What is a Dirty Chai Latte?

Do you remember that heavenly espresso and chai latte brew you drank at a coffee shop? Yes, the one with a spiced flavor you couldn’t get enough of. Ladies and gentlemen, you most likely drank a dirty chai latte. We know your curiosity about this drink has been piqued, and you’re eager to know everything about it. The good news is that we’re about to teach you everything you need to know about this delicious drink.

So, we’ll be telling you what a dirty chai latte is, why it’s a great morning drink, its types, and so many more.

What It Is and Why People Drink It?

A dirty chai latte has become the solution for people who aren’t fans of strong coffee but still wish to take it. Although it’s mostly known as a dirty chai latte, this drink has several secondary names. Dirty chai latte is also known as Red Eye Chai, Espresso Chai, Chai Charger, Tough Guy Chai, and Java Chai.

Dirty chai is a blend of a single or double shot of espresso, spiced masala (chai concentrate or black tea), and steamed milk. It draws its name from its appearance. The dirty chai latte is a mix of the classic chai latte with a shot of espresso. It can either be iced or steaming hot, depending on your preference.

Dirty chai is widely loved because of its mile coffee flavor, fragrant spice (thanks to the addition of chai spices), and smooth texture. If you want to make a dirty chai stronger, you’ll need to add an extra shot of espresso. The rule of thumb is that a single shot of espresso gives you a dirty chai latte. On the other hand, a double shot of the same gives you a filthy chai latte or a double dirty chai latte.

A Brief History of Dirty Chai Latte 

The history of this dirty chai tea latte goes back to the mid-19th century. This was when masala chai came into existence. When the British colonialists planted tea gardens in Northern India, the tea drinks produced from its yield didn’t appeal to the locals. This discontent brought out the experimental nature of the Indians. They decided to find ways to make the tea appeal to them. So they started mixing the tea with milk and various spices till they struck gold.

Despite the early discovery, it took about half a century before this spiced tea announced itself to the rest of the world. Interestingly, it happened accidentally. The story is even more exciting. A barista was brewing masala tea for a customer and mistakenly added a shot of freshly brewed espresso. The result, a hot dirty chai latte, tasted great and has become a popular choice since then.

Such was the renown that Starbucks adopted the dirty chai latte recipe. Finally, they discovered something that was liked by both coffee and non-coffee lovers.

Types of Dirty Chai Latte

As if the taste is not wonderful enough, what’s even better is the variety of dirty chai lattes. No, it’s not Starbucks dirty Chai latte. That will be too easy, lol. Let’s take a look at the types of dirty chai lattes. Who knows? You could pick a favorite from there.

  • Dairy-Free or vegetarian dirty chai latte: We can tell what’s on your mind. You’re probably wondering if this means the drink won’t have milk at all. Na. It just means it won’t have THAT milk. This variation of the espresso drink uses plant-sourced milk instead of dairy milk. For instance, almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk is added to the dirty chai tea latte and not the usual cow milk.
  • Iced dirty chai latte: Iced latte is explanatory. It’s simply the dirty chai latte with the addition of ice.
  • Faux dirty chai latte: This variation is not exactly a dirty chai latte, but one that bears a close resemblance to it. You can make this drink with a ginger latte, cinnamon latte, or even a cardamon latte, and then add a shot of espresso and frothy steamed milk.
  • Green tea dirty chai latte: This is simply a dirty chai latte, but one made with green tea, not black tea.
  • Hong-Kong Yuanyang Coffee Tea: This is a blend of drip coffee, sweetened condensed milk, and black tea.

What is Dirty Chai Latte Made of?

What ingredients make this delicious drink? That’s the question that’s been on people’s minds. Perhaps you think it’s high time to make and enjoy this drink from the comfort of your home. The dirty chai tea latte just requires a few ingredients:

  • Espresso: The addition of an espresso shot is what distinguishes a regular chai latte from a dirty chai latte. So, we’re within our rights to say that it’s one of the most important ingredients for this drink. You make espresso by forcing simmering water through well-ground coffee beans. Depending on the number of coffee beans, the brewing process will yield single or double espresso shots. You can brew espresso with darker or lighter coffee roasts. When done the right way, your shots of espresso will form a golden-brown cream on the surface.
  • Spiced black tea: You can also call it masala chai or chai concentrate. Alongside the espresso, it’s another ingredient that distinguishes the dirty chai latte from the regular chai latte you know. Although it can be made from a single spice, for instance, fresh ginger, it’s usually a blend of different spices. Notable examples are cloves, cinnamon powder, and cardamon.
  • Froth milk: For this drink, you won’t be adding cold milk but steamed milk. Frothed milk is made by exposing the milk to steam till it bubbles. It’s made in a milk frother. It can be achieved with any kind of milk (skim milk, full-fat milk, nonfat milk, and even plant-sourced milk like oat milk)
  • Sweeteners: This ingredient is not essential, but it can be added if you want it in your caffeinated drink. Good examples include brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, and honey. You can use any of these (in the desired quantity) to sweeten your hot drink.

