You can find dirty chai in almost every trendy coffee shop, but now you can also easily make it yourself at home.
A dirty chai is a combination of black tea and coffee. In most cases when you order a dirty chai you will be given a dirty chai latte, which is a combination of black tea, espresso, and steamed milk.
Once the liquids are combined, typically cinnamon is sprinkled on top to give the brew more of a flavor. There is no one specific recipe for dirty chai and the ingredients can differ in different coffee shops and regions. Often other flavors such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, or black pepper are added to the mixture for an additional taste.
THE HISTORY OF DIRTY CHAI
To understand dirty chai, we first need to learn a bit more about chai tea. Also known as Masala Chai, or spiced tea, this ancient Indian tea mix was first found in many royalty households and used as an herbal medicine. The word "chai" actually means in Hindi "tea," which surprisingly enough was derived from the word "cha," the Chinese word for "tea."
In the 1830s, the Brits were concerned about the Chinese monopoly on worldwide tea, which constituted most of its trade. They then began to cultivate tea on their plantations (India and Sri Lanka being the main ones), so that by 1900 only 10% of the tea consumed in Great Britain was from China, while 50% from Indian 30% from present-day Sri Lanka. The growing popularity of Indian chai, increase the popularity of the chai tea mix in the West as well.
The creation of the dirty chai is essentially a recent establishment, made by coffee shops and cafes. As the Masala Chai consumption was rising, new ways to change the drink were constantly being born. Chai tea lattes and dirty chais soon became the most common variations of this great drink.
Chai Tea vs. Dirty Chai Tea
A chai tea latte combines the chai tea mix (or concentrated tea) with steamed or simmer milk, and a blend of spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Dirty chai includes the same ingredients as chai latte with an espresso shot (or a double espresso shot).
Good to know!
‘Dirty’ refers to the hidden shot of espresso that is found in the mug.
Dirty chais can be made either hot or cold.
Cold versions can be either iced (ice cubes added) or blended (blended with whipped cream until smooth).
No dirty chai on the menu? No problem! Just ask for a chai latte with a shot of espresso added.
Double dirty chai = two shots of espresso instead of the usual one.
Dirty chais can be made into foods as well (such as pancakes, muffins, and cupcakes).
The most common dirty chai beverage is a dirty chai latte.
Other names for a dirty chai include: Red Eye Chai, Tough Guy Chai, Espresso Chai.
Make your dirty chai instantly
The purpose of using instant coffee is to make the drink more accessible as Espresso is not something that is found in most homes. By using instant coffee you can still achieve that tea-coffee-milk ratio while using the ingredients that you find in your pantry. Combining the spices with instant coffee AND tea powder (aka instant tea) will make the drink even faster and easier.
Ingredients for iced dirty chai
- 1/8 Waka Black Instant Tea
- 1-2 tsp Waka Instant Coffee
- 1/3 cup of milk (or milk substitute)
- Cinnamon stick and powder
- Sugar and cinnamon to taste
- Pour instant coffee and tea powder into a mug. Add a little bit of hot water first until fully dissolved, and top with half a cup of cold water. Stir for a few seconds.
- Add ice as desired and fill the rest of the mug with milk.
- Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon on top for taste.
- Insert whole cinnamon stick for a greater cinnamon flavor and enjoy!
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