Jin Teahouse offers delectable sweets and teas
From delectable finger foods to immaculately designed desserts, Jin Teahouse has it all. The Chinese-Japanese fusion cafe located in West Covina is well worth visiting for their handcrafted teas, but their lengthy menu will offer something exciting for anyone.
Upon entering the Teahouse, I instantly noticed how compact the seating area was. There were only three tables, positioned so closely to one another that it was hard to move without accidentally bumping into anything. An outdoor patio was also open, but because of the brisk weather, many diners (myself included) opted to stay indoors.
My critical first impression, however, was soon swayed by the tasteful decor and paintings that adorned the walls. The interior was painted a bright crimson that, paired with the mahogany wood counters, gave a vibrant and modern feel to the restaurant. In addition, a small collection of traditional Chinese teapots lined the divider between the kitchen and eating area, which was a creative way to transform an otherwise dull section of the room. The overall effect was an inviting space that would be an ideal place to spend long afternoons.
In addition, I found the service to be exceptional. When I first entered, I was greeted with a welcoming smile from the owner, who was quite friendly and offered suggestions. Her help was much appreciated, as the menu selection was overwhelming, with almost 10 pages total of small sandwiches, slushies and other café staples. In the end, I ordered the Iced Passion Fruit Black Tea and the Strawberry Mango Waffle Ice Cream per the owner’s recommendation. My dad was keen on trying their Chinese dishes to test their authenticity, so it was no surprise when he ordered a Jasmine Green Tea and Spicy Eggplant Rice Bowl.
The drinks arrived in simple glass cups that were smaller than I expected. My passion fruit tea was somewhat underwhelming, as it tasted a little too sweet and artificial. Although the passion fruit flavor was more prominent than in other similar teas I have had in the past, it was relatively overpriced at $4.25. When I tried my dad’s jasmine green tea, on the other hand, I found it to be much more soothing with its earthy aroma and subdued taste. Compared to the first drink, the green tea is definitely worth the $3.99.
About twenty minutes later, the rice bowl and waffles arrived. Although the wait time was rather long, I was impressed with the dishes. The fresh peppers and carrots of the rice bowl stood out, along with an egg bursting with yolk that topped it off. I was quite impressed by the spiciness and bold flavors that came with each bite. However, I was not too enthusiastic about the eggplant and found it to be a bit unappetizing. My dad, on the other hand, had an overall positive verdict. While it did have some Asian influences, he said that it tasted more western than traditionally Chinese but that the savory sauces and spiciness of the peppers balanced each other out nicely.
I tried the waffle ice cream last, the dish I anticipated most. At first glance, I took note of the incredible plating. The strawberry and mango sauces were beautifully drizzled and the fruits were neatly placed on top, so I had high expectations before taking a bite. While the tanginess of the ice cream was refreshing, the waffle was extremely firm and difficult to chew. Its texture could be more comparable to that of a biscuit and had no definitive flavor. I would say that the $6.25 price tag is a little over the top, but considering the large serving size, it’s not too extreme of a splurge.
All things considered, Jin Teahouse is the ideal place to unwind after a long day while enjoying their signature green teas and calming background music. Although the iced drinks are slightly overpriced and the food takes some time to prepare, the cafe’s overall service was one of the best that I’ve experienced. Every other aspect, from service to design, is done with the utmost attention to detail, making Jin Teahouse a must-visit for diners of all tastes.
By Ashley Liang, Staff writer
Photo by Ashley Liang