2012

Experiences from Q Training 2012

I just wanted to share a bit more on this amazing experience from my perspective as well as a few of my class mates.

DSCNAshley14 months in the industry as a part of CoffeeTalk Media. Her Family owns a Coffee Farm in Guatemala and she has grown up as a coffee producer.

Q -What was most MEMORABLE about studying for and attending the Q Grader Training?

A- The most memorable part for me was coming together with other people from different parts of the supply chain (Producers, Importers, Roasters) to learn a common language and realize we are striving for a common purpose: Quality.

Q- What was BEST part of this experience?

A- The best part was learning how to cup according to the Q/SCAA Standards. It is designed in such a way, that I was able to learn how to process and organize my thoughts while cupping in order to give a score. Also, being able to go to the cupping table and feeling confident in knowing how to do this is a great feeling. Finally, the credibility that comes with being a “Licensed Q Grader” is definitely a huge plus.

Q- What would you consider the HARDEST Part of the experience?

A- Definitely preparing for and passing the Sensory Skills Test (Identifying sweet, sour, salty… specifically determining the varying intensities!)

Q- Is there anything you Wished Was Different?

A- NO… I thought it was great! The class was well organized and a great learning experience (but very intense)!

DSCNLuzma…  20+ Years in the Coffee Industry as a Producer. She is a 3rd generation coffee farmer from Colombia. She also Manages a farm in Costa Rica.

Q -What was most MEMORABLE about studying for and attending the Q Grader Training?

A- To find out that there are flavors in the coffee like berries and peaches, I could not even believe it! I had heard it, but never believed it before! Then when I cupped it and found the differences between the coffees… it was amazing! From the Green to the Roasting, it is just unbelievable.

Q- What was BEST part of this experience?

A-To be with different people and to be with friends I enjoy. I already knew Ashley and Kerri, so to share this experience with them was great; but also to meet the other people from different countries and backgrounds… I just loved the experience!

Q- What would you consider the HARDEST Part of the experience?

A- oh my gosh… the sweet, the salty and sour. The sensory evaluation test was the most challenging! By themselves, I know the difference; but combined, it was really challenging!

Q- Is there anything you Wished Was Different?

A- It would be nice to get a recognition/reward at the end… an apron, a spoon, something that shows the accomplishment! The diploma is nice but something to remember it by would be just wonderful! Get sponsors for that, or add it to the price… but it should be included!

DSCNKaren20+ Years in the Coffee Industry as an Importer. Founder of an importing company and multiple non-profits in the industry.

Q -What was most MEMORABLE about studying for and attending the Q Grader Training?

A- Learning what real sample roasts are like. After 20 years of “wrong habits” I had an eye opening experience of the way samples should be roasted.

Q- What was BEST part of this experience?

A- It was an extraordinary experience for me. I was reborn. I forgot how much I missed being in coffee. I was worried about being able to sit still for 10 hours a day. I was surprised; it was quite thrilling! I feel like we were doing something important for the industry. We are bridging the gap with the wine industry and we are making giant steps!

Q- What would you consider the HARDEST Part of the experience?

A- The stinking sensory evaluation! I still have to pass that part. I think being my age has to do with less ability to distinguish the flavors. Your really have to FEEL the impression on your tongue!

Q- Is there anything you Wished Was Different?

A- Don’t give us a test on acids when we haven’t learned them yet! I also think there should be a collaboration / updated with other “tree to cup” input… I don’t think that the specialty coffee industry has the right to dictate zero defects! This is “wrong thinking” who the hell are we??  It is nice to have a high bar; it is not reasonable to have a perfect bar!

DSCNKerri19 Years in the Coffee Industry as a Journalist and Non-Profit Volunteer

Q -What was most MEMORABLE about studying for and attending the Q Grader Training?

A- Watching Luz Marina fly into the air in jubilation as she received her Q Grader Certificate.

Q- What was BEST part of this experience?

A- Feeling ALIVE! There is no feeling like learning! It was the equivalent of being back in college during finals week. We “crammed” for three weeks prior to the actual class, and then would continue to study after the 8-10 hour course/testing for another few hours each night!

Q- What would you consider the HARDEST Part of the experience?

A- The absolutely most challenging party for me was learning to really differentiate the coffees in a triangulation. After so many attempts (some fruitful, some “epic failures” – thanks Rocky!) I finally realized I needed to take more time, really concentrate on the subtle differences in acidity, body, aftertaste, and most importantly, clear my palate (ok take a small drink of water) between tastes.

Q- Is there anything you Wished Was Different?

A- Ok, I wish I had passed the first time! I wish I had figured out the triangulation process earlier. I wish I had cupped more before the actual class and tests. And I think I wish I had an extra day to just practice during the course.

To Top