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Everything You Need to Know About Q Graders

There are many coffee professionals, but few hold the prestigious mark of an esteemed coffee quality expert, the Q Grader. Out of the billions of coffee drinkers across the globe, only a few thousand have completed all the necessary work to become a licensed Q Grader. Quite simply, a Q Grader is someone who has gone through rigorous training that allows them to be able to objectively differentiate between coffee quality. A certified Q Grader can grade and score coffees to the standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), in a universal language that helps communicate a coffee’s value from producers to buyers.

The Path to Becoming a Coffee Q Grader

Q-Grader cupping coffee

Though there are no defined prerequisites to enroll in a Q Grader certification program, this is a journey that only advanced coffee professionals should embark on. Before taking on this challenge, one must have a deep understanding of how to identify and differentiate coffees using the SCAA’s scoring system. Specifically, you should feel extremely comfortable cupping coffees and, in my opinion, should be engrossed in the coffee industry for years. The certification process can be a resource-heavy and stressful process, so I urge only those really serious about a career in coffee to move forward.

What is Needed to Pass the Q?

In order to become a licensed Q Grader, a coffee professional must be able to not only accurately but consistently cup and grade coffee based on the SCAA’s defined standards. To ensure a student has all the knowledge and expertise necessary to possess the Q Grader title, they must pass a total of 20+ tests. The tests include cupping tests, sensory skill tests and triangulation tests. Successful students are able to match and identify acids, roast levels and scents as well as have a knowledge of green coffee grading. In order to make sure professionals continue to have the right tools to remain on top of their game, Q graders are required to renew their license every 3 years by completing ongoing coffee education.

Bruvi’s Commitment to Coffee Quality

John Bruvi Coffee Q-Grader

At Bruvi®, our commitment to quality rings through to every facet of our brand from coffee brewerdesign to engineering and, of course, coffee. We are lucky enough to have two certified Q Graders on the Bruvi Team. David Pohl has been in the specialty coffee industry for well over a decade and leads our coffee sourcing program. David helps bridge the gap between producers and our B-Pods™ with a specific knack for securing the highest quality specialty coffees from partners that share our ethos. John Carnahan is our resident coffee guru who lives and breathes coffee. He works hand in hand with David to make sure every aspect of our coffee program and partnerships are executed to perfection. He is the newest Q Grader in the Bruvi family and we couldn’t be prouder of his recent accomplishment. Go John!

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