get certified by the Coffee Quality Institute

Q Grader Course

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.

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.

What is a q grader?

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.

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Calibrate for the Q and Get Certified by the SCA too.​

Take the SCA Sensory course the week before the intensive Q Grader course. Not only you improve your chances to pass the Q grader exam, but also you  get certified by the SCA.

This package includes:

  • Introduction to Coffee (1 day - Monday)
  • SCA Sensory Foundations (1 day - Tuesday)
  • SCA Sensory Intermediate (3 days - Wednesday-Friday)
SCA Sensory is the week before the Q Grader course
SAVE $200

Get one year of access to the most comprehensive online course package in the coffee industry.

  • 12 Courses
  • Over 300 Videos
  • Unlimited Views

Price is valid only when purchased as an add-on to the campus course.

Total $


Sign up for a course now, pay later!

As Low As 0% APR, no late fees.

Now you can split your purchase into 6, 12, or 18 easy monthly payments.

COVID 19 Precautions

Your safety is paramount to us.

To attend our courses, we will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID 19 PCR test result within 72 hours of the course date.

All courses will follow adjusted cupping protocols; masks and social distancing will be required.

In line with Marin County guidelines, we will adjust our policy as the situation changes.

COVID 19 - Money Back Guarantee

Sign up for our courses with ease! You can cancel your order 7 days prior to the course for any reason, or 24 hours prior to the course should COVID-19 restrictions prevent you from participating.


    What Does Boot Coffee Campus do to Keep me Safe from COVID-19 and What do I Need to DO to Attend?

    Please refer to our COVID-19 Guidelines 

    Where is the Coffee Training Centre?

    The course will be at the BOOT COFFEE CAMPUS at 619 Lindaro Street, San Rafael, CA (just north of San Francisco).

    When Does the Coffee Roasting Course Start?

    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.

    How Can I Get More Information?

    Contact Us via Email:


    Call Us: (888) 814-4347

    Is Lunch Included?

    Yes, we provide grab and go lunch and light snacks through the duration of the course (Mon-Thu).