Q & A Jesse Crouse
Tipico’s nontypical founder
Jesse Crouse opened Tipico Coffee in 2015.
Photos by Eric Frick
Name: Jesse Crouse
Title: Co-Founder, Tipico Coffee
Number of years in the industry: 13
To say Jesse Crouse lives and breathes coffee might be an understatement. “There’s nothing I look forward to more every day than that first cup of hot coffee in the morning,” he says. After bean-fueled stints in Ithaca and Santa Cruz, California, Crouse, who is originally from Chicago, decided to put down roots in his wife’s hometown and opened Tipico Coffee at 128 Fargo Avenue in Buffalo in 2015.
Its name is derived from the Latin American term “comida tipica,” which Crouse heard native speakers use in reference to their regional fare while he was traveling to coffee farms for work years ago. Shortened to “tipica,” it means “typical food,” and Crouse was struck by the simplicity and beauty of calling our eating experience “typical.”
A haven for both regulars and walk-ins, Tipico boasts a modest but effective menu—perfect for a commuter crowd—that includes sandwiches, baked goods and specialty toasts (a 2015 online article has Crouse musing that Tipico may be the first eatery in the city to serve the now ubiquitous avocado toast).
Crouse lives in Buffalo with his wife, Kristen, and their children, Avery and Malin.
What makes a good cup of coffee?
Balance. Sweetness. Specialty coffee has more sugar content due to the longer maturation time during growing. Want better tasting coffee? Buy better beans!
Why the Lower West Side?
Because it’s an amazing community of people, and I think that we were best suited to open in a destination place first.
What should every good barista know?
Great customer service. Barista skills can follow, but first try to make every interaction feel natural.
Favorite non-coffee beverage:
That IPA from Community Beer Works
What’s your favorite non-coffee item on Tipico’s menu?
Egg and cheese sandwich. Sounds unassuming, but it is a real killer sandwich.
Favorite Buffalo restaurant?
I love a lot of them, but some of my favorites are Black Sheep, Dobutsu, Lloyd, and Frank. And anything Ed Forster cooks.
What does WNY’s coffee scene need right now?
More real estate on the main drags of the city.
What were your first impressions of Buffalo?
I’ve been visiting my in-laws for about twelve years now, and was always struck by the comfort food: beef on ’weck, wings, pizza. I love food, so this always made me happy.
Food you’ll never say no to:
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Pro basketball player.
How do you unwind?
Some fun things to get more great coffee into more hands throughout the area!
Number one coffee making at home:
Don’t ruin the ritual. If you find the thought of grinding or weighing or manually brewing cumbersome or daunting or stressful, then avoid it! Make sure you’re enjoying the process and outcome every day.