This is the basic dirty chai latte recipe. Coffee shops and even some individuals tend to get creative with their recipes, but every list will indeed have the first three ingredients.

Secondary ingredients include:

  1. Star anise
  2. Black pepper
  3. Fennel seed
  4. Peppercorn

3 Ways to Make Dirty Chai Latte (and their recipes)

Now, let’s show you how to make a dirty chai latte. As lovers of variety, we won’t just limit your knowledge to one way to make dirty chai latte. You’ll be learning three different ways to make this delicious drink. Each method is best suited to the time of the day. Stay with us.

The Morning Drink – Dirty Chai Latte

Want to wake up and have a cup of dirty chai latte to get you supercharged for the day? Use this recipe:

  • A single espresso shot
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chai powder or black tea bags
  • 1-2 cups of milk
  • Cinnamon or ginger for the toppings (optional)

To make this drink:

  • Use your milk frother to hear your milk and get it bubbling.
  • Transfer the heated milk to a cup.
  • Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of chai powder or black tea bags (according to your preference) and stir till they’re well blended.
  • Brew a fresh, single espresso shot and pour it into your chai mixture.
  • Use your teaspoon to stir it together.
  • Then add your preferred toppings.

A Lunch Drink- Dirty Dalgona or Dirty Whipped Chai Tea Latte

For this drink, you’ll need two sets of ingredients. One is for the chai latte while the other is for the whipped component.

We’ll start with the chai latte ingredient:

  • 1-2 cups of cold milk
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • Ice
  • 1 teaspoon of Arkadia chai tea spice

The ingredients for the whipped component include:

  • 2 tablespoons of instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of Arkadia chai tea spice
  • 2 tablespoons of boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar

To make this drink:

  • Pour all the ingredients for the whipped component into a bowl and mix them for about 8 minutes.
  • Take a serving cup, add 1 teaspoon of the chai tea spice with very little water, and stir.
  • Then add ice and milk to the mixture in the cup.
  • Use your whipped dirty chai as the topping for this mixture. It should be very thick.

End Your Day – Dirty Espresso Martini

Want to add a little more spice to your espresso martini? Let’s show you how.

Get the following ingredients:

  • A shot of Vodka
  • A shot of Kahlua
  • 1 teaspoon of chai spice
  • 1 espresso shot
  • Ice

To make this drink:

  • Brew your espresso in the espresso machine and give it time to cool down.
  • Get a cocktail shaker, add espresso with the chai spice inside, and then stir it.
  • Then add your ice, Vodka, and Kahlua. Shake it thoroughly.
  • Serve the drink in a martini glass. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information of Dirty Chai Latte

It’s important to know what you’re drinking, and we’re not referring to the name or the ingredients. We’re talking about the nutrition present in the drink. A cup of dirty chai latte contains about 4g of protein, 20mg of cholesterol, 75mg of sodium, 29g of total carbs, 3g of saturated fat, 4.5g of total fat, and 27g of total sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How Much Caffeine Is In A Dirty Chai Latte?

This drink gets its caffeine from two of its primary ingredients – the espresso and the chai tea concentrate. A 12-ounce serving (with an espresso shot) of this drink will have about 160mg of caffeine. If you use 2 shots of espresso, there will be a higher caffeine content in your drink.

How Many Calories Are In A Dirty Chai Latte?

The amount of calories in this drink is identical to what’s in the chai tea latte – 240 calories.

Why Is The Drink Called A Dirty Chai Latte?

A dirty chai latte is simply a chai latte with a muddy brown color. The reason for the coloration is the addition of espresso to the tea.

How Can I Store Dirty Chai Latte?

Keeping it in an airtight container or jar and refrigerating it. This should preserve your drink for about a week.

What’s The Difference Between Chai Latte And Dirty Chai Latte?

There’s only one difference – the addition of espresso to the brew.


Dirty chai latte is the people’s drink, and the good thing is, you know how to make it. This means fewer trips to Starbucks or other coffee shops. It also implies you’ll spend less on your favorite coffee tea drink. Remember that the dirty chai latte recipe can be modified according to your preference, but you can’t take out the espresso. If you do, then you’re just drinking a chai tea latte. If you want your drink to be stronger, you can double your espresso shot.

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