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Dirty Chai Latte

This dirty chai latte recipe (AKA chai coffee) is a wonderful, spicy coffee drink perfect for the fall season!

A mug of dirty chai latte with spices around it.

If you’re looking for a fun way to mix up your fall drink routine, I’ve got the perfect idea for you: A dirty chai tea latte!

This spicy tea + espresso drink is perfect for both tea enthusiasts and coffee lovers!

And I’ll be showing you how to make it without any fancy equipment! 

Okay, let’s chat about it:

What is a Dirty Chai Latte?

A dirty chai latte is basically a chai latte that has a shot of espresso added. The addition of the coffee makes it “dirty” or “naughty.” It’s sometimes even called a filthy chai latte, java chai, espresso chai, or red eye chai.

So the difference between a chai latte and a dirty chai latte is simply the added coffee: that’s all!

You can make a double dirty chai latte by adding two shots of espresso instead of one.

Quick Note: I’m aware the chai means tea, so saying chai tea is redundant. Also, the proper name is Masala Chai (Masala chai typically refers to a mix of black tea leaves and various spices), not simply chai. However, I refer to it as chai tea sometimes in this post for SEO and clarity!

What Does a Dirty Chai Latte Taste Like?

It tastes a lot like a pumpkin spice latte, without the added earthiness of the pumpkin puree.

It has those hints of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper blended with the smoky coffee flavor.

The pairing of coffee and the blend of spices in chai tea is a match made in heaven IMO.

A mug of dirty chai latte with spices around it.


What is in a Dirty Chai Latte?

If you’re talking about the Starbucks version, the ingredients are hot milk, water, espresso, and chai tea concentrate.

A dirty chai latte isn’t actually on the main Starbucks menu: you have to order a chai latte and ask for a shot or two of espresso to be added.

I’ll show you what I like to add to my homemade dirty chai latte below:

Dirty Chai Latte Ingredients:

All of the ingredients to make a dirty chai latte laid out on a white countertop.

For a DIY dirty chai, the ingredients are pretty similar. But I switched up a couple of ingredients to make it even better.

You’ll need:

Hot Water: You’ll need boiling water to brew the tea, and hot water to brew the coffee.

A Chai Tea Bag: You can find Masala Chai in most grocery stores these days. Make sure to check out my chai review for my favorite brands of chai tea bags! See notes at the bottom of this post for how to substitute loose leaf tea and chai concentrate.

Coffee Beans: You can also use ground coffee. I don’t own a burr grinder yet, so I just used the grinder at my grocery store set to espresso.

Maple Syrup: I think maple syrup is lovely in a dirty chai latte, but see notes for substitution ideas. 1 teaspoon is plenty for me, but if you have a sweet tooth, feel free to increase this amount!

Half and Half: Now, I like to use half and half instead of milk because it gives the latte a creamy texture. Since you’re using water for the tea and the coffee, that’s quite a bit of water in the drink.
So the added cream ensures that it’s nice and rich. But you could also use whole milk, or milk with a splash of heavy cream.

If you do opt for a non-dairy milk instead, I recommend oat milk. I personally do not like the taste of almond milk or coconut milk in hot lattes, but it’s up to your personal preferences.

Opening a bottle of Kalona SuperNatural Half and Half

Can we chat about half & half for a minute?

I love Kalona SuperNatural half and half for making creamy, dreamy lattes.

Not only does it taste yummy, it has some awesome health benefits as well:

  • It’s made with certified organic milk from pasture-grazed cows. You can read about why milk from pastured-grazed cows is nutritionally superior in my Kalona SuperNatural butter review post.
  • Since it’s batch pasteurized to just 145° F, it’s pretty much the next best thing to raw milk!
  • It’s non-homogenized, which is a rare find, even for organic half & half!

I find that it’s the perfect amount of creaminess for homemade lattes (or breves, if you want to get technical).

How to Make a Dirty Chai Latte:

Pouring boiling water on top of the chai tea bag in the mug.

The steps to making a dirty chai latte are pretty simple:

  • Brew the tea.
  • Brew the coffee.
  • Add the sweetener.
  • And froth the milk. That’s it!

Brewing the Tea:

First, you want to get your tea brewing.

Pour a little bit of boiling water over a chai tea bag in a mug or mason jar.

Putting a plate on the mug to retain the heat while the tea steeps.

Place a small plate on top of the mug. You want to do this because it keeps the heat inside the mug and helps the tea to steep, resulting in a stronger spicy flavor.

Since you’re using such a small amount of water, the water can cool down too quickly if you don’t cover the mug.

Squeezing out the chai tea bag into the mug.

Steep the tea for 5 minutes.

Squeeze the tea bag out into the mug and discard or reuse the bag.

Adding the maple syrup to the mug.

Pour a teaspoon or two of maple syrup into the tea.

The parts of an aeropress coffee maker on a counter.

Brewing the Coffee:

Now it’s time to make the coffee!

