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Dirty Coffee: The Trendy New Drink Everyone is Talking About

Dirty Coffee: The Trendy New Drink Everyone is Talking About

Which coffee drink is hot, cold, bitter, and sweet all at the same time? Dirty coffee, of course!

If you’ve never heard of this coffee type, you may be curious about what it is. Maybe you’re thinking it’s simply coffee served in a dirty mug.

Dirty coffee is always served in a clean mug and offers a unique texture and lush sweetness for your drinking pleasure!

This amazing coffee drink will have you hooked from the very first sip. And the best part is that dirty coffee couldn’t be easier to make at home.

Stick with me as we break down all the details of this delicious beverage.

Click here to skip to the dirty coffee recipe.

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What is dirty coffee?

Dirty coffee is an exciting coffee drink that combines a double shot of espresso and white milk in a chilled glass. The drink is named “dirty coffee” thanks to the messy appearance created by pouring espresso over the milk.

Although many drinks are visually appealing, the beautiful layer created by topping milk with espresso is one of the most breathtaking.

It offers an entirely new experience for coffee connoisseurs everywhere.

What does dirty coffee taste like?

Dirty coffee is the perfect marriage of bitter, intense espresso and sweet, creamy milk. The hot espresso eventually blends into the ice cold milk, creating a unique mouthfeel that is both hot and cold simultaneously.

The bitterness of the espresso is offset by the sweetness of the milk, making for a well-rounded flavor profile that will have you hooked from the very first sip.

And the different temperatures of the layers offer another layer that gives the whole thing a delightful complexity.

Where did dirty coffee come from?

Dirty coffee has its origins in Japan. Bear Pond Espresso, a Japanese coffee shop, is credited with inventing the drink.

Originally known as “The Dirty,” the delicious drink quickly gained popularity and has since spread worldwide.

Are there variations of dirty coffee?

Dirty coffee is traditionally made with whole milk.

There are other variations made with sweetened condensed milk and cream. For a non-dairy alternative, try soy milk, almond milk, or even coconut milk for a hint of tropical flavor.

Dirty Coffee Recipe

Dirty Coffee

Hot, cold, bitter, and sweet. This intriguing coffee drink is sure to tantalize your taste buds!
Prep Time 14 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 1


  • 2 shots espresso May substitute strongly brewed coffee.
  • 4-6 ozs ice cold milk


  • Pour the milk of your choice into a clear glass.
  • Place the glass with milk in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  • Pull a double espresso. For a milder espresso flavor, use only one shot of espresso.
  • Pour the espresso over the back of a spoon positioned upside down over the cold milk. Pouring over a spoon creates the signature appearance of this drink.
  • Alternatively, you can pull the espresso spots directly into the cold milk, skipping the spoon step.
  • Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “dirty” mean?

Dirty coffee got its name from the muddy appearance of pouring espresso over milk.

What is a dirty chai latte?

Dirty chai tea combines chai tea, milk, and a shot of espresso.

Do you need an espresso machine to make dirty coffee?

No. You can use French press coffee instead of espresso. A Moka pot or even strongly brewed coffee directly from a coffee maker can substitute for espresso.

Can you add flavor or sweetener to dirty coffee?

Authentic dirty coffee does not have either flavor or sweetener. But if you love sweet coffee, feel free to add flavor or sweetener to the milk before adding the espresso.

And if you want a versatile 2-ingredient sweetener perfect for any cold latte or other coffee drinks, check out this recipe.

How is dirty coffee different than an iced latte?

An iced latte combines espresso, milk, and ice cubes. Baristas at your favorite coffee shop will likely stir to create a drink with even flavor and texture.

Dirty coffee is different from an iced latte in that the milk is chilled ahead of time, so there’s no need for ice.

And dirty coffee is all about extremes. The drink is neither hot nor cold. Your first couple sips of this fascinating drink will be hot, even as they meld into the cold layers underneath.

And the drink is served in a small, clear glass so you can enjoy the artwork created by the espresso slowly melding into the surface of the milk.

Although it could be argued that iced lattes are enticing, nothing compares to the appeal of an artfully crafted dirty coffee!

Is dirty coffee considered a type of iced coffee?

Yes, dirty coffee is considered a type of iced coffee. In fact, it is often referred to as an “espresso-based iced coffee.”

What is the best way to serve dirty coffee?

Serve dirty coffee in a clear glass so you can enjoy the layer of espresso as it gently marries the pool of cold milk below.

Can you use any type of milk to make dirty coffee?

Yes, you can use any type of milk to create a dirty coffee.

Does Starbucks have dirty coffee on its menu?

Starbucks does have a drink on its secret menu called the Undertow.

This drink is essentially a dirty coffee with an extra kick from the added sweetener.

You can easily get the drink at other coffee shops by describing how the drink is made to the barista.

Final Thoughts

Dirty coffee is the perfect drink for those who want a bit of everything. It’s hot, cold, bitter, and sweet all at the same time.

So, if you’re looking for a well-rounded flavor profile, look no further than dirty coffee. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

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