Q Grader's Exam Prep

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Q Grader's Exam Prep

Postby Rob Larson on Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:51 am

What are the best exercises to practice when preparing for the exam? I've been doing lots of triangulations, and just ordered the aroma kit. Just looking for some advice. Thanks!

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Re: Q Grader's Exam Prep

Postby Yara Tucek on Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:11 am

Hi Rob,

what worked for us:

1. Le Nez aroma kit - practice a lot (although it doesnt help much because the kits we used during the exams were crazy different in intensities from ours)

2. triangulations - every day, after each cupping we just switched off the light and mixed few coffees

3. organic acids (surprisingly the most difficult test for me, since the intensities were too high and my mouth was shot after tasting the first sample of acetic acid)

4. play with the sour, sweet, salt combinations (hard to practice though), some info about the ratios used is in Ted Lingle´s Cupping book (the test is different now)

Good luck!
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Re: Q Grader's Exam Prep

Postby Marty G Curtis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:10 pm

Here is a link for the SCAA/QGARDER cousre

these class need to be done in a certifed lab and with an SCAA certifed instructor that teach both class.
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Re: Q Grader's Exam Prep

Postby nick on Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:26 am

Exam prep:
Olfactory tests:
Get the full Le Nez du Cafe kit and learn to correlate the smells. The aroma tests are grouped by "Enzymatic, Sugar Browning, and Dry Distillation" like the SCAA Flavor wheel (doesn't match-up completely), plus "Aromatic Taint" from the other wheel. Put extra focus on differentiating the ones that are similar, like vanilla and caramel, medicinal and rubber, for instance.
Green Grading: Get the SCAA defect book and/or poster and get to know them, and the equivalents.
Sensory Skills Test: The #1 thing to know about the Sensory Skills Test: it's sort of inadvertently a trick question. Parts I and II are pretty easy. If you flunk those, you're gonna have a tough time ever passing. Part III is tricky. 2 and 3 part solutions are mixed up, and you have to identify the components (from salt, sweet, sour) AND the strength (Salt-1, Sweet-2, Sour-2).
The "trick" is that there are eight solutions, four 2-parters and four 3-parters. That's all fine.
The PROBLEM is that what most instructors won't or don't tell you, and that the materials don't explain, is that if you have a 2-part mixture, each component is now HALF the strength it was before. If Salt-1 is 1.0-grams-per-liter, and you dilute it with one part of Sweet 2 solution, the resulting solution is now 0.5-grams-per-liter... cuz the other half is the Sweet solution.
THEN, for THREE-PART solutions, each component is diluted by 66.6%. The 1.0 g/L Salt-1 is now 0.33 g/L. In other words, a "Salt-2" will taste WEAKER in a 3-part solution, than in a 2-part solution.
The instructions DO tell you to FIRST, separate the solutions into two-part and three-parters, and then analyze the components. However, if you don't realize the dilution is happening (which, frankly NOBODY does), then you're going to find it much more difficult.
I've failed the SST a couple times, and I've passed it a couple of times. When I realized this stuff I just shared with you, I subsequently passed at a much higher level than I ever have before.

As for the rest of the Q exam... get to know the SCAA Cupping Form (maybe pick up one of the cupping handbooks from SCAA). Aside from that, there's not a lot of prep that will be particularly helpful.

Good luck!
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