JJ Cutbirth took a deliberate and methodical approach to get into coffee roasting with Leap Coffee in Carlsbad. Four years ago, he made the decision to move on from his 13-year career in medical real estate development. “I had that mini epiphany,” he recalls, asking himself, What am I going to do with my life?” He realized, “It’s not going to be medical real estate.”

Cutbirth tendered notice, but worked another three years completing development projects while he pursued coffee on the side. Cutbirth joined the Specialty Coffee Association and began attending the trade organization’s events. He got involved in the Roaster’s Guild, the Barista Guild, took online courses, and went to Portland to attend the American Barista & Coffee School. Read the full story here.

When he bought a custom-built Diedrich Roaster, Cutbirth spent four days with the manufacturer learning the ins and outs of the machine and the thermodynamic principles behind its design.