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Arabian Qahwah Grader

My name is Abdulmajeed Althiban from Saudi Arabia, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering. I worked in the banking field for 4 years. I have some hobbies other than coffee, I like photography just like anyone else, maybe more! I have a strong passion for culinary arts and baking which has pulled me from the banking career.

My journey in coffee has been interesting. For me it was a part of my passion in culinary art and baking. I was not drawn to it because I am a big coffee drinker, rather I was interested in it in terms of flavor and notes. I used to order coffee from many roasters around the world looking always for something new to learn from their origin choices or style of roasting. In fact, I traveled a lot searching for the perfect cup.

Why the Q Grader course, you may then ask? I always wanted to present food products that have excellent qualities. I also wanted those products to reflect my experience and knowledge. When I took my first baking course in Germany I decided to quit my job and start this journey. I got inspired by many famous chefs and how they perfect their dishes. In fact, that made me appreciate what I’m doing more. When I travel somewhere I try to search ahead for bakeries, coffee shops, and restaurants; and there was always something I could learn. The same thing happened with coffee, I was considering coffee to be part of my business so I started paying more attention to it. When I moved to the U.S. four years ago, I was so excited to visit many famous coffee shops and try their coffee; to be honest some of them were disappointing. I also joined many gatherings of “coffee hobbyist” but nothing was outstanding, which made ask many of questions. But I kept looking for something new.

As we know coffee has different tastes depending on the origin, roasting style and preparation. In fact, everyone has their own way to describe a cup of coffee but I always had doubts about the coffee I drink and how to describe it. I know I can easily describe the taste of a complicated sourdough bread and figure out whether there was a problem in the process of fermentation, baking or other reasons yet with coffee it was somehow vague. I wanted to have a better understanding of what to look for when grading or evaluating coffee. I’ve attended cupping sessions and many times we agreed on some samples that taste the best but I didn’t know how to use the cupping form properly. I wanted to have a professional background that helps me present coffee to people.  I read about Q courses and I thought this  is what I’m looking for!

Utake Coffee lab seemed like the best place for me to take the course. I met my Q Instructor Mbula Musau in Seattle Washington where she was conducting a cupping session that I had attended at SCA. We talked a lot about the Kenyan coffee she was presenting and its attributes, and I decided I would take the Q Grader course at origin. I chose Utake Coffee Lab for many reasons, not only is it an SCA Premier training Campus at Origin but  the instructor’s knowledge and experience was impressive as the hall was parked with attractive interested buyers and coffee enthusiasts. Also, Kenya is one of the best coffee regions that I always wanted to visit.

Passing the course at first attempt did many things for me, but most of all assured me that I was on the right track! It is a great achievement for me and definitely has a huge impact on my confidence and experience.

A lot has changed since I completed the course. I’m motivated to apply what I’ve learned into my business . The future is bright… I think this is the beginning and i still have a long journey and look forward to learning more in this field.

For anyone who wants to take the Q Grader course, I can tell them that it is a unique experience, it is the most hectic 6-day course yet the learning is immense even if you don’t pass at first attempt. There is always another chance. Most answers reveal themselves through doing, not thinking. So give it a shot.


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