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Dirty Chai Latte Starbucks Recipe: Whip it Up at Home!

Dirty Chai Latte

Dirty chai lattes have become a popular beverage choice among Starbucks enthusiasts, offering a creative twist on the classic chai latte by adding a shot of espresso.

The delicious dirty chai latte drink has the perfect balance of bold flavors, featuring the aromatic spices of chai tea paired with the robust taste of espresso.

Making a dirty chai latte at home is not only a cost-effective way to treat yourself but also an opportunity to customize your drink to your preferences. Trying to recreate this Starbucks favorite at home? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with a simple recipe and some handy tips.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn to make a Starbucks-inspired dirty chai latte at home.
  • Discover variations and customization options for your latte.
  • Explore tips and tricks to make the perfect dirty chai latte without a milk frother.

What Is A Dirty Chai Latte?

dirty chai latte

A dirty chai latte is a delicious combination of a traditional chai latte with a shot of espresso added for an extra kick of caffeine. This drink is perfect for those who love the sweet and spicy flavors of a chai latte but crave the energy boost that comes with a cup of coffee.

Where Does Dirty Chai Come From?

The origins of dirty chai are a bit unclear, but it’s most likely a Western adaptation of the classic chai latte. Chai tea lattes, originating from India, are made with masala chai, a spiced tea made with a mixture of black tea, spices, and milk.

By adding in a shot of espresso, coffee-loving cultures have found a way to bring two beloved beverages together for a unique and flavorful experience.

Why Is A Dirty Chai Latte Called “Dirty”?

The term “dirty” in a dirty chai latte refers to the addition of espresso to the chai latte. The espresso “dirties” the traditional chai flavor with its robust coffee taste. Additionally, the color of the drink tends to darken with the presence of espresso, further justifying the name. Don’t worry, though – the term “dirty” is only referring to the appearance and flavor of the drink, not the actual cleanliness!

What Is In The Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte?

A dirty chai latte set up

So you’re curious about the Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte? You’ve come to the right place! Let’s dive into what makes this delicious beverage so special.

First things first, the dirty chai latte is a unique combination of two well-loved drinks: the chai tea latte and the espresso. What makes it “dirty”? It’s the addition of the espresso shot! But don’t worry, we promise it’s not a bad kind of dirty. Now, let’s break down the ingredients:

  • Chai tea concentrate: This flavorful mix forms the foundation of the drink. It’s made from a blend of black tea, spices, and sweeteners. The spices usually include cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom.
  • Espresso: A strong, concentrated coffee brewed by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. One shot of espresso is added to the chai tea latte, giving it its signature kick.
  • Milk: You can choose your favorite milk to go with your dirty chai latte. Whole milk, skim, soy, almond, or oat milk – the choice is yours!
  • Water: Usually, some hot water is added to balance out the intensity of the beverage.

Optionally, you can top your dirty chai latte with a dollop of whipped cream for a more indulgent treat. Keep in mind that this will alter the drink’s nutritional information.

If you’re not sure of which coffee beans to use, read our article Best Coffee Beans On Amazon: Top Finds For Your Perfect Brew In 2023. This article showcases some of the very best coffee beans that you can buy on Amazon to create a delicious beverage!

Homemade Dirty Chai Latte Starbucks Recipe

Pouring chai tea concentrate in a cup

Making a Dirty Chai Latte similar to what you might find at Starbucks involves a few simple steps and some basic equipment.


  • Espresso Machine or Coffee Maker: For brewing espresso or strong coffee.
  • Milk Frother (for the hot version) / Shaker or Jar with Lid (for the iced version): To froth milk for the hot version or shake the ingredients for the iced version.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For precise measurements.
  • Saucepan (optional, for hot version): If heating milk on the stove.
  • Mug (for hot version) / Glass (for iced version): For serving.


  • Espresso or Strong Coffee: 1 shot (about 1 ounce). Use strong coffee if espresso is not available.
  • Chai Tea Concentrate or Brewed Chai Tea: Use concentrate directly or steep a chai tea bag in hot water.
  • Milk: ¾ cup for the hot version; ½ cup for the iced chai latte version. Any type of milk works.
  • Ice Cubes (for iced version): As needed.
  • Sweetener (Optional): Honey, sugar, brown sugar, or a sugar substitute to taste.
  • Ground Cinnamon or Nutmeg (Optional): For garnish.

Now that you have everything you need let’s make two versions of dirty chai tea lattes:

Instructions for Hot Dirty Chai Latte:

  1. Brew Espresso/Coffee: Prepare one shot of espresso or strong coffee.
  2. Prepare the chai concentrate. If using store-bought chai concentrate, simply measure out the desired amount (usually 1/2 cup). If you’re making your chai concentrate from scratch, combine appropriate amounts of black tea, spices, and hot water.
  3. Heat the milk. In a small saucepan, heat your choice of milk to your desired temperature. Be careful not to let it boil.
  4. Froth the milk. Use a milk frother or whisk to create foam and froth for your chai latte.
  5. Assemble your dirty chai latte. In your cup, combine the chai concentrate with the brewed espresso or strong coffee. Then, pour the heated and frothed milk on top of the chai and espresso mixture, ensuring you create a nice, foamy layer.
  6. Sweeten and Garnish: Add sweetener if desired. Garnish with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Instructions for Iced Dirty Chai Latte:

