Best Dirty Coffee Recipe – How To Make This Drink At Home

March 3, 2024 | Coffee 101

Written By: Millie Pham
Last Updated: March 3, 2024

Are you tired of the same old cup of coffee every morning? If you're nodding in agreement, you're not alone. Many of us crave variety, especially when it comes to our daily caffeine fix.

Enter Dirty Coffee—a unique twist on your regular brew that's both indulgent and easy to make.

In this article, I'll walk you through the simple steps and my tips to creating this delicious concoction.

What Is Dirty Coffee?

"Dirty Coffee" is an amazing coffee drink that began in Japan. It's quite different from regular coffee. Here's how it's made: first, cold milk is poured into a clear glass.

Then, a shot of hot espresso is gently added on top. The hot espresso swirls into the cold milk, creating a beautiful, layered look.

That's why it's called "Dirty Coffee" – the espresso 'dirties' the white milk, but in a good way.

This drink became popular because it's not just about the taste; it's also about the experience. When you drink it, you get the coolness of the milk and the warmth of the espresso in one sip.

Plus, it looks really cool. Baristas and coffee shops started to make their own versions, and soon, "Dirty Coffee" became a hit worldwide.

How To Make Dirty Coffee At Home

Dirty Coffee Ingredients

dirty coffee ingredients

1. Coffee Beans (18 gram)

Start with light to medium roast beans. They're just right for Dirty Coffee - not too harsh, just smooth enough to hit the spot as soon as you take that first sip.

Then, grind your beans a bit finer than you would for normal espresso. It's all about getting that deep, rich flavor that really makes your coffee stand out.

When you're tamping, don't be shy to press a bit harder. This extra effort helps to fully capture the rich flavors of your coffee grounds.

And about brewing time - aim for something between 30 to 50 seconds. Why? Because that's how you get that really concentrated taste, which is what makes Dirty Coffee so special.

2. Milk (90 ml)

Creamy and fresh is the way to go. It's half of your drink, so quality matters. It should be smooth and complement the strong coffee.

3. Cream (Optional - 30 ml)

Here's where you can play around. Heavy, light, or non-dairy – each changes the taste and feel.

Dirty Coffee Recipe Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Milk

mix cream with milk

This part is pretty straightforward but super important for getting that creamy, dreamy layer under your espresso.

If you're making a smaller cup, like a 5 oz cup, mix together 90 ml of milk with 30 ml of cream.

For a bigger 8 oz cup, use 120 ml of milk and add 50 ml of cream. This blend makes the milk just creamy enough without overpowering the espresso.

Step 2: Chill the Milk Mixture

Next, you want to make this milk really cold. The colder, the better. Pop it in the freezer for a bit.

This chill factor is what gives the Dirty Coffee its signature look when you pour the hot espresso over it.

And remember, whether you're using a ristretto, a double shot of espresso, or even coffee from a French press, the cold milk underneath is what balances the strong coffee on top.

So, take a moment to get this step right - it's what makes your Dirty Coffee both look and taste amazing!

Step 3: Pull your espresso shot

First up, let's make our espresso shot. You can use any espresso maker you like. Personally, I'm a big fan of my Staresso Mirage manual espresso machine, so I'll be using that to pull a shot of espresso for our Dirty Coffee.

Pull double shot of espresso with Staresso Mirage

If you're into a stronger flavor, go for a 'ristretto'. This is a more concentrated shot that really packs a punch. Just use less water than usual for your espresso.

Now, if you don't have an espresso machine, you can use a French press.

It won't be exactly the same, but it can still make a strong coffee that works great for Dirty Coffee. Just press your coffee a bit longer to get that strong, rich flavor.

double shot of espresso pulled with Staresso Mirage 2023

Step 4: Combine and Serve

Pour coffee into cold milk

You've got your espresso and your cold milk ready. It's time to make that Dirty Coffee magic happen.

First, grab your cup. Pour in the cold milk and cream mixture you prepared earlier. Fill it just enough to leave room for the espresso.

Now, take your freshly pulled espresso and slowly pour it over the cold milk.

Do it gently so you get those neat, Instagram-worthy layers of coffee and milk.

You'll see the hot espresso mix slightly with the cold milk, creating that cool 'dirty' effect. That's your Dirty Coffee coming to life!

Remember, the cup size matters. Smaller cups work better if you're sitting down and enjoying your coffee. It keeps the balance just right. Bigger cups are fine for on-the-go.

And there you have it, your very own cup of Dirty Coffee, ready to sip and enjoy!

dirty coffee

How To Drink Dirty Coffee

Now that you've made your Dirty Coffee, it's time to enjoy it! Drinking Dirty Coffee is not just about taste, it's an experience.

First, take a moment to admire your creation. See those beautiful layers of espresso floating on top of the cold milk? That's the hallmark of a great Dirty Coffee.

When you're ready to drink, just sip it slowly. The key here is to enjoy the layers as they are. Don't stir them together. With each sip, you'll get the warm, rich taste of the espresso followed by the cool, creamy milk. It's a delightful contrast.

The beauty of Dirty Coffee is in how the hot and cold elements mix in your mouth, giving you a unique taste every time. So, relax and take your time to savor each sip.

That's how you enjoy a perfect cup of Dirty Coffee. Simple, isn't it?

Dirty Coffee vs Dirty Chai Latte

Dirty Coffee and Dirty Chai Latte might sound similar, but they're actually quite different drinks.

Dirty Coffee is all about espresso and milk. You take a shot of hot espresso and pour it over cold milk. This creates a cool, layered effect. The taste is a mix of strong coffee and creamy milk, and it's served cold.

On the other hand, Dirty Chai Latte is a bit spicier. 

It's basically a Chai Latte – which is a mix of tea, milk, and spices like cinnamon and cardamom – with a shot of espresso added to it. This gives it a nice kick of coffee flavor. Unlike Dirty Coffee, it's usually served warm and has a mix of sweet, spicy, and creamy flavors.

So, while Dirty Coffee is about the contrast of hot and cold with a strong coffee flavor, Dirty Chai Latte is warm, spicy, and has a blend of tea and coffee tastes. Both are delicious in their own way!

Millie Pham

Hi there! I'm Millie Pham, a devoted brewer and tea lover at heart. As the founder of Bean Leaf Cup, my mission is to share my tea and coffee expertise with you all. I firmly believe that creating a fantastic cup of tea or coffee should be easy for everyone. No matter if you're already a coffee or tea expert or just beginning your journey, I'm here to help you navigate the world of brewing. Welcome aboard!

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