We use the term “Q Grader” quite often in this blog, and with good reason. Becoming a Q Grader is an honorable and distinct title that requires a lot of hard work and a fantastic set of taste buds. But if you think becoming a Q Grader is the only distinctive coffee certification, then we’re here to inform you that you thought wrong!
It takes a variety of people with different skill sets to get our ultra-premium coffee from the farm to your cup. In order to find, roast and serve the best coffee in the world, we can’t just have any old Joe grading, roasting or cupping it. Our staff needs proper training and certification. What are those certifications and what do they do? We’re here to explain the 3 coffee certifications you may not have heard of.
The Roasters Guild Certification is an official trade guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). This certification is comprised of specialty coffee roasters who are dedicated to the craft of roasting quality coffee and who view quality as the principle standard for success. The guild offers two certification levels with a master’s program currently in development.
2. Certified cupper
Also referred to as a Certified Taster Certificate (CTC), the certified cupper certification is similar to a Q Grader certification. Designed to complement the Quality Coffee Institute’s Q Grader certification, it allows for more inclusion of coffee professionals and is a less strenuous certification process. CTC is facilitated by the SCAA.
3. Barista Guild Certification
Another certification program facilitated through the SCAA, the Barista Guild of America (BGA) certification program was designed to allow baristas of all kinds to further their careers and hone their craft. Comprised of two certification levels (six credits per level), the BGA certification program is the elite level of certification available in the industry. The BGA certification program is the elite level of certification available in the industry.
These are just a few of the different certifications available to coffee industry professionals here in America. These certifications are backed by the SCAA. But the SCAA isn’t the only coffee organization in existence. There are 18 Specialty Coffee Associations all over the world in both consuming and producing countries. Coffee consuming countries with associations include the United States, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia (AustralAsia) and Korea. Associations in coffee producing and consuming countries include Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, East Africa, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Panama, and Southern Africa.
With so many different organizations, who is in charge? No one! There is no major Specialty Coffee Association that dictates how the industry should be run. In fact, all of the Specialty Coffee Associations communicate with one another and only dictate what goes on for their own country.
The specialty coffee industry isn’t a “take my word for it” industry. It is a billion dollar industry that relies on highly trained and certified professionals. Being certified by the SCA doesn’t just mean that you love coffee; it means that you are committed to providing the finest, highest quality coffee imaginable. And that’s what we’re all about!
Do you have what it takes to make it in the coffee industry? Start by taking a tour!