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We tried a dirty chai at six local coffee shops

We tried chai made with espresso from six different local coffee shops around Columbia, SC. Here are the results of the store superlatives.

A hand holds a paper cup with a Piecewise sleeve around it, backdropped by a counter with plants and patrons drinking coffee at tables.

There’s great chai and plenty of spaces to work at Piecewise. | Photo by COLAtoday

Table of Contents

We issued ourselves a challenge: Try the same drink at six different local coffee shops. We decided to take it a step further and issue some Soda City java superlatives.

For our control drink in this experiment, we picked a dirty chai — we love a classic chai latte, but add a shot of espresso to it? To chai for.

And the roastery recognition goes to…

Make it spicy

Curiosity Coffee Bar, 2327 Main St. | If you love your latte spicy, this is the spot for you. Order the dirty chai cold brew coffee and pop in before the holidays to snag local and niche gifts.

Or keep it sweet

Drip, 729 Saluda Ave. | Sweet but not too sweet. Pop in here for a dirty chai and shop around Five Points for the boutique lovers in your family.


It’s easy to enjoy Indah. | Photo via @heyamandajaye

For the tea lover

Indah Coffee, 2238 Sumter St. | Indah’s chai is very tea-forward, so you can still taste the chai through the espresso. Plus there’s a wide range of seasonal drinks to choose from and the bounty of seating makes it a great spot to work.

Stay awhile

Piecewise Coffee Co., 2001 State St., Cayce | Easy parking and tons of space make this a great place to meet friends or hunker down with some work.

Chai with heart

Oliver Gospel Roastery, 1120 Taylor St. | This bustling cafe benefits the Oliver Gospel Mission with each cup supporting those experiencing homelessness.

Nuts for hazelnuts

Azalea Coffee, 2700 Devine St. | This woman-owned coffee shop has its own spin on a dirty chai — the “Talk Show” latte is made with hazelnut chai and cinnamon. Plus it offers tons of events like the Holiday Market on Sun., Dec. 11.

We only visited six shops for this story — the human body can only drink so much espresso + chai. Let us know if we missed your favorite place in Columbia. We’d love to swing by for a sip. ☕️

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