Sunday, January 23, 2011

CC: Square One Coffee

Subject: Square One Coffee
Location visited: Lancaster, PA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

*UPDATE 02/15/17*
In combing through old posts, I realized that I had not updated this coffee empire since 2011. They have risen greatly in quality and influence, and can be found in numerous locations. The below review does indeed represent an anomaly and Square One ranks amongst the best shops.
---end update---

Out in the area of Lancaster, the Amish reside, smorgasbords thrive (like here, there or here) and a lot of interesting sights remain overlooked (ever been to Dutch Wonderland?). Of all the places I have been to in the Philadelphia region over the years, Lancaster remains as a place that continues to surprise me.

My latest marvel was that in my absence of some years, it seems Lancaster got a bit of a coffee scene. In the past, of the two cafes I had visited in Lancaster, one was fairly mediocre and the other was truly odd (it consisted of one room with a lady serving coffee out of a home coffee maker who considered your blood type before taking your order). But now, it seems that there are places of repute.

On a nice night amidst a hopping crowd, I made landing at my first discovery, a place called Square One Coffee. A roaster and cafe housed in a brick building downtown, the crowd seemed to speak for itself. The innards of the cafe delighted my senses with a well-laid flow of furniture and design, including old wood floors, lots of earth tones and various areas to dine (including an exterior courtyard).

Of their coffees, I sampled their house blend via drip and had an espresso (in which used their espresso blend). The drip produced a strong cup, with notes of heavy cocoa, cherry, shredded wheat and a tinge of spinach all amidst a heavy body. While I didn't find the potency to my liking, I felt the flavors favorable (probably more so if toned down). The espresso, pulled short with a thin crema, held notes of sugar, orange, milk chocolate, lemon rind, pepper and a little smokiness. I also thought my shots were tasty though I felt that the pull was a bit off. The tea is free leaf.

Regrettably, it seems I came on a night where the bustling crowds overwhelmed or where weary staff were at the helm (or something like that). Either way, I will definitely be stopping back as I felt that my experience was not par for their course (alas the nature of rating a single experience). When in town, give Square One a solid visit.


Marieta said...

Do not treat coffee shops like fast food chains. Coffee shop is a place where to relax and a divinity to some.

Betty Smart said...

I like your reviewing style! I'm still a newbie to the coffee tasting experience and finding the right words to describe all the flavors is not easy! I try to write my own coffee shop reviews too- Not easy! Anyways- good job!

Anonymous said...

We LOVE Square One, they are our roasters. My sister and I own an almost year old coffee lounge (Sixty-Six Beans) in Charlotte Hall, MD. It's a small town in Southern Maryland.

Unknown said...

Love your opinion here and wanted to see if you trained your palate. Have you tried JOE coffee roasters in NY?