Review: Square One Coffee in Lancaster City, PA – Roasting for the Future

Josh and Jessica Steffy are the owners of a small coffee shop in the Eastern section of Lancaster City, Pennsylvania. As missionary leaders for YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in Scotland, they traveled all over and got to sample some of the finest coffees on earth. For them, coffee creates grounds to congregate despite language and cultural barriers. When an opportunity presented itself to purchase Square One Coffee in 2007, the Steffys felt equipped to handle the day to day operations of retail and roasting.The Steffys originally had a coffee market stand that helped to guide them in the process of running a successful coffee business, and Josh’s experience working for Starbucks also helped them learn what to do, and what not to do. They both developed a deep passion for the art and taste of coffee, and Josh was excited to begin a new venture and reformulate the roasting process of Square One Coffee from its’ original owner.

Square One is constantly networking with coffee professionals and their customers to not only exceed the needs of their customers, but also to be innovative within the business. Josh is excited to explore new opportunities within roasting techniques and serving coffee that will expand what we know as a ‘coffee shop.’

While Square One isn’t against expansion, they admit that they secretly hope to stay small and intimate and keep the experience of coffee extraordinary. For Josh, the in-house roaster and owner, it is brewed within himself to roast the perfect bean. Square One serves only organic, fair trade coffee and is deeply passionate about maintaining that quality. However, with the changes in politics from the countries where they purchase their beans, it is becoming increasingly harder to support their favorite farms.

Steffy admits that he hates being compared to other coffee shops within the city, and I have to agree. Square One is a unique place. Their focus is coffee, not food, not atmosphere, but strictly, coffee. While they do offer some food such as muffins and pre-made wraps, Steffy would love to eliminate these fluffs and be strictly about the brew. He sees a future where fine coffee will be viewed and served like a fine wine, not just in disposable cups in a quick in-and-out atmosphere.

For their specialty drinks, Square One makes homemade caramel sauce and chai. They also brew fresh pots hourly, so the coffee will always be fresh, and never oxidized or ruined. The Steffys are adamant, if not a bit crazy, about their love of coffee. They cup their coffee daily to ensure quality control and stand behind their roasting techniques.

Square One is sold in 12 ounce bags, and has now expanded beyond their Lancaster store and into two Whole Foods markets. They are excited about the expansion of their wholesale business, but continue to work to remain small and intimate, yet they are excited about the growth.

You can find Square One Coffee at 145 North Duke Street in Lancaster, Pa. Visit or you can follow them on Twitter as @SquareOneCoffee for up to date information on their latest roasts.

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