How to make a dirty chai latte

Tea Equipment

Masala chai, a mixture of black tea, milk and various herbs and spices, first originated in India.

What you need to make dirty chai

You don’t always need to visit a fancy coffee shop or be a professional barista to enjoy your favorite espresso drinks. Anyone can easily add some flavor and spice to their latte with the right equipment and making a delicious dirty chai at home. 

We’ll outline the necessary ingredients and kitchen accessories that you’ll need while also providing a step-by-step guide, so you can get the perfect outcome every time you have a craving for chai. Great any time of year, as they can be made hot or iced, a well-made dirty chai will soon be your go-to afternoon pick me up. 

What is a dirty chai latte?

You make a classic dirty chai using a shot (or two) of espresso, a spiced black tea or traditional masala chai blend, steamed milk and a sweetener if desired. Dirty chai lattes offer a more significant caffeine boost than standard chai lattes, which forgo the espresso. 

Ingredients you’ll need for a dirty chai latte 

Chai tea bags

  • Espresso beans (whole or ground)
  • Chai tea bags or chai tea concentrate 
  • Milk or milk alternative (oat, almond, coconut and soy will all work)
  • Honey or similar sweetener 
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Kitchen accessories you’ll need for a dirty chai latte

Espresso maker 

For those of you who own an espresso machine, you’re already one step ahead. However, a simple stovetop espresso maker, moka pot or strongly brewed coffee will also do the trick. 

Coffee grinder

Unless you opt for pre-ground espresso, you’ll need a coffee grinder to get the fine consistency that’s required to make a quality shot of espresso. Again, you can find both premium and less expensive grinders to suit your budget. 

Milk frother 

One of the main aspects of a dirty chai is the frothed milk. Many espresso machines have built-in frothers, but a handheld frother, pump frother or even a standard whisk can create a foamy texture. 

Thermometer

Not everyone will use a thermometer when heating their water or milk, but achieving the ideal temperature will help create the most appealing and best tasting drink. 

What you need to buy for a dirty chai

DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

If you enjoy making professional quality espresso drinks for yourself or guests, investing in an espresso machine makes the process easier and quicker. This model is relatively inexpensive, includes a built-in milk frother and won’t take up too much room on your counter. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Bellemain Stovetop Espresso Maker 

Bellemain Stovetop Espresso Maker 

You can still achieve a robust espresso using this stovetop model for a fraction of the price, which operates directly on any gas or electric burner. It can make up to six dirty chai latte cups at a time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill

Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill

Grinding whole beans will make for a fresher tasting espresso and gives you more control over how coarse or fine you want your grounds. This burr coffee grinder has 18 different grind settings, so you can choose what works best for you. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Zulay Milk Boss Milk Frother 

Zulay Milk Boss Milk Frother 

A rechargeable milk frother is a perfect accessory for all espresso drinks, from dirty chai lattes to cappuccinos. The sturdy design means this convenient frother will last you many years. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Lavatools Javelin Digital Instant Read Thermometer

Lavatools Javelin Digital Instant Read Thermometer

A great multipurpose kitchen accessory, this digital thermometer can quickly read the temperature of your milk or water, making it a must-have for any serious coffee connoisseurs. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

How to make a dirty chai

There are a few popular methods for making a dirty chai, but by following these simple guidelines, you should produce a delicious latte each time. 

Brew the chai tea

mug

If using chai tea bags, pour ½ cup of hot water over your teabag into a mug and let steep for several minutes to extract the flavor. For a stronger taste, use two tea bags. 

You can skip this step if you’re using chai concentrate.

Make the espresso

Using your preferred method, make approximately 1 ounce of espresso for a single shot or 2 ounces of espresso for a double shot. 

Combine the tea and espresso 

Once the espresso is brewed, remove the teabag and combine the tea and espresso in your mug. At this point, you can stir in 1-2 teaspoons of honey or your preferred sweetener. 

Heat the milk

On the stovetop, using a small pot, add about ¾ cup of milk and heat until it reaches approximately 150 degrees. This is where a thermometer comes in handy. Try to avoid letting the milk boil, as it will affect the amount of foam that will form. You can also do this step simultaneously while making the espresso. 

When using a chai concentrate rather than tea bags, add one part concentrate to two parts milk and heat together. 

Froth the milk

frothing pitcher

Once the milk is heated, use a handheld frother or similar method and froth until light and foamy. You can do this step in the pot or a specialized frothing pitcher

Serve

Finally, pour the frothed milk into the tea and espresso mixture and top with cinnamon if desired. After that, all that’s left to do is taste and enjoy your dirty chai latte. 

Can I make my dirty chai iced? 

Yes, iced dirty chai is a delicious and refreshing treat during warmer weather. After brewing the chai tea and making the espresso, allow both to cool before pouring into a glass filled with ice.

When making an iced version, you won’t need to heat and froth the milk, but instead, simply pour in your desired amount. Once again, you can top with cinnamon to taste, and your dirty iced chai is ready to go. 

 

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