Here’s how to make the iced version of this dirty chai tea latte recipe:

  1. Brew the Espresso/Coffee: Prepare one shot of espresso or a strong coffee. Allow it to cool down a bit before using.
  2. Prepare the Chai: If using chai concentrate, use it directly. If using a tea bag, brew the chai tea and let it cool.
  3. Mix Ingredients: In a shaker or a jar with a tight lid, combine the cooled espresso/coffee, chai, and milk. Add sweetener if desired.
  4. Shake: Shake the mixture well to ensure everything is well combined and the drink is chilled.
  5. Serve: Fill your serving glass with ice cubes, then pour the shaken chai latte mixture over the ice.
  6. Garnish: Sprinkle a bit of ground cinnamon or nutmeg on top for extra flavor and aroma.

Enjoy your homemade Iced Dirty Chai Latte! It’s a perfect drink for warm days or when you need a refreshing pick-me-up.

dirty chai latte starbucks recipe card
Recipe Card for Dirty Chai Latte

This recipe is just one of the many we have on our website. For more delicious coffee recipes, take a look at the recipe section of our website here: Recipes – espressoinsider.

Some other recipes that might interest you may include

  1. Homemade Vanilla Frappucino Recipe: Delicious And Refreshing
  2. Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte Recipe: Easy And Delicious

Tips To Make A Dirty Chai Latte Better Than Starbucks

spiced dirty chai latte

Are you tired of paying for expensive Starbucks drinks? Why not make your own dirty chai latte at home and customize it to your taste? Here’s how you can create the perfect dirty chai latte that’s even better than Starbucks!

Choose the Right Chai Tea

Start by selecting a high-quality chai tea that blends the flavors of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and pepper. For an extra kick, you can even mix in some whole spices like star anise or nutmeg. Buying loose-leaf chai tea or making your own chai concentrate at home will provide a more authentic and richer taste.

Customize Your Caffeination

Not everyone wants a fully caffeinated drink, or maybe you prefer a decaffeinated version. The good news is you can customize your dirty chai latte to suit your caffeine needs. Make sure to use the right espresso shot or even replace it with a decaf shot.

Choose Your Milk

With so many plant-based milk alternatives out there, you can go dairy-free or vegan in your dirty chai latte. Opt for almond, soy, or even oat milk for a creamy texture. Froth your milk of choice with a milk frother for that extra foamy layer.

Pick a Sugar Substitute

Want to enjoy your dirty chai latte without the guilt or sugar crash later? Swap out sugar for a sugar-free sweetener, or even go for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

Experiment With Spices

To make your dirty chai latte truly unique, amp up the flavors! Add a pinch of your favorite spices, like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, anise, or even cloves, for a personalized taste that’s certain to tantalize your taste buds.


Whether you’re in the mood for a cozy, warm beverage or a refreshing, chilled drink, this Dirty Chai Latte Starbucks recipe offers the best of both worlds. The recipes for both the hot and iced versions are straightforward and customizable. With only a few simple ingredients and basic kitchen equipment, you can enjoy this delightful fusion of coffee and tea at any time of the day.

Top view of dirty chai latte with various spices and toppings

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to make this drink dairy-free?

Yes, you can easily make a dairy-free Dirty Chai Latte by substituting the milk with any non-dairy alternative, like almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or coconut milk. These options can add a unique flavor to your latte.

How can I adjust the sweetness of my Dirty Chai Latte?

The sweetness can be tailored to your preference. You can add more or less honey, sugar, or any sugar substitute. Start with a small amount and adjust as per your taste.

Can I use chai tea bags instead of chai concentrate?

Yes, a chai tea bag can be used. Simply steep it in hot water as you would for a regular cup of tea, then use this brewed tea in place of the chai concentrate in the recipe.

What are the calorie counts for Starbucks dirty chai lattes?

The calorie count for a Starbucks dirty chai latte depends on the size and type of milk you choose. For example, a 16-ounce (Grande) dirty chai latte made with 2% milk contains approximately 240 calories. You can find the exact calorie count by customizing your beverage on the Starbucks website or mobile app.

How many espresso shots are in various dirty chai sizes?

Typically, a Tall (12 oz) dirty chai latte includes one shot of espresso, a Grande (16 oz) contains two shots, and a Venti (20 oz) has three shots. However, you can always customize your dirty chai latte by requesting more or fewer espresso shots.

What’s the best way to froth steamed milk without a frother?

If you don’t have a milk frother, you can heat the milk and then use a whisk to froth it manually. Alternatively, you can shake the hot milk vigorously in a jar with a tight-fitting lid (be cautious with hot liquids).

Veronica McCoy

Veronica McCoy

Hi there, I’m Veronica a caffeine addict and coffee lover. Coffee has always been more than just a drink to me; it’s a journey of flavors, stories, and traditions. This blog is where I share my appreciation for the subtleties of different brews and the nuances of coffee-making. Through careful observation and a genuine interest, I delve into the details that make each cup unique. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee lover or just starting to explore, I hope my insights offer a fresh perspective. Thanks for stopping by.

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