How to Study for a Q Grader Exam

How do I prepare for the Q Grader course’s many exams?

It’s a good question and one that is not easy to quickly answer. Some may prefer to attend a Q Grader certification course ‘blind’ as a baseline assessment of his or her coffee cupping skill level, but most of us plunking down $1,000-$2,000 or more of our own (or worse, our employer’s) money, taking a week away from work and possibly spending money traveling cross country to essentially take a test would rather perform as well as possible, pass all of the course’s 22 20 exams and bring home a certificate in exchange for our substantial investment.

Although Q Arabica and Q Robusta are technically open to participants at any cupping skill level, one should be aware that it is normal for even very experienced cuppers to fail some of the program’s exercises, so I recommend that everyone should begin preparing for the exams a few weeks or months in advance of a scheduled class to improve your likelihood of passing. Those same sample exercises should be repeated periodically after becoming a CQI certified Q Grader to maintain proficiency and keep your skills sharpened in the workplace.

By test group, here is how we recommend you practice:
(updated for Q 4.0 – 06/2013)

General Coffee Knowledge Exam
Sensory Skills Exam
Cupping Skills Exam
Olfactory Skills Exam
Triangulation Skills Exam
Organic Acids Matching Pairs Exam
Arabica Green Grading Test
Arabica Roasted Coffee Grading Test
Sample Roast Identification