners review assumed knowledge and theoretical principles, including practice of all activities.
  • The second part is a 3-day series of exams regarding the material presented. The course includes 20 exams over 9 Modules to test the learners’ job-relevant skills including cupping protocols, olfactory and gustatory senses, green and roasted grading, organic acid identification, triangulation skills, roast sample level identification, coffee processing evaluation, and general coffee value chain knowledge.
  • Testing also includes recognizing and recalling CQI Flavor Standards (FlavorActiV) in aqueous solutions.
  • Participants who pass all exams earn a Q Robusta Grader certificate valid for thirty-six (36) months.
  • Q Graders failing a coffee or flavor standards exam in the Q may retake this portion of the course during this course. General knowledge or cupping exams must be taken in person within a subsequent course to retake.  

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Are you an active Q Grader?

If you are looking to renew your Q Grader certification, please review the steps below:

  1. Log into the CQI database and access your current certificate or course history to note the expiration date for your certificate.
  2. Once you know the date your certificate expires, begin searching for upcoming calibration courses to find one suitable for your timeline.
  3. Read the description below for updates to the new Q calibration (V5.0).

To remain certified, a certified Q Grader meets for an in-person calibration course every third year.

You should have an existing CQI profile, to which you can sign in from the home page. Search for a calibration course that works for you. Learners can search by course name, specific venue, instructor, or country.

  • The course consists of three cupping flights with distinct attributes as well as flavor calibration exercises (FlavorActiV) that are, at this time, not graded.
  • Successful participants will demonstrate cupping calibration by passing at least two of the three flights. For flavor calibration exercises, learners will receive a participation grade. Upon passing, their certificate will be valid for thirty-six (36) months.

Q Graders failing the Coffee Calibration exam may retake this portion of the course one (1) time in order to renew their Q Grader certificate. They must join and pass another Q Grader Calibration Course within six (6) months of their failure to become certified again. At this time flavor calibration is not graded and as such does not require retakes for calibration.

Click here to view more information on FlavorActiV

Updated 1/17/2023.