Crimson Cup’s Brandon Bir Becomes Licensed Coffee Q Grader

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By earning his Q Grader license, Crimson Cup's Brandon Bir has become one of about 3,500 coffee professionals worldwide authorized to evaluate Arabica coffees. He passed a rigorous 6-day program of practice and exams, including 22 separate tests on subjects ranging from green coffee grading to olfactory skills and sensory triangulation.

Brandon Bir Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea
Coffee quality control professionals in growing countries understand the Q program and its importance to the sustainability of our industry.

Brandon Bir, coffee sourcing and education manager for Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, has earned a Q Grader license from the Coffee Quality Institute. He is one of about 3,500 coffee professionals worldwide licensed to evaluate Arabica coffees.

“We are extremely proud of Brandon!” said Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert. “His coffee evaluation skills are helping us source awesome coffees and establish direct-trade relationships with the farmers who grow them.”

To earn his Q Grader license, Bir passed a rigorous 6-day program of practice and exams. He demonstrated his proficiency in 22 separate tests on subjects such as green coffee grading, roast color identification, coffee cupping, olfactory skills and sensory triangulation.

“The Q-grader certification helps validate my skills as a cupper here in the states, and more importantly at origin,” said Bir. “Coffee quality control professionals in growing countries understand the Q program and its importance to the sustainability of our industry. If we are all using the same cupping language and protocol, we can better communicate feedback and therefore see better quality.”

Q Graders are the backbone of the Q Coffee System developed by the Coffee Quality Institute, a charitable trust of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. In the early 2000s, CQI developed The Q Coffee System to improve the quality of coffee worldwide by creating a common language for coffee quality evaluation and an independent certifying body for high quality coffee samples. Anyone grading coffees under CQI’s Q Coffee System must be a Licensed Q Grader.

Q Graders are licensed to grade Arabica coffees. According to SCAA standards, an Arabica coffee qualifies as Specialty Grade if it is free of primary defects or unclean odors and scores 80 or above on the SCAA cupping form. Coffees that score above 90 tend to draw higher demand from coffee roasters – and bring higher prices for growers.

About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea is Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year. Since 1991, Crimson Cup has roasted sustainably sourced specialty and craft coffee in small batches. The company also teaches entrepreneurs to run successful coffee houses through its coffee franchise alternative program, which includes a coffee shop business plan. Crimson Cup coffee is available through a community of more than 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, college and universities, restaurants and food service operations across 29 states, Guam and Bangladesh, as well as the company’s own Crimson Cup Coffee Houses. To learn more, visit crimsoncup.com.

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Cheryl Claypoole
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