Recently, I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to take the Q Grader Exam. I expected to be challenged in my coffee knowledge and abilities as well as make a few new friends in the Turkish coffee scene. I didn’t anticipate meeting a dynamic young coffee professional from Tehran, Iran. Reza Kosar quickly impressed me with acute sense of smell, thorough knowledge of SCAA cupping protocols, and his enthusiasm for all things specialty coffee. By the end of the week he proved to be Iran’s first Q Grader, a feet which involves passing 20 very difficult exams. We caught up with Reza to ask him what it means to be Iran’s first Q grader and what’s next for him.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I’m 24. I work at Sam Cafe as a manager of R&D and the director of coffee.
What exactly is a Q Grader? What does it mean to be Iran’s first Q Grader?
The Coffee Quality Institute designed the Q Grader program to create a skilled and credible body of specialty Arabica coffee cuppers. Q Graders are recognized as cuppers as skilled to:
Objectively assess coffee quality
Identify, quantify and articulate coffee characteristics
Detect coffee defects
Communicate coffee characteristics using common industry terminology
As a Q Grader I’m so thrilled that now I am part of this big Program and I’m so grateful. And as you may know Specialty Coffee in Iran is on its early stages and now that I’m a Q, it sounds like a huge responsibility. I know that it’s just the beginning though.
What did you do to prepare for the exam? Did it help?
Well I studied for the Q course and I practiced the Cupping, Triangulation, Sensory, and Olfactory skills. Yes actually it helped a lot. When you know the procedure it will ease the way.
Q Graders have to pass 20 different exams. Which one was the hardest for you?
Well as you know all of them are tough! But to be honest I think the matching pairs (Organic Acids) exam was quite hard.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about taking a Q Grader course?
If you are considering enrolling in a Q Grader course, be sure to read the study guides in advance to be aware of the procedure.
Has becoming a Q Grader changed the way you think about coffee?
Absolutely. It was a comprehensive and an intense course. I’ve learned a lot from it.
What do you do when you’re not working? Any hobbies or interests?
Um, well I’m getting my M.A. on Linguistics so I’m busy with my studies as well. However, I love music, movies, sports… But actually there is no time.
Here I’d like to thank Jodi Dowell Wieser because of her incredible instruction. Many thanks to Çağatay Gulabioğlu and of course my employer, Mohsen Majidikhah for his support. It was only possible because of these guys.