The Q Grader Program

The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) designed the Q Grader program to develop a skilled and credible body of specialty arabica coffee tasters.  Their role is to consistently and accurately assess coffee quality, both cup and grade, as a part of CQI’s Q Coffee system.

Q Graders are recognized as cuppers as skilled to:

  • Objectively assess coffee quality
  • Identify, quantify, and articulate coffee characteristics
  • Detect coffee defects
  • Communicate coffee characteristics using common industry terminology

Upon successful completion of the program, cuppers are permitted to evaluate arabica coffees for CQI or one of CQI’s in-country partners. A Q certificate is valid for three (3) years. It may be renewed upon completion of a calibration by an authorized instructor.

The course is a six-day series of exercises and exams consisting of twenty (20) individual tests that must be passed. Candidates not passing all sections during the course may retake failed tests — either during the same course period, or anytime after within eighteen (18) months. You may retake exams at the same or any other authorized facility.

If you are considering training for the program or preparing for the exam, be sure to read our study guide and participate in the online preparation training program.