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Dirty Chai Definition

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An image of a dirty chai sign at Malaprops book store in Asheville, NC.

Dirty Chai is a popular coffeeshop drink. Here, a Dirty Chai variation (a 'Russian Sawmill,' or a Dirty Chai made with a pinch of cayenne pepper) is advertised outside Malaprops Book Store in Asheville, NC.

Lindsey Goodwin
Definition: Dirty Chai is a popular coffeeshop drink. It's an espresso drink made of a shot of espresso mixed into a 'chai tea' (or masala chai). It's usually made with a chai concentrate, steamed milk and a single shot of espresso.

Although it isn't on the Starbucks coffee menu, you can order a dirty chai at Starbucks by asking to have a shot of espresso added to your chai. You can also make it a "double dirty chai" by asking for two shots of espresso.

Dirty Chai is one of the many ways in which chai spices are used as flavors in other edibles, like chai frosting or chai smoothies.

Other examples of drinks that combine coffee and tea include Hong Kong's Yuanyang Coffee-Tea and About.com's award-winning Chai-Coffee Cocktail.

A similar concept to the idea of chai as a flavor is the 'mocha' flavor profile, which originated in mocha lattes and has since spread to various types of unexpected mocha recipes such as mocha cake.

It is arguable that the popularity of Dirty Chai is due in part to its provocative name and the general association of coffee and espresso with social deviance.

To make your own dirty chais, check out these Dirty Chai Latte Recipes.
Also Known As: Espresso Chai, Java Chai, Red Eye Chai, Chai Charger, Tough Guy Chai

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