Westrock Coffee’s Q Arabica Venue in Little Rock, Arkansas becomes one of only five such accredited facilities in the US after attaining certification by the Coffee Quality Institute and will enable the business to further scale quality control as it increases coffee production in the US
Westrock Coffee currently employs more than 30 Q graders around the world | Photo credit: Rene Porter
Westrock Coffee has announced that its new coffee quality lab in Little Rock, Arkansas has been certified by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). The certification makes the 80,000sq ft facility one of only five professional-level certified Q Arabica Venues in the US and will enable Westrock Coffee to further scale quality control as it increases coffee production in the US.
The Little Rock facility is one of eight global manufacturing facilities Westrock Coffee operates to produce more than 20 million cups of coffee every day.
“As we continue to expand our product set and the volume of coffee we bring into our facilities, it is increasingly important that we ensure that the quality we purchase from producing countries meets the needs of our customers,” said Kyle Newkirk, EVP of Global Innovation and Insights, Westrock Coffee.
“By adding a Q Venue to our facility, we are able to support the coffee industry as a whole by offering anyone in the industry the opportunity to educate themselves and calibrate with other Q Graders around the world, creating consistency from origin to end product,” Newkirk added.
Q graders go through a rigorous training process administered by the CQI and are the only coffee professionals authorised to quality score coffee. Westrock Coffee currently employs more than 30 Q graders around the world. According to the Coffee Quality Institute there are 6,515 certified Q graders globally and just 517 in mainland USA.
The certification of Little Rock’s new Q Arabica Venue comes shortly after Westrock Coffee announced it would go public in a deal that values the company at around $1.1bn
. The deal is partly intended to accelerate the build-out of the largest roasting to ready-to-drink facility in the US – a 524,000sq ft facility
in Conway, Akansas.
Arkansas-based Westrock is one of the largest commercial coffee roasters in the US. In February 2020, Westrock Coffee Company acquired
S&D Coffee & Tea for $405m. The agreement gave the two US coffee roasters a combined capacity to package nearly 100,000 tons of coffee annually.