This dirty chai latte is sweet and spicy and so easy to make at home with just a handful of ingredients.
It’s the season for sweet and warming coffee drinks. I have a bunch of them on the site, mochas, caramel lattes, white chocolate mochas, etc., but you can never have too many recipes involving coffee, so I have another one for you today.
Friend, have you ever had a dirty chai latte?
What is a dirty chai latte?
If you’ve never had a dirty chai latte before, a dirty chai is simply a chai latte with a shot or two of espresso.
It’s the best of both the tea and coffee worlds because it takes the simple and sweet, slightly spicy chai latte and adds a little depth and bitterness from the espresso and an extra boost of caffeine.
At Starbucks or your corner cafe, a chai latte is made with chai concentrate, milk, and freshly brewed espresso.
But since you probably don’t have chai concentrate and espresso ready to go at home, we’re going to modify the recipe a bit so you can still make this in your kitchen without having to run to the store or drop $$$ on an espresso machine.
Dirty Chai Tea Latte Ingredients and Equipment Notes
- Chai tea bags: Use your favorite chai brand. Regular or decaf will work just fine.
- Granulated sugar: If you want to experiment with flavors, try swapping brown sugar in for the white granulated sugar called for in the recipe.
- Milk: Any milk, including non-dairy milks will work great here (I love a chai latte with oat milk). For an extra rich and creamy latte, you can add a splash of half and half or heavy cream to the measuring cup before filling it up the rest of the way with milk.
- Coffee or espresso: True lattes are made with espresso, but most people don’t have espresso-making capabilities at home, so this recipe uses strongly brewed coffee. However, if you would like to use espresso, you absolutely can. You’ll need slightly more milk, just shy of ¾ cup.
- Handheld milk frother: A handheld milk frother is totally optional, but I love using one. While they can’t fully recreate the microfoam of a milk steamer, they do a pretty good job of making your at home latte feel a little extra special.
How to Make a Dirty Chai Latte
1. Make the chai concentrate: In the microwave or a small pot on the stove, bring water to a boil. Pour water into an 8-ounce mug. Add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes until you have a dark, extremely concentrated cup of chai.
2. Heat milk: While your tea bags steep, heat milk to steaming. You can do this in the microwave (about 45 seconds to a minute) or on the stove. Whisk vigorously or use a handheld milk frother to foam the milk.
Frothing the milk is optional, but it can give your at-home latte a little more of that cafe magic.
3. Finish the concentrate: Once steeped, discard the tea bags. Add the sugar, and stir until completely dissolved.
4. Assemble: Pour most of the milk into the chai mixture, using a spoon if needed to hold back the foam before adding the coffee or shot of espresso. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if needed.
5. Enjoy: Pour the last of the milk and the foam over the top of the latte. Sprinkle with cinnamon or cinnamon sugar if desired, and enjoy!
What’s the difference between chai latte and dirty chai?
The only difference between a chai latte and dirty chai is the espresso. Before you add espresso you have a chai latte and as soon as the espresso is mixed in, it’s a dirty chai.
Can I double this recipe?
Absolutely. To double the recipe, hover over the serving size in the recipe card below or click if you’re on mobile, and slide the slider.
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- This recipe makes a 1-cup (8-ounce) latte. If you want to fill an oversized cup, double the recipe.
Dirty Chai Latte
- Handheld milk frother, optional
- ¼ cup filtered water
- 2 chai tea bags
- 2 teaspoons (8g) granulated sugar * plus more to taste
- ½ cup milk any percentage
- ⅓ cup strongly brewed coffee
- Cinnamon or cinnamon sugar optional for topping
- In the microwave or on a small pot on the stove, bring water to a boil. Pour water into on 8-ounce mug. Add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.
- While your tea bags steep, heat milk to steaming. Whisk vigorously or use a handheld milk frother to foam the milk.
- Once steeped, discard tea bags and stir in sugar until completely dissolved.
- Pour most of the milk into the chai mixture, using a spoon if needed to hold back the foam. Add coffee or shot of espresso. Stir, and add more sugar if needed.
- Pour the last of the milk and the foam over the top of the latte. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired, and enjoy!
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