Roasting is mostly tasting. Without understanding how roasting choices impact flavor, roasting coffee is basically a guessing game. This is one reason that I decided to pursue my Q-Grader Certification from CQI (Coffee Quality Institute) in early 2021.
After 14 years in coffee, I still find a near infinite amount to learn and becoming a Q-Grader was one of the most difficult tasks I've taken on. The main importance of the certification is to calibrate with industry professionals and ensure more reliable and constructive feedback to coffee producers. Ideally, tasting becomes more objective than subjective.
After 19 discerning tests over the course of 6 days, I found myself not only certified but more confident in my ability to taste at a high level, and more eager to taste daily.
As a roaster I focus on three valuable roles.
One is communicating directly and transparently with coffee producers, providing valuable feedback, while respecting their efforts to create quality coffees.
Two is roasting passionately and tasting with scrutiny to present my best efforts and make every coffee shine as it deserves.
Three is sharing those special coffees with you and showing the value of all the dedication throughout the supply chain by way of unique flavor characteristics.
Written by Kevin Mayberry