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Dirty Chai Latte

Delicately sweetened with honey, this dirty chai latte with milk foam is the perfect way to start your mornings. With plenty of caffeine, you won’t have to worry about falling asleep throughout the day.

Easy Dirty Chai Tea Latte

Warm and comforting, this Dirty Chai Latte is the perfect winter drink to get you through rushed mornings. Packed with black tea and an espresso shot, every sip is a caffeine bomb that will keep you wide awake through even the most tedious meetings.

With creamy milk foam and ground cinnamon, this drink sounds harder to make than it is. You only need 20 minutes to make it from start to finish— most of which is spent steeping the tea. Even if you don’t have that time, you’ll be glad to know it can be easily made in advance.

To make it extra special, top it with whipped cream or serve it over ice like at your favorite coffee shop. However you decide to make it, a version of this dirty chai latte is waiting to make its way to your car’s cup holder. I suggest you finish it before you get to the office because if word ever gets out that you’re making these, you might be put on coffee duty indefinitely.

overhead shot of dirty chai latte topped with cinnamon in a glass coffee mug.

What Is A Dirty Chai?

Dirty Chai is a famous coffee plus tea-based latte drink with milk foam. Although it can be made with any strong coffee, it gets the word “dirty” from a shot of espresso. Served cold or warm, it’s packed with caffeine and perfect for any morning run.

Recipe Ingredients

Any tea or coffee person will already have the six ingredients needed to start. They’re effortless, so check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

  • Water
  • Black tea bags
  • Milk – Use your favorite kind, even plant-based ones.
  • Coffee – Strong-brewed coffee or espresso, both will work.
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar or light brown sugar is okay. You can also use raw honey.
  • Ground cinnamon – Feel free to substitute it for allspice.
Ingredient for dirty chai latte.

What’s The Best Tea for a Chai Latte?

High-quality black tea is best for making dirty chai lattes. Don’t worry if you can’t find any, though. You can also use English Breakfast, Earl Gray, and Darjeeling to make this excellent drink.

Variations

With these easy variations, you’ll be rolling out unique dirty chai lattes like they do at your favorite coffee shop.

  • Add caramel. Drizzle a little caramel on the sides of your mug and then add the tea, coffee, and milk. It’ll give your dirty chai some added sweetness.
  • Add whipped cream. Top your drink with whipped cream for extra creaminess.
  • Use maple syrup. Sweetening your drink with maple syrup will add yummy sweetness too.
  • Serve it on the rocks. Wait for the tea, coffee, and milk to cool before assembling the dirty chai latte. Add ice to a glass and then pour in the liquids for an iced dirty chai latte.
  • Make it frappe. Pour the cooled dirty chai latte into a freezer-friendly container. Freeze it for 4 hours or until completely solid. Blend it and top it with whipped cream for an icy, Starbucks-style drink.
  • Make it a filthy chai. Adding 2 shots of espresso will take this from a dirty chai latte to a “filthy” one.
  • Make it plant-based. Transform this into a dirty hippie chai latte by substituting dairy milk for any plant-based one.

How to Make a Dirty Chai Latte

These 4 steps are completely fail-proof. Bonus points if you use the microwave. Where? Make sure to read the tips in the next section to find out.

  • Steep the tea. Boil the water and add the two tea bags. Cover the saucepan and let the tea steep for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the milk. Add the milk to a small pot over medium heat until it steams. Remove it from the heat and use a frother to foam it.
  • Pour it. Remove the tea bags and divide the tea between 2 coffee mugs.
  • Prepare it. Add in the milk and coffee. Stir to combine. Sweeten it with sugar to taste. Sprinkle it with cinnamon and serve warm.

Tips for Success

You don’t need to be a barista to make the best possible dirty chai latte. Just follow these tips!

  • Use the microwave. Heating the water in the mugs is easier and fuss-free when you do it in the microwave.
  • Let it sit. Giving your tea a couple of extra minutes to steep will pay off. The longer your tea steeps, the stronger the flavor will be. 
  • Use high-quality tea. Buy the best black tea for a more concentrated flavor that won’t dilute in the drink.
  • Use leftover coffee. Instead of throwing away your leftover morning coffee, use it to make this drink the next day.
side shot of dirty chai latte topped with cinnamon in a glass coffee mug.

Serving Suggestions

Don’t judge me, but I love my dirty chai latte with lots of whipped cream, crumbled cookies, and chocolate chips. 😊 When I’m not in the mood to clean up cookie crumbs, I dunk in some shortbreads.

When I need a sweet treat, I love it with some Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls, or whatever delicious goodies I made that week.

Here’s some inspiration in case you’re also looking for a baking project:

Can A Dirty Chai Latte Be Made in Advance?

  • Everything about this drink can be made in advance except the milk foam. While you can’t make 100% of it ahead of time, making the tea and coffee up to 3 days before preparing this recipe can help you save some time.
  • If you don’t necessarily mind the milk not being foamy, then you can definitely make it in advance. It’ll still taste the same, so it’s up to you.
Dirty chai latte topped with cinnamon in a crystal coffee mug.

More Drink Recipes

Angled shot of dirty chai latte in a glass mug.

Dirty Chai Latte

Katerina | Diethood
Everything you need to kickstart your day is in this Dirty Chai Latte loaded with black tea and espresso.
5 from 2 votes
Servings : 2 people
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 bags black tea
  • ½ cup milk, any milk, non-dairy included
  • 2 shots prepared espresso, or ⅓ cup strong brewed coffee
  • honey or sugar, to taste, optional
  • ground cinnamon, to taste, optional

Instructions
 

  • Boil the water.
  • Add two teabags to the boiled water and set aside to steep for about 5 to 8 minutes. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor will be.
  • Meanwhile, heat the milk to steaming.
  • Then, use a milk frother to foam the milk.
  • Discard the teabags and pour the prepared tea into 2 coffee mugs.
  • Pour the milk into the tea.
  • Stir in the espresso.
  • Taste and see if you want to add some honey or sugar.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • Black Tea: Authentic Dirty Chai Latte is prepared with black tea, and you can also use English Breakfast, Earl Gray, or Darjeeling. 
  • Espresso: If you have an Espresso machine, great, but don’t worry if you don’t. You can purchase Espresso Instant Coffee, pour boiling water over the granules, mix, and serve.
  • Milk: Use your favorite dairy or non-dairy milk.
  • Sweetener: To sweeten the chai latte, you can use honey, sugar, maple syrup, or a sugar substitute.

Nutrition

Serving: 2 people | Calories: 39 kcal | Carbohydrates: 3 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 2 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4 g | Cholesterol: 7 mg | Sodium: 33 mg | Potassium: 126 mg | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 99 IU | Vitamin C: 0.1 mg | Calcium: 79 mg | Iron: 0.04 mg | Net Carbs: 3 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dirty chai, dirty chai coffee, dirty chai tea latte
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