Q Grading and Coffee

Recently, two members of the Community Coffee Company team earned an elite "Arabica Q Grader" certification from the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI): Myrna Rombado, Green Coffee Buyer, and Jenny Fontenot, Traffic & Logistics Administrator.  

There are over 5,000 Q Graders worldwide and only about 400 in the United States, and Community Coffee Company is home to eight of them!

What is a Q Grader?
Similar to wine and sommeliers, a Q Grader is a person certified by the CQI as being able to grade and score coffee through smell and taste. Q Graders must pass a week-long intensive examination comprised of 22 different tests to become credentialed by the CQI.

How Do You Become a Q Grader?
The Q Grader test is rigorous—it has a less than a 50% pass rate and has often been compared to passing the bar exam for a law school student.

The Q Grader certification process tests general coffee knowledge and the ability to accurately and consistently identify quality coffee, which includes appropriately grading green and roasted coffee, evaluating roasted coffee from around the world, recognizing 36 aromas associated with coffee, blind cupping and identification of varying coffees, identifying roast progression characteristics, and discerning salty, sweet and sour at varying intensities and combinations.

What Does a Q Grader Do?
The CQI and the Specialty Coffee Association created the Q Grader Program in 2004 to help provide a consistent, credible and verifiable evaluation process that is utilized worldwide to evaluate coffee.

Q Graders score coffee on various qualities like aroma, flavor, and texture. This score is then used to help determine the value of that coffee.

Community Coffee Company’s group of Q Graders utilize their talents in the quality control process, ensuring that the Arabica coffee Community Coffee Company buys, roasts and distributes tastes its absolute best.