Dirty Chai Latte

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Make a warm and delicious dirty chai latte at home using only 5 ingredients. It’s sweet and a little spicy with a caffeine kick.

A dirty chai in a clear glass mug.

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Homemade Dirty Chai Latte

A dirty chai latte is a traditional chai latte with espresso added. It gets its name from the way the coffee muddies up the color of the tea. The espresso adds a caffeine boost and rich coffee flavor to the spicy sweet chai.

Chai is a traditional drink from India that is made of black tea, milk, and warming spices. There is no universal spice blend that everyone uses, but you will usually taste ingredients like like cardamom, ginger, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon in each version.

The drink originated in India and is known as masala chai, or “spiced tea,” in Hindi. People in the U.S. call the drink “chai tea,” but this is incorrect because it translates to “tea tea.”

RELATED: 17 Delicious Chai Recipes

Recipe Highlights

  • Dirty chai lattes are similar to traditional chai lattes but with espresso added for an extra energy boost.
  • The base of this recipe is a quick and easy chai concentrate you can make in 5 minutes with only chai tea bags, hot water, and sugar.
  • Light and creamy frothed milk can be made instantly with just whole milk and a milk frother or a French press.
  • This recipe makes a 16-ounce serving.

RELATED: Iced Chai Latte

Ingredient Notes

The ingredients to make a dirty chai latte.
  • Chai tea bags: Loose tea can be used, but tea bags or tea sachets are easier to use.
  • Espresso: Use an espresso machine or a Nespresso. Instant coffee can be used if you don’t have a way to make either.
  • Sugar: White sugar is used in the recipe but any kind of sweetener can be used.
  • Milk: Whole milk makes it creamier and frothier, but you can swap in 2% milk or your favorite non-dairy alternative milk.
  • Water: Use filtered water for the best taste.

For full ingredients and detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Chai tea bags steeping in a glass teapot in hot water.

Step 1: Add chai tea bags and hot water to a teapot. Cover and steep.

Boil water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle with a temperature setting.

Pouring milk into a milk frother.

Step 2: While the tea is steeping, froth whole milk in an electric milk frother. Set aside.

Stirring sugar into chai tea in a glass teapot.

Step 3: Remove the tea bags from the teapot and add sugar. Stir until dissolved.

Pouring chai into a glass mug.

Step 4: Pour the chai concentrate into a mug.

Pouring espresso into a glass mug.

Step 5: Add espresso.

Pouring frothed milk into a glass mug.

Step 6: Top the drink with frothed milk.

Recipe Notes

Customize the chai concentrate to your taste.

This recipe uses a quick and easy chai concentrate made with only tea bags, hot water, and sugar. If you want a stronger chai flavor, make chai concentrate from scratch with loose tea and spices like cloves, star anise, and cardamom.

Another delicious option is to get store-brought chai concentrate like the Tazo brand used at Starbucks.

Use instant coffee if you can’t make espresso.

If you don’t have a Nespresso machine, you can also use instant coffee. Combine 1 teaspoon of instant coffee and ⅛ cup of hot water to replace the espresso in the recipe. To make the drink stronger, use 2 teaspoons of instant coffee and ¼ cup of hot water.

Froth milk in a French press.

Milk can be frothed at home using a French press instead of a milk frother. Heat milk on the stovetop or microwave then pour it into a French press, making sure not to fill more than halfway. Place the lid and push the plunger up and down, 20-30 times until milk doubles in volume.

RELATED: Chai Bubble Tea

Expert Tips

  • There is a lot of flavor from spices and espresso in this recipe, so you don’t need to use the highest quality black tea.
  • Make sure to use an espresso capsule when using a Nespresso machine. Don’t use a capsule that makes a full cup of coffee.
  • Whipped cream is an optional but easy way to make a dirty chai even more delicious. You can make it at home in seconds with heavy cream, vanilla, and a handheld milk frother.

Questions You May Have

What’s the difference between a chai latte and a dirty chai?

The main difference between a chai latte and dirty chai latte is that dirty chai lattes have espresso.

Is there caffeine in a dirty chai?

Yes, a dirty chai has caffeine from both chai (about 10 mg per ounce) and espresso (around 64 mg per shot). A 16-ounce dirty chai can have anywhere from 120 mg to 180 mg of caffeine, depending on how much tea and espresso is added.

What does a dirty chai taste like?

Dirty chai tastes like the warming spices of masala chai (cloves, star anise, and cinnamon), strong, bitter espresso, and creamy frothed milk.

A dirty chai latte in a clear glass mug.

If you tried this Dirty Chai recipe, please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ star rating and let me know how you like it in the comments below.

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Dirty Chai Latte

By: Jee Choe
A delicious and easy spiced chai latte with espresso
Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 6 minutes
Yield: 1 (16 ounces)

Ingredients 

  • 3 chai tea bags
  • cup hot water
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 shot espresso

Instructions 

  • Add 3 chai tea bags and ⅓ cup hot water to a teapot. Cover and steep for 5 minutes.
    Boil water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle with a temperature setting. Set water temperature to 200°F.
  • While the tea is steeping, froth 1 ½ cups of whole milk in an electric milk frother.
    Set aside for later.
  • Remove tea bags from the teapot and add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
    Stir until dissolved and chai concentrate is fully mixed.
  • Pour the chai concentrate into a mug. Add 1 shot of espresso. Top with frothed milk.
    Enjoy!

Notes

  • Whole milk makes it creamier and frothier, but you can swap in 2% milk or your favorite non-dairy alternative milk.
  • Milk can be frothed at home using a French press instead of a milk frother. Heat milk on the stovetop or microwave then pour it into a French press, making sure not to fill more than halfway. Place the lid and push the plunger up and down, 20-30 times until milk doubles in volume.
  • Make sure to use an espresso capsule when using a Nespresso machine. Don’t use a capsule that makes a full cup of coffee.
  • If you don’t have a Nespresso machine, you can also use instant coffee. Combine 1 teaspoon of instant coffee and ⅛ cup of hot water to replace the espresso in the recipe. To make the drink stronger, use 2 teaspoons of instant coffee and ¼ cup of hot water.

Nutrition

Calories: 269Carbohydrates: 30gProtein: 12gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 147mgPotassium: 584mgSugar: 30gVitamin A: 593IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 453mgIron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Indian
Tried this recipe?Mention @ohhowcivilized or tag #ohhowcivilized!

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