March 06, 2020

A “Q Grader” is a professional coffee taster who officially grades and scores a coffee’s quality. This score, obtained through a process called “cupping,” has a significant impact on a coffee’s selling price.

Becoming a Q Grader is not easy! There are only a handful of Q Graders in the state of Michigan, and those who make it through the 19 required sensory and knowledge tests are considered the “sommeliers” of coffee.

In 2019, Tim Volkema (our CEO) and his daughter Frankie both became certified Q Graders. Fun fact: at 13 years old, Frankie Volkema is the youngest Q Grader in the world! She is super proud to have earned both this certification and a spot on Schuil Coffee’s quality control team.

Having the ability to analytically evaluate a coffee is important to the green (unroasted) coffee buying process. We evaluate and score samples of every batch of coffee before we commit to a purchase, and then we continue to re-cup and re-score each coffee at regular intervals until it’s time to bring in the next batch.

This cupping and scoring process is truly central in our effort to bring you top-notch specialty coffee with excellence and consistency! And we love doing it!

coffee cupping in Michigan
coffee Q grader