Learn About Cheese Grading

Once our cheese is made, it needs time to mature. The length of time a cheese is allowed to mature influences its taste and functional characteristics so it’s important to get this right.

As the cheese matures, it needs to be tested regularly to make sure it reaches the desired flavour and functionality. This testing is called grading and it is carried out by our expertly trained in-house graders who boast decades of experience in this area.

Maturity Scale

At Carbery, no cheese is released without passing multiple grading standards. The flavour and taste of each type of cheese are both distinct and unique, and it takes time, experience and expertise to get it right.

The cheese is tasted regularly to ensure that it is maturing to its full potential. Mild cheddar matures between three to six months, reduced fat cheese takes a year, while the maturing process for vintage cheddar can take up to 3 years.

The level of maturity changes depending on their end use. For slicing, for example, a younger cheese would be most appropriate but for a stronger flavour a more mature cheese works best. If a customer requires a flavourful cheese that slices well, then the maturation process will require a skilled balancing act from our expert cheese-graders.

Maturity Scale Maturity Scale cheese-grading-image-mobile

Grading Steps


Cheesegradingvisual-03 Cheesegradingvisual-03 Cheesegradingvisual-03

The first part of grading is a visual check to ensure that the cheese appearance is the correct colour.


dairy-touch dairy-touch dairy-touch

A cheese iron or trier is inserted into the cheese and turned to create a core.

This gives us a very good indication as to the body and texture of the cheese.


Grading 3 250x250px Grading 3 250x250px Grading 3 250x250px

The core is removed from the cheese and a smell test is undertaken to check the balance of aromas.

The back of the iron is also checked for any smearing of fat or moisture, which helps define the age of the cheese.


Grading 4 250x250px Grading 4 250x250px Grading 4 250x250px

The cheddar is kneaded down to warm the cheese, which helps to emphasise the flavours and aromas.

The grader then tastes the cheese to ensure it matches the customer’s desired flavour profile.


Watch our Cheese Grading video

Contact Us

When you partner with us you have access to our experts in cheese research and development, along with experienced cheese makers and graders, culinary experts and marketing support to help accelerate your product development process and ensure a successful launch.

Linda Tanner Cheese Research and Development Manager
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.