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Cuppers of Korea: A Dynamic Community of Q Graders

February 22, 2024
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We’re celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Q by telling its stories. One of the ways the coffee community enhances their relationship to CQI is by generating their own ways to challenge themselves. There are groups around the world affiliated by a common love of cupping coffee. One of those groups is Cuppers of Korea, and they are using their skills in a lot of ways together. We asked Mr. James Woo for some background on the club so we could learn more.

1. In what year did your group start meeting? 

We created Cuppers of Korea in 2011 by bringing together Korean cuppers who had obtained Q-Grader qualifications starting in 2010. 


2. Why was this group formed? 

In 2010, specialty coffee and cupping were not widely known in Korea. Cuppers of Korea was created to introduce good specialty coffee to Korea, and to encourage more people to practice cupping. 


3. How many people are part of your group today? 

As of 2024, there are about 40 main members. At one time, there were about 100 Q graders, but the number has decreased since the pandemic. 

There are approximately 5,400 active members in the online community. 


4. What types of activities do you do? 

You can check the activities from the beginning of the group’s inception to the present here: | 

- Directly import and distribute coffee from various producing regions. 

- Participate in auctions of COE coffee and various production regions, cupping and winning bids. 

- Group purchasing of green beans and cafe supplies through Cuppers Cooperative ( 

- Various product evaluation activities and education through the Coffee Cupping Association of Korea ( 

- Professional course training starting from the basics of cupping 

- Home cafe barista, professional barista training 

- Manager training for cafe operation (Coffee Quality Management) 

- Specialty specialty and hygienic operation caffeine certification system 

- Cupping Championship held once a year 

- Hosting roasting and brewing competitions 

- Participation in various exhibitions 


5. Plans for the future? 

We will quickly introduce CQI’s policies to Korea. We want to develop a system to interact with farmers in each coffee-producing country, introduce their coffee directly to Korea, and continuously trade their coffee. 


6.What would you like to tell people about your club? 

We value the relationships formed through coffee and share good information together. We thank the farmers at origin and introduce cupping to many people as it is the best way to continuously introduce their coffee to Korea. That's why we want to ensure that all coffee industry workers enjoy a happy life through coffee. Our slogan is: Let's go together.   

The Korean Cuppers are great examples of how Q Graders make an impact in unexpected ways. Are you part of a group built around your Q certification? We would love to feature your club to inspire and inform our larger community.