Meet Cabot’s Cheese Graders

At Cabot, we’re celebrating our upcoming Centennial with the release of 5 Year Cheddar. We don’t mind saying we think it will be the best cheddar you ever eat—full of sublime, complex flavors that will linger in your memory long after you taste it.

Now, you may be thinking, I already know Cabot makes great cheddar. What makes THIS one so special?

To answer that question, we’d like to introduce our Cheese Graders. For the past five years, they’ve expertly tended our 5 Year Cheddar (and all our cheeses), and they deserve much of the credit for this major—and majorly delicious—milestone in cheesemaking.

Not all cheese companies employ a team of cheese graders, and with the amount of cheese Cabot produces, the grading process is not exactly a quick one. But having our cheese graders interact with every batch of cheese is how we’ve ensured award-winning quality for generations. Cabot simply wouldn’t be Cabot without our cheese graders.

Cheese Graders: Ted Brown, Jeff Richards, Gina Accorsi, and Adam Huestis

So…what exactly do cheese graders DO? Glad you asked.

Working in 42-degree cheese storage facilities, our cheese graders taste, test, think, and grade Cabot cheeses—practicing a craft that is equal parts art and science.

They begin with metal devices called triers, which are inserted deep into massive blocks of cheese to extract tube-shaped “core samples.”

They feel the cheese for texture. They smell it. They look at its color. They taste it. Everything about the cheese matters. According to new cheese grader Gina Accorsi, who is learning the craft from veteran Cabot graders Ted Brown, Adam Huestis and Jeff Richards, “even the residue on the trier and how shiny that piece of cheese is—it all tells you about how it’s doing.”

The graders take detailed records so that quality stays consistent, but they rely just as much on memory and intuition, considering levels of sharpness, creaminess, nuttiness, and other flavor attributes—identifying what Cabot variety each batch will eventually become.

You see, when a cheese is first made, its future is still uncertain. Using decades of collective experience, Cabot’s cheese graders determine which cheeses will best be enjoyed smooth and creamy, such as Monterey Jack or Muenster, and which have the potential to be aged into bold, robust cheddars like our Seriously Sharp, or even into a premium cheddar like our 5 Year.

Do the Cheese Graders really get to taste every Cabot cheese?

Our graders travel between Cabot’s cheese storage facilities and taste dozens of cheeses each day. And though Cabot produces hundreds of thousands of pounds of cheese each year, yes, our cheese graders taste a sample from every batch. One can only imagine all those delicious calories! However, like a wine taster who couldn’t possibly consume all the wine they taste, our graders don’t eat most of the cheese they grade.

Over the past five years, our cheese graders have been regularly tasting our 5 Year cheddar, making sure its flavor stays bold but balanced, so that our farmers, friends, and loyal customers can enjoy a unique tasting experience. Gina Accorsi believes the 5-year cheddar is truly one-of-a-kind and worthy of the Centennial celebration. “It was cultivated with a lot of care and attention. It’s complex, with a lot of different flavors, but still balanced.”

The newest member of the Cheese Grading team – Gina Accorsi

Preserving and Furthering a Century of Commitment

Like everyone who works for Cabot, our cheese graders take enormous pride in helping maintain and further the legacy our farmers have built over the past century. As Gina says, graders get to “ensure that what people are going to taste represents the hard work that everybody puts into all of the cheese. I am excited for people to try our 5 Year Cheddar because it embodies what we try to achieve every time.”

Comments (18)

Marilyn Frender | February 28, 2019 | 12:49pm

Thank you…excellent…

Erin Lee | February 28, 2019 | 3:56pm

This would literally be my 10 year old son’s dream job. He’s a cheese fiend. We took him up to your area to go on a certain ice cream company’s tour and to go on your tour. He declared that visiting you was way better because he learned more and you have better samples. I actually ordered a brick of the 5 year cheddar as a surprise for him and it came a couple of days ago. He couldn’t wait to try it after school. It definitely got his seal of approval. He even asked if he could have some for breakfast the next morning. 🙂

    Rachael | March 01, 2019 | 12:15pm

    What a sweet story! We love hearing this. Thank you so much for sharing! Your 10 year old has seriously good taste 🙂 ~Rachael

Paul Garver | February 28, 2019 | 4:30pm

OK Danielle,
The 5 year cheddar has got my interest up. When will it be released and how? Will those of us in the fringes of “Cabot Country” (St Louis) be able to find it in our grocery stores ot should we mail order? Also, is this a one-shot product or the introduction of a new, ongoing product?
Please tell me more,
Paul Garver

Susan | February 28, 2019 | 4:35pm

Is it lactose free?

    Rachael | March 01, 2019 | 12:21pm

    Yes Susan, it is lactose-free! ~Rachael

Brian Warner | February 28, 2019 | 5:44pm

Looking forward to your 5 Year cheddar. Only question is, when and where will it be available? Can we sign up for notification by email? I remember when our local butchers would have a wheel of cheddar coated in black wax on their counter with it’s age proudly posted. If I recall correctly, some were 10 or 20 years old and as sharp as a razor! Of course I’m probably giving away my age a bit as this was 60 plus years ago. RIP Sam Faldo, a legendary butcher with his shop in New Scotland, NY. (Feel free to use my name!)

Kathe havkrtt | February 28, 2019 | 6:33pm

Always confused by names and what hey mean …would to see aged time on cheese

    Rachael | March 01, 2019 | 12:39pm

    Thanks for your feedback! we’re actually hoping to have a sharpness scale developed soon to help consumers understand which Cabot cheeses are sharper than others! Generally, the longer aged, the sharper it will be. For reference some of our 8 ounce dairy bars in order of least sharp to sharpest: Mild, Medium, Vermont Sharp, Extra Sharp, Seriously Sharp. Hope this helps! ~Rachael

M.E. Altieri | February 28, 2019 | 8:59pm

OH, my GOD. FIVE-YEAR Cheddar? Sign me up! It sounds WONderful! <3 Where can I buy it in New York State?

Kathy Cummings | March 01, 2019 | 9:24am

Sounds wonderful. I would love to try some. I really enjoy the other cheese. I can only find one type here in southeast Kansas and that is the extra sharp white cheddar. I savor it when eating it.

Nancy A Wood | March 01, 2019 | 5:32pm

I love your cheddars and am looking forward to trying both the 5-year and 4-year cheeses.

Dianne Phillips | March 08, 2019 | 2:31pm

I really love ur cheese so much. Thank you

Stan DiGrumoli | July 10, 2019 | 6:15am

Hmmm… I was under the impression that Cabot Cheddar flavor more fully develops at room temperature, so I’m surprised to read that you sample the cheese at refrigerator temperature. Yeah, it’s hard to wait, but well worth it.
PS: The Alpine Cheddar is my new favorite. Outstanding!!!

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