This Dirty Chai Latte is sweet, spicy, and has a caffeinated kick! Rich espresso is added to a classic chai latte to create a super cozy treat.
- 🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- 💭 What is a Dirty Chai Latte?
- 🛑 Don't call it a chai tea latte
- 🍵 Masala Chai vs. Chai Latte
- 📝 What's in a Dirty Chai Latte?
- 👩🏻🍳 How to make a Dirty Chai Latte
- ☕️ How to make espresso with and without an espresso maker
- 🥛 How to froth the drink with and without a milk frother
- 🔗 Other tea drinks
- ❓ FAQs/Tips and tricks
- ✨ Recipe
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
It's full of cozy flavors. This drink has all of the warm spicy flavors of chai plus espresso.
It's easy to make. It may look intimidating, but it's quite easy!
It has the caffeine that you need. Chai has caffeine, in addition to the espresso, so it's got the caffeinated kick to get you going.
💭 What is a Dirty Chai Latte?
A Dirty Chai Latte is a Chai Latte with an espresso shot (or two) added to it. It's the espresso that makes the drink "dirty."
Do you love coffee and tea? Have a hankering for warm, spicy chai, but also need more of a caffeine boost? Dirty Chai Lattes are truly the best of both worlds. They're perfect for enjoying while snuggled up under a blanket as well as for getting your day started.
Sure, you can pick up a Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte (or a Dirty Chai Tea Latte, as Starbucks brands them... More on that next.), but those lattes add up ($$$)! This recipe is wayyy cheaper and so, so easy to make.
🛑 Don't call it a chai tea latte
First of all: It's a Chai Latte. A dirty one, in this case. Not a chai tea latte.
"Chai" means "tea." So, if you're saying "chai tea latte," what you're really saying is "tea tea latte." And that's just silly.
🍵 Masala Chai vs. Chai Latte
Shweta from Masala and Chai has a really nice detailed description of what authentic Masala Chai is, as well as the history behind it (and a delicious authentic recipe). But, in short, "masala" means "spice" and "chai" means "tea." So, Masala Chai is tea with spices. And milk. It's extremely popular and enjoyed all over the Indian subcontinent.
Chai lattes, on the other hand, are a heavily Americanized version of Masala Chai. They're typically made of a sweet, black tea concentrate that has been simmered with chai spices (or some variation thereof) and combined with milk. The milk is usually steamed and frothy, and can either be heated and frothed separately or you can also heat the tea and milk up together and froth the whole thing.
You're probably familiar with the Chai Tea Lattes (I know, I know...) from Starbucks. They've been on the menu since, like, the 1990s, I'm pretty sure. You can also get a Dirty Chai (Tea) Latte from Starbucks. Just ask them to add a shot or two of espresso to the drink.
📝 What's in a Dirty Chai Latte?
The ingredients are pictured and discussed below. See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities
- Chai concentrate: Chai concentrate is made up of black tea (Assam, Darjeeling, or English Breakfast are good options), a variety of spices (often cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and black peppercorns), and some sort of sweetener.
- Espresso: When making this recipe, ideally you'll use espresso made using an espresso machine. I have a Nespresso Vertuo, and absolutely love it. The next best option would be to use really strong coffee.
- Milk: You can use pretty much any type of milk that you prefer. I'm a big fan of oat milk, but have also used 2% cow's milk in a pinch.
👩🏻🍳 How to make a Dirty Chai Latte
☕️ How to make espresso with and without an espresso maker
If have an espresso maker, you should brew a double shot of espresso according to the manufacturer's directions for your particular espresso maker. Like I mentioned above, I have a Nespresso Vertuo machine. So I just pop in my favorite double espresso pod and let the machine do its thing. If you only have single espresso pods, just brew two!
One shot of espresso is approximately 1 fluid ounce, so a double shot would be about 2 fluid ounces.
Now, without an espresso maker: Short of using freshly brewed espresso, your next best choice would be to brew some really strong coffee. It won't be exactly the same, but will work in a pinch.
You could also use instant espresso, if you so choose. I'd probably pick this option as a last resort, though.
🥛 How to froth the drink with and without a milk frother
Last, you'll combine your espresso, warmed chai, and warmed milk, and then froth all of it. The easiest way to do that is with a milk frother. I really like my stick frother. Just submerge the end of the frother into the liquid and let 'er rip.
If you aren't the proud owner of some form of milk frother, you can still froth your dirty chai latte! A couple of options include using a French press or a whisk. Check out this post to learn more. The post is about frothing milk, but the techniques are the same.
After that, all that's left is to garnish the latte (if you so choose) and drink!
🔗 Other tea drinks
Looking for other tea-based drinks? Check out the photos and links below.
- Vanilla Matcha Lattes from Sweet Tea and Thyme
- Golden Milk Latte Recipe from Sweetly Cakes
- Butterfly Pea Latte from Cookhouse Diary
- Iced London Fog Latte from The Healthful Ideas
❓ FAQs/Tips and tricks
A dirty chai latte has espresso in it!
You have a couple of other options: You can use some really strong coffee (the next best choice) or instant espresso (not ideal, but could work in a pinch).
I have used oat milk (my preferences is Oatly full fat), 2% cow's milk, and whole cow's milk to make lattes. All have worked well. Though I haven't tried it, I imagine that almond milk would work well, too.
I'd recommend using black tea. Some options include Darjeeling, Assam, or even good old English Breakfast. You can use tea bags or loose leaf tea, depending upon your preference.
No, ma'am! It's. Dirty Chai Latte. Chai = tea. So when you say "chai tea" you're saying "tea tea."
Yep! It should taste pretty darn close to the Starbucks version.
I'd love to know what you thought of this recipe! Don't forget to leave a comment and ⭐️ star rating below!
Dirty Chai Latte
- 4 ounces Chai Concentrate
- 4 ounces milk see notes
- 2 shots espresso see notes
- star anise for garnish (optional)
- Combine the chai concentrate and milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Heat it to the desired temperature.
- Brew espresso and add the hot espresso to the chai and milk.
- Froth with a milk frother until the top is nice and frothy.
- Pour the dirty chai latte into a mug and garnish with a star anise, if desired.
- Very strong coffee can be used in place of espresso
- Use whatever milk that you prefer
Disclaimer: Nutritional information is a generated estimate and is not guaranteed to be accurate.