Images And Pathway Class Descriptions used with the permission of SCA

Q Grader Combo Training & Exam

2017 Course Dates

The Academy of Coffee Excellence is offering the Q Grader Training Course and Exams in February and September 2017.

  • Feb 20 - Feb 25 - This course is closed
  • Jul 10 - Jul 15 - This Q Course will be held in Baltimore at Keffa Coffee
  • Sep 18 - Sep 23 - This Q Course will be held in Williamsburg, VA

The Price Above Reflects SCA, SCAA & SCAE, NCA Member Discounts.

Classes at the Academy of Coffee Excellence generally run from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm unless otherwise noted.

What is Q Grader License Course and Exam all about?

A Q Grader Course and Exam is a 6 Day course designed to critically evaluate a broad sensory analysis skillset. The first 3 day period involves some teaching of the subject matter and a practice test version of each of the 22 exams that will be taken over the second 3 day period. The 22 exams are designed to evaluate competency and sensory acuity in a number of areas closely associated with coffee cupping and grading.   

What is an Active Q Grader?

Q Graders are accredited coffee cuppers, licensed by CQI, and are the backbone of the Q Coffee System developed by the Coffee Quality Institute or CQI. CQI is the charitable trust of the Specialty Coffee Association of America that provides coffee quality improvement aid services in coffee producing countries around the world.

Q Graders objectively grade and score coffee as Specialty Grade, or not. Scores and technical reports are communicated throughout the supply chain with the intended goal of increasing the supply of Specialty Grade coffee. 

In the Q Coffee System, coffee producers submit samples to CQI via one of CQI’s authorized In-Country Partners for the purpose of independent quality evaluation. Those samples are evaluated by 3 similarly qualified coffee cuppers, called Active Q Graders. They rate the coffee based on its physical appearance as green coffee and characteristics when cupped following strict protocols set by the Coffee Quality Institute and the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Who should pursue the Q?

By itself, the Q Grader License has become a widely successful gold standard of competency among those who cup coffee. Q Graders impact on the Specialty Coffee Industry has been tremendous. The Q Grader curriculum is designed as a certification course for those who routinely taste and evaluate coffee as a part of their profession.

The Q Grader License exams are recommended for any coffee professional who routinely evaluates the quality of coffee: coffee producers (farmers), coffee importers and exporters, green buyers, roasters, quality control personnel and baristas can benefit from what they learn about coffee and themselves from the Q Grader License series of exams.

What If I Need Re-Take Exams?

Re-Take Exams will be offered as part of this Q Course. However, there are limitations on how many Re-Take Candidates can join this or any Q Course. If you are seeking a Re-Take Exam only, please email for availability and pricing.

What If I Do Not Pass My Q Exams?

Although thousands of coffee professionals pursue the accreditation each year, only about 35% or so pass and obtain their license in their first attempt. It is not uncommon to need a retake for one or more of the exams. If you do not pass the exams on your first attempt, you do not need to repeat the entire course, merely the exam or exams that you need to retake. Since the exam series is offered all over the globe, you may take your retakes at a lab that is conveniently located to where you are currently located. If you require retake exams, you have up to 18 months from the original course date to complete or retake all outstanding exams to earn your Q Grader License. You may join 2 additional Q Courses from your original Q Course while pursuing your retake exams. Each License is valid for 36 months, after which time a calibration course must be taken in order to remain active.

Q Course Registration Cancellation Policy:

  • Cancellations within 30 days of the start of the course are non-refundable
  • Cancellations 31+ days prior to the start of the course will be refunded at 90% (the 10% covers the credit card processing for the charge and return) if the seat can be filled.
  • Cancelletions 31+ days prior to the start of the course will be refunded at 50% if the seat cannot be filled.
  • Refunds will be processed on the date that the cource begins.

Continue Shopping or Checkout

Related Items