Article By Stephen Robinson
Southeast Gate of Qu Jiang Cheng Shi Hua Yuan.
11:00am – 8:30pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费:36RMB
Boutique coffee shops have become something of a trend in Xi’an, with a great number of them popping up in the downtown and Gaoxin areas of the city. Qujiang, however, had not seen many smaller shops, being mostly dominated by chain coffee shops that offer the same sterile experience each time you enter their doors.
Seeing the gap in the market, the owner of Jill Coffee decided to set up shop in the heart of Qujiang. Not far south of the Qujiang Chi Xi subway stop, this shop might be hard to find when you first pass by, as the median between the sidewalk and the building obscures it a little bit, but it is a place that you don’t want to miss because they really love their coffee here.
The owner originally comes from Yunnan, and had a strong desire to showcase the coffee beans of his home province, an underappreciated resource. The shop currently has fifteen different varieties of beans, some from Yunnan and some from elsewhere, and the owner has earned certifications for selecting and preparing coffee. This is evident by the care and process that goes into each of the drinks that he prepares.
The first drink that arrived was a pour over coffee that used Columbian beans. This was served with two small glasses, one empty and one filled with ice, with a piece of candied orange peel skewered on top. The owner explained that this type of coffee has orange peel notes, so they serve the candied orange peel alongside in order to help elevate these flavors. The brew itself was light and clear, a tell-tale sign of a pour over coffee. The taste was also light, with little bitterness and served at a temperature that was just right for drinking, not too hot or cold. When poured over ice, the coffee took on a different dimension, with some of the darker notes from the coffee coming out from the cold.
The next drink was a cold brew made with a Papua New Guinea strain of beans. Light and a little peppery, this cold brew was again served with two glasses, one containing a large, clear ice ball. It was a different approach, but once again the beans were allowed to shine through without being overpowered. After this came a dirty coffee, which is a shot of espresso pulled over a glass of cream. This rich and indulgent drink is very thick, and not sweet at all, which lets you taste a different dimension to the coffee.
They also have a variety of different baked goods, including a rich baked cheesecake. If you miss the heavier cheesecakes of the western world, then you might want to come to Jill just for that. Unlike the light and airy Japanese-style cheesecakes that are commonly sold here, this cheesecake is dense, delicious, and not overly sweet. If you want something more breakfast styled, this café is home to one of the best homemade croissants that I’ve had in China. The pastry is light and flaky, and it is so buttery that it just melts in your mouth, with the layers remaining distinct and intact instead of collapsing in on each other as is too often the case. This one is perfect and pairs well with any of their coffees.
In addition to the coffee and bakery items that are on offer, the store also offers all of their coffee beans for sale at a fairly reasonable price 100g of well-sourced beans will run you about 35RMB, which will allow you to try several different varieties easily. They also sell coffee cherry tea, the dried fruit of the coffee cherry, which has taken off globally, and locally sourced honey, perhaps to go with your delicious croissant. They also sell Huskee cups that they import themselves. Huskee is a brand of reusable designer coffee cups that look fashionable and are made from coffee production byproducts.
If you live in Qujiang, and you are looking for a coffee shop that is not a chain store, but you still care about the quality of your coffee, then Jill Coffee is the right place for you. Coffees start at 20RMB for a standard Americano and go up from there, depending on the style and bean variety that you want to try. A great place for a quiet afternoon to read or do some work. They are open from 11AM to 9PM daily and are closed on Tuesdays.
Stephen Robinson is the editor-in-chief at xianease and would love to get your thoughts on everything we are doing. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org