Three S&D Coffee & Tea Employees Certified as Arabica Q Graders
CONCORD, N.C. – Three team members at S&D Coffee & Tea are among the newest licensed Q Arabica graders, certified by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI): Tonya Baptist, Quality Control Supervisor; Bonnie Hall, Sourcing & Quality Manager; and Tara Johnson, Inventory Control Specialist.
Q Arabica graders must pass 22 rigorous tests to become a professionally accredited cupper, passing a combination of tasting, olfactory and other sensory challenges. These individuals are able to successfully recognize, categorize and grade coffee and cup in a group of peers without being a sensory outlier.
“According to the CQI, when a company has a Q Grader on staff, it signifies a commitment to quality and training and an adherence to strict industry standards,” said John Buckner, vice president of marketing for S&D. “We are proud to have three of these established industry experts as part of our team — reinforcing the high level of expertise with which we serve our customers.”
Although the tests have no prerequisites, the CQI highly recommends that applicants have a strong familiarity with the cupping process, cupping form and experience with Arabicas. There are approximately 325 Q Arabica graders in the United States, and the Q grader certificate is valid for three years.
About Coffee Quality Institute
The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) is a nonprofit organization working internationally to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of the people who produce it. CQI provides training and technical assistance to coffee producers and other individuals in the supply chain to increase the value, volume and sustainability of high quality coffee production. CQI also works toward building institutional capacity in coffee producing countries by creating systems and infrastructure that encourage a focus on quality that leads to higher farmer incomes.