Walking around Lancaster you will find many fun, locally-oriented and socially responsible coffee shops, most of which will be on the main strips of King and Queen streets. However, if you find yourself downtown and feeling adventurous, walk up one block to Duke Street, the very underrated and under-appreciated part of downtown Lancaster City. Right next to The Black Comb barbershop is a small, cozy coffee shop called Square One.
I am not exaggerating when I say this is the best coffee in Lancaster. This is because of their care for and love of what they sell. They go directly to the farmers, whether it is in Indonesia or South America, and buy their beans directly from them, creating rich and flavorful blends of coffee that are also socially responsible.
Once you walk inside Square One, you will find a small shelf with all of the merchandise you will need to begin your evangelical coffee experience. From bags of their house espresso named “Thaddeus,” to light roasts with nodes of blueberry and honey, each one of their coffees will be an experience in and of itself. There are also all the pour-overs, French presses and mugs one would need to start their own small coffee shop.
At the bar, they offer a wide variety of coffees, teas and other drinks all prepared by their veteran baristas. They also have a small selection of pastries and savory lunch foods from Ric’s Bread and Rafiki’s. You can choose to either sit inside in a very quaint and relaxed sitting area or, if you’re feeling intrepid, go out to their secret garden. The garden has a handful of metal tables with an atmosphere that is reminiscent of old Lancaster, now rusting and covered with vines.
Square One coffee is sold throughout the city, at places like Cafe One Eight. They also roast most of their coffee here in Lancaster. They used to share the same discrete warehouse that is home to Thistle Finch Distillery, but have moved to a new location. Follow them on Instagram and keep up to date to be invited to a party to break in the new production space – Spoon F&M will definitely be there.
There is not a cafe downtown that will let you feel more distant from all your distractions and does as much social good as Square One. One more reason to wander downtown and explore.
Location: 145 N Duke St, Lancaster, PA 17602
Hours of operation: Monday-Friday 7 am-8 pm, Saturday-Sunday 8 am-8 pm