If you’ve never tried one, a dirty chai is a chai latte mixed with a shot of espresso. They’re one of my favorite coffee drinks to get on campus, so I set out to rank both the hot and cold dirty chai options around campus at four different locations.

  1. Coffee Bean – Hot

Coming in last place is unfortunately Coffee Bean’s hot drink; there was no taste. Or chai. Or coffee. I thought I got the wrong drink. It was a swampy-like tea that tasted like it had been made with the dregs of a past drink.

  1. Glen Mor Starbucks – Cold

This drink was all milk, which is why it’s placed as the worst of the colds. It tasted like someone put the cup next to an espresso machine, and it absorbed only a hint of flavor. I was not sad that I got a tall of this La Croix-esque drink.

  1. Glen Mor Starbucks – Hot

This dirty chai had such an opportunity to succeed, as hot drinks are always more satisfying on a rainy day like the one I purchased it on. Regrettably, it lacked flavor, and not only because I burned my tongue on it.

  1. Bytes – Hot

This dirty chai is right in the middle of the list as it was unremarkable. It had a bad balance of too much coffee and too little tea. And to top it off, someone ran into me while I was walking out of Winston Chung Hall and I spilled some on my shoes.

  1. Coffee Bean – Cold

While this drink was overly sweet and lacked an underlying coffee flavor, it redeemed itself by being the most delicious of the drinks so far. Even if it wasn’t exactly a dirty chai, it was a cinnamony delight with chai syrup chunks at the bottom that made it very enjoyable to drink.

  1. Bytes – Cold

The sweetest of this drink masked and saved its run-of-the-mill flavor profile. I don’t have any complaints about this drink, but also no high praise to give to it because it was so average.

Senna Omar _ The Highlander
Senna Omar _ The Highlander
  1. Ivan’s at Hinderaker – Hot

This warm dirty chai was everything I wanted it to be – hot, evenly mixed, and a great balance of chai and coffee flavors. It was a wonderfully comforting and satisfying drink for the cold day I bought it on, and so it deserves the first place spot for hot and second place spot overall.

  1. Ivan’s at Hinderaker – Cold

Taking first place, the cold dirty chai from Ivan’s was sweet, flavorful, and more refreshing than lots of coffee drinks offered at Starbucks’ locations. It tasted like a chai cookie concoction with just a hint of espresso brewing underneath. I will definitely be ordering this drink from this location many times again.

Even though Bytes and Ivan’s are Starbucks off-shoots, they ranked much higher than the Glen Mor Starbucks for me. Additionally, most of the cold drinks also pulled in front of the hot as I think the sweetness masked the flaws in their composition. Overall, I would recommend Ivan’s as it ranked highest for both the hot and cold options!