Want to become a licensed Q grader? Take this highly intensive prep course followed by the challenging Q exam. Unless indicated differently, all Q courses and exams are presented and administered by Q Arabica Instructor Willem Boot.


    12 COURSES, over 300 videos on Coffee farming, coffee roasting, production roasting, coffee blending, quality evaluation, barista skills and much, much more.

    NEW - Q Grader Preparation Course included!

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    • 299.95 $


When the CQI (Coffee Quality Institute) created the most renowned certification for coffee cuppers, Q Graders, it created a demanding professional certification that filled a vacuum in the market when it launched in 2003.

The Q grader certification program was launched in 2003 by The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). Since the inception of this intensive training and examination program, thousands of coffee professionals around the world have become certified as Q grader. Since its introduction, grading and cupping protocols around the world have become much more standardized.

The professional accreditation of Q graders has created a league of coffee cuppers around the world who apply uniform procedures to the evaluation of physical and sensory attributes of coffee samples. The CQI recognizes two different grading certifications:

Q graders are certified to grade Arabica beans;
R graders are certified to grade Robusta coffee.

The Q certification program consists of a 3-day course, followed by a 3-day examination marathon comprising of 19 tests which feature the following elements:

  • Sensory Skills Test (2 tests).  Subjects must identify three (3) intensities of salt, sour and sweet odorless solutions. This is first done individually, then  when combined in mixtures.
  • Cupping Skills Tests (4 tests). Subjects cup and score four (4) flights of six (6) samples.
  • Olfactory Skills Tests (4 tests in 2 parts). The objective of this test is to evaluate an individual’s ability to recognize thirty six (36) common aromatic scents often found in the fragrance and aroma or nose (le nez) of coffee. Subjects must first match six (6) among nine (9) blind pairs, then identify three (3) specified vials of scents for each of four (4) groups
  • Triangulation Skills Tests (4 tests). Triangulation tests measure the ability to differentiate coffees by flavor unique attributes associated with each region.
  • Organic Acids Matching Pairs (1 test). Subjects are evaluated on their ability to identify four (4) of the more common acids found in coffee: acetic acid, malic acid, phosphoric acid and citric acid.
  • Arabica Green Coffee Grading (1 test). Participants grade three (3) 350g green Arabica coffee samples.
  • Arabica Roasted Coffee Grading (1 test). Participants must correctly identify the number of roast defects found in one (1) 100g roasted coffee sample.
  • Roasted Sample Identification (1 test). The goal of the test is to measure an individual’s knowledge of the SCAA cupping protocol roasting instructions. Possible incorrect samples are: a) Under-roasted, b) Baked, c) Over-roasted or d) Under-developed.
  • General Coffee Knowledge (1 test). A multiple choice exam of 100 questions on coffee cupping and grading, roasting, brewing, cultivation, harvesting and processing.

The Q grader certification is valid for 3 years, after which the Q grader is required to pass a calibration to extend their certification for another 3 years. The calibration consists of 3 cupping trials.

Completing the Q is a challenging but very rewarding experience! If you fail one or more tests, you do not need to retake the entire course but you can retake those tests only. Usually you can take up to 2 retakes per failed test during the examination course. Subsequently, there’s the opportunity to take retakes at later Q courses.

This intensive program consists of 3 days training and 3 days examination. Each day will commence at 8:30 AM and will finish around 5:00 PM. The majority of the sixth day is reserved for taking retakes of tests as necessary.


Our courses typically begin at 9 am each morning and finish each day between 5 and 7 pm depending on the progress of students in each course.

Hotels in Marin County can be booked online.

More Information?

Email us and we usually respond within 24 hours. Boot Coffee: (888)814-4347 (USA).

Boot Coffee Purchase Policy

All sales are final. Course fees are not refundable. If you need to cancel, course fees can be applied to future courses or another person can take your place. For all changes, we will charge a change fee of 25% of the course price. Changes are not possible less than 7 days before the course.