I personally like to use an Aeropress because it’s the best simulation of espresso without owning an espresso machine that I’ve tried. (Full disclosure: Aeropress gifted me this press almost 9 years ago).

If you’re lucky enough to own an actual espresso maker, you can substitute a shot of espresso.

And if you own a French press or moka pot, I’ve got tutorials on how to make espresso strength coffee with them in this video. That video also shows you how to make espresso with instant coffee powder.

If you don’t own any of those coffee making devices, you can substitute 2-4 tablespoons of very strongly brewed coffee. 

Placing the paper filter in the aeropress.

To use an Aeropress, dampen a paper filter and place it in the filter cap.

Screwing the bottom onto the aeropress.

Screw the filter cap onto the bottom of the chamber of the Aeropress.

Adding the ground coffee to the aeropress.

Add three tablespoons of finely ground coffee.

Pouring the hot water into the aeropress.

Put the chamber over the mug of tea and pour hot water (175° F or 80° C) up to the middle of the 1 on the side of the press.

Stirring the coffee in the aeropress.

Stir the coffee grounds and water together with the stir stick.

Plunging the aeropress.

Plunge the Aeropress down, going all the way to the grounds and pressing on them with the plunger.

I know it isn’t recommended to touch the grounds with the plunger, but it’s what I do. ?‍♀️

Frothing the milk with the hand pump milk frother.

Frothing the Half and Half:

Heat the half and half or cold milk in a small saucepan over the stove on medium heat to about 150° F (65° C).

From here, there are several ways you can froth the half and half. Check out my 8 Ways to Froth Milk Without a Machine post on The Pioneer Woman’s blog to learn how.

I personally like to use a hand pump milk frother to do the job.

Lifting the lid off of the hand pump milk frother.

I prefer the texture of milk frothed this way vs with a handheld stick frother.

But it is more difficult to clean up afterwards.

A mug of dirty chai latte with spices around it.

Now pour the frothed milk over the chai tea/coffee mixture in the mug, and you’ve got yourself a dirty chai latte!

A sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, or chai spice is a lovely addition! 



  • I like the flavor of maple syrup, but you could also sweeten this dirty chai latte with honey, vanilla syrup, a simple syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, or a pre-made coffee syrup.
  • To make a dirty vanilla chai, simply add ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. You could also use about 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla syrup instead of maple syrup.
  • Instead of a chai tea bag, you can use 2 teaspoons of loose leaf chai tea, or 2 to 3 tablespoons of chai tea concentrate (leave out the water if using concentrate).
  • I personally really like the flavor of Rishi Masala Chai, but Equal Exchange Chai Tea is also good. The Equal Exchange chai is stronger, but tends to be more one-note. The Rishi chai is a tiny bit weaker, but has a more full, bright flavor profile.
  • If you want a bigger caffeine boost, feel free to add extra espresso shots.

So that’s my dirty chai recipe! Make sure to check my other delicious drink recipes below!

More Tea Latte Recipes:

More Coffee Recipes:

More Copycat Starbucks Recipes:

Here’s a Video Tutorial for Y’all:

Thanks to Kalona SuperNatural for sponsoring this post! I ? their half & half!

If you make this recipe and enjoy it, please consider coming back and giving it a star rating! It really helps the blog out!

Yield: 1

Dirty Chai Latte Recipe

A mug of dirty chai latte with spices around it.

A chai latte made "dirty" with the addition of coffee!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 bag chai tea
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp maple syrup, (see note)
  • 1 shot espresso, (see note)
  • 2/3 cup Kalona SuperNatural organic half & half


  1. Place the chai tea bag in a mug. Pour 3 tablespoons of boiling water on top. Cover the mug with a small plate and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Squeeze the water out of the tea bag into the mug and set the tea bag aside.
  2. Pour 1-2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup into the mug.
  3. Add 1 shot of espresso.
  4. Heat the half & half to 150°F (65°F). Froth the warm half & half (see note).
  5. Pour over the tea/coffee mixture in the mug. Serve immediately.


  • You can use 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup, or to taste. 1 teaspoon = lightly sweetened. 
  • You can substitute 2-4 tablespoons of strongly brewed coffee for the shot of espresso.
  • I like to use an Aeropress to brew the coffee. To make using an Aeropress, place 3 tablespoons of finely ground coffee into the filter-lined chamber. Fill to the 1 line with 175 F (80 C) water, stir, and press.
  • If you don't have an espresso machine, you can froth the half & half using a handheld pump frother, French press, blender, etc.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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Updated on April 28, 2023


Monday 12th of October 2020

Which milk frother are you using that is shown in the photo and are you happy with it? Mine just broke and I need to replace. Thanks!

Erica Kastner

Monday 12th of October 2020

My sister gave it to me, so I'm not sure exactly which brand it is. But I *think* it's the HIC 14 oz stainless steel frother. I really like it. It's difficult to pour latte art with it since it doesn't have a spout, so I recently got a frothing pitcher that I dump the frothed milk into after I froth it in the pump frother. It's an extra step, but it's kind of necessary to get actual latte art.

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