Traditionally, there were coffee people and tea people. Now there?s a new crossover caffeine craze: the dirty chai latte, an espresso-and-chai-tea fusion that tastes like a coffee milkshake. The flavor is indeed memorable, with spicy undercurrents of cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper sweetening up the espresso. The caffeine high, meanwhile, is subtle; for something stronger, you?ll want to order it doppio.
But while baristas across town serve the drink hot or iced, it?s not on any menu we?ve seen, so remember to ask for it by name.
At Starbucks, it?s made from Tazo Chai Tea Latte concentrate and Espresso Roast (grande, $4.50). Intelligentsia combines its house chai concentrate with Black Cat Project espresso ($5.75). At Röckenwagner Bakery/Café on the Westside, Big Train chai concentrate is mixed with Julius Meinl Vienna Roast espresso ($6). There?s even a vegan option at Real Food Daily ($9), in which Trinidad Coffee Co. espresso, loose-leaf Zhena?s Gypsy Tea and soy or almond milk happily cohabitate.
Think of the drink as the rosé of the caffeine set--an unexpected option when you?re feeling indecisive.