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Dirty Chai Latte Recipe

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Let’s make a dirty chai latte! (Also known as a red eye chai!) This espresso drink combines coffee and tea in a warm and cozy way that is incredibly delicious. I was a little unsure of this combination, but it is a good one. Warming and mildly spicy chai is combined with bold espresso and creamy steamed milk. It’s popular at coffee shops because it’s so good and it’s easy enough to make at home!

In an ideal world, you would make homemade chai, which honestly if you are a chai fan and haven’t done it I highly recommend it, it’s SO much better, but it does require a bit more time and effort as it is made with fresh chai spices (cardamom pods, cloves, nutmeg, and sometimes ginger and star anise) and black tea. But for this chai latte with espresso, I kept it simple and used a chai tea bag, and it’s also delicious.

If you like this dirty chai, be sure to try my cappuccino, homemade latte, coconut oil and butter chai latte, iced matcha latte, lavender latte, or sweet cream cold foam next time.

Picture of hand holding mug of dirty chai latte
Photo Credit: Loren Runion for My Everyday Table.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What is in a Dirty Chai?

A dirty chai is a chai latte that has a shot or two of espresso!

What You’ll Love About a Dirty Chai

  • Cozy and comforting flavors
  • Sweet and creamy
  • Incredibly delicious (and FUN!)
  • Easy to make at home

Dirty Chai Video

Ingredients

  • Chai tea – Use your favorite chai tea bags or you can also use a chai tea concentrate. You can find this in most grocery stores and it’s how Starbucks makes their chai drinks. The concentrates are typically sweetened so you may not need extra sugar.
  • Sugar – Sugar is optional, but this drink really lends itself to a little sweetness. You can use sugar, honey, maple syrup, or your favorite sugar alternative. Add sugar or sweetener to taste.
  • Milk – Use your favorite milk or dairy-free milk alternative (almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, etc.) for a vegan drink. I tend to use whole milk in my coffee drinks as that’s what we use at home and I like it best, but any milk will work. If you are using a milk alternative, look for the “barista blends” as they are designed to steam better.
  • Espresso – So many ways and options for your espresso. Use your espresso machine (I’m obsessed with mine!), a nespresso (had one of these for 10+ years), or even a really strong coffee or cold brew concentrate.
Picture of ingredients to make dirty chai latte recipe

How to Make a Dirty Chai Latte

This is an overview on how to make a dirty chai, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

Brew tea. Pour boiling water over chai tea bag(s) in a mug and let steep.
Chai tea brewing in clear mug
Brew espresso. Brew espresso right over sugar if using.
Pouring espresso over chai tea in mug
Steam milk. Use a milk steamer, hand held milk frother, or steaming wand to steam or froth milk with silky, micro bubbles.
Pouring steamed milk into dirty chai
Finish drink. Pour espresso into mug with tea and top with steamed milk. Finish with a thin layer of foam.
Mug of dirty chai latte with spoon of foam

FAQs

How do I order a dirty chai at Starbucks?

It’s super easy to order a dirty chai at Starbucks – just ask for a dirty chai latte. Another option is to order a chai latte and add a shot of espresso.

Does a dirty chai latte have caffeine?

Yes! Both the chai (it’s made with black tea that has caffeine) and espresso have caffeine in them so this drink has caffeine. I have seen some decaf chai concentrates so if you use that and decaf espresso you can make a caffeine version.

Can I make an iced dirty chai latte?

Yes! You’ll prepare the tea and espresso in the same way, but instead of steaming the milk. Add ice to a glass and pour in milk. Pour tea and espresso over milk and stir.

Is it dirty chai or a dirty chai tea latte?

You don’t need to add “tea” to chai as chai means tea. 🙂

Storage Instructions

This coffee drink is best served immediately.

Mug of dirty chai latte

What to Serve with a Dirty Chai

Serve this latte with a delicious breakfast, here are a few favorites:

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Close up of dirty chai with star anise garnish

More Coffee Recipes

If you like this dirty chai latte recipe, you might also like some of these other coffee recipes:

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Picture of hand holding mug of dirty chai latte

Dirty Chai Latte

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Description

Let’s make a dirty chai latte at home! This espresso drink combines coffee and tea in a warm and cozy way that is incredibly delicious. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 12 Chai tea bags
  • sugar to taste (start with 1 teaspoon sugar)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 12 shots espresso (or 23 ounces strong coffee or coffee concentrate)


Instructions

  1. Brew tea. Pour boiling water over tea bag in a mug and let steep for 4-5 minutes, then remove tea bag.
  2. Meanwhile, steam milk and prepare espresso. (I like to brew the espresso right over the sugar to help it dissolve otherwise stir sugar into tea.
  3. Pour espresso into mug and stir to dissolve any sugar.
  4. Pour steamed milk into mug and top with a thin layer of foam. 


Notes

  • Nutrition facts are an estimate and will vary depending on type of milk and how much sugar you use. 

Keywords: dirty chai, dirty chai latte

Food styling and photography by Loren Runion.

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