The Q-Grader program is designed to give a common language to describe quality in coffee and is used from the farmer to the consumer. It quantifies coffee attributes and gets all participants to identify taste characteristics in the same way. The true purpose therefore is to be able to communicate quality up and down the supply chain and raise the overall quality of coffee in the process.
Jeremy Raths of The Roastery in Minneapolis, and a Q-Grader Instructor, describes the Q-Certification of coffee this way, “For the coffee industry it is the only certification based on Quality. It is totally blind, independent and adhering to a strict protocol. It is all about the coffee. No guilt, no shame, just coffee quality. It is a way that the whole chain can objectively look at a coffee using quantification.”
Q-Graders must pass a rigorous five-day exam to earn their certification, comprising of 22 sections on coffee-related subjects, such as green grading, roast identification, coffee cupping, sensory skills and sensory triangulation. There are currently over 1,000 Licensed Q Graders worldwide.
Coffee Analysts benefits by having two licensed Q Grader on staff. Both Coffee Analysts owner Dan Cox and Spencer Turer provide leadership to sensorial evaluations ensuring SCAA and Q standards are followed for coffee evaluations, and provide training to staff members as well as insuring proper calibration amongst sensory panelists.
“We are proud of Spencer earning his Q-Grader License,” remarked Cox. “It’s a rigorous and world-renowned program, and Coffee Analysts will benefit greatly from having another Q-Grader on our team.”