Article By Mike Leaner
Shun Cheng Xiang, Xia Ma Ling 2 Hao Yuan.
(029) 8751 5185
1:00pm – 11:00pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 39 RMB
PROS: Great atmosphere, great coffee, affordable prices, now smoke-free
CONS: If you come hungry, you’re probably going to stay hungry
Iusually try to remain impartial in my reviewing, so as to cultivate your trust in me, Mike Leaner, the greatest restaurant and bar reviewer China has ever seen. But this month, they asked me to recommend a place that I liked, so here it is, my favorite coffee shop in Xi’an: This is Lijiang.
Not to be confused with its sister bar nearby South Gate, This is Lijiang is just west of Heping Gate, right inside the city walls. It can’t be missed, the only storefront on the entire block that has trees and wood paneling. Once inside, it’s like you’ve been transported to a different place entirely, full of authentic wooden furniture and a warm, cozy, quiet atmosphere. It’s where I go when I need to get something done, or when I need the sounds and screeches of Xi’an to be quiet.
The fact that the coffee is good makes it even better. The owner’s affection and attention for his craft is infectious, as he’s always experimenting with better ways to make a great cup of coffee. I’m unpretentious about coffee in general, content to slug down a burnt black coffee, but time spent in This is Lijiang has made me appreciate the finer points of coffee, especially its potential for more complex taste profiles. They’ve got all the iterations of coffee you’d want, like lattes and cappuccinos, but I always prefer a quick shot of espresso. Whatever your pick is, you can bet it will be good. There’s not a lot of food to speak of, but there are small little treats that will come with your order. Some might be a bit underwhelmed by this fact, but I appreciate the focus on good coffee.
I’ve been sent out to a lot of coffee shops by Xianease Magazine, and a lot of them are trying to be everything: massive menus and lots of bustle. No matter how good those places might be, I always end up wishing I was at This is Lijiang instead. They’re an example of how a little attention to detail can bring great results, and should be on your radar if you want a quiet place to hunker down and work, or a place to relax after a manic day downtown.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at email@example.com