Chai lattes are very popular these days, and chances are you’ve seen them on the menu at your favorite coffee shop. You’ve probably even had a few. Chai lattes are typically made with black tea, spices, and frothed milk. A dirty chai latte adds coffee to the mix, usually as a shot of espresso.
If you love the spicy goodness of chai tea, you’ll love a dirty chai latte too. In this recipe, we’re going to show you how easy it is to make a dirty chai latte at home and also give you some ideas to spice it up…pun very much intended!
What You’ll Need
The bare minimum ingredients required to make a dirty chai latte are tea, spices, milk, and coffee. Plain black tea is the most common choice, but you can use another tea if you prefer. Look for a strong tea. A weak tea will get lost in the spices and coffee.
Chai spices are where chai lattes get their name. Many spices are used in chai lattes, but the most common ones are cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, cloves, and ginger. You can also get a premade blend of spices if you don’t want to make your own blend.
You will also need some coffee. Most often, a shot of espresso is what puts the dirty in dirty chai latte. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can use your favorite kind of coffee. We’ll give you some alternatives at the end, but we’re going to assume you have espresso for now.
Last on the list is milk. Any dairy or non-dairy milk will do, so choose your favorite. If you’re looking for a recommendation, we like to mix almond and dairy milk in a 1:1 ratio.
How to Make a Dirty Chai Latte:
Ok, now that you have your ingredients and equipment ready, let’s go!
1. Make the tea.
Boil 1 cup of water for the tea. Once the water has boiled, add your tea and steep for 3-5 minutes. We prefer a more robust tea flavor and usually let the tea steep for close to the full 5 minutes.
2. Heat and froth the milk.
In the small saucepan, heat 3 ounces of your choice of milk until it reaches a low boil. Frothing the milk takes this recipe to the next level, but don’t worry if you don’t have a milk frother. Whisking vigorously or shaking the milk in a sealed container are both great ways to simulate frothing.
3. Pull a shot of espresso.
While the tea and milk are heating, make one shot of espresso. It can be tricky to get the timing right but don’t worry. It’s not a big deal if you have to wait for the coffee or tea to finish. We’re combining all hot ingredients so the final drink won’t get cold quickly
4. Measure your spices.
Measure out your spices. How much spice you want depends on taste, but a good starting point is 1-2 tablespoons of chai spice. If you are blending your own spices, start with ¼-teaspoon of each. With our recommended spices, ¼ teaspoon each makes a total of 1½ teaspoons of spices.
5. Combine the tea and coffee.
Combine the tea, espresso, and spices in a large mug and stir.
6. Add the milk and enjoy!
Add the frothed milk. A nice touch is to sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon over the top. This gives it a coffee shop feel and a pleasant cinnamon aroma.
What If You Don’t Have an Espresso Machine?
Not everyone has an espresso maker at home. Even though a dirty chai latte is traditionally made with a shot of espresso, you can use any coffee. The key to getting it as close as possible to coffee shop quality is using strong coffee.
Another good choice is French press. If you choose to use a French press, make it about twice the strength of your regular cup. If your standard is a 16:1 water to coffee ratio, try making 8:1 instead.
What If You Don’t Have a Milk Frother?
We mentioned above that the milk frother is not necessary to make a dirty chai latte. You can shake heated milk in a tightly sealed container, stir or whisk it vigorously, or even use a French press. The plunger in a French press is a great way to froth milk without a frother. Pour the milk into the French press and plunge up and down quickly until the milk is thick and creamy.
Spice It Up
What spices you use is entirely up to you, and we encourage you to experiment! There are as many combinations of spices as there are recipes for dirty chai lattes. Our recommendation in this recipe is just a guide for where to start. Some people only use a few spices; others use more. The only way to find out if something is good is to try it! Add or subtract a little at a time and see how the taste changes.
Use a Different Tea
Most chai latte recipes use black tea, but you can use whatever tea you like best. Green tea is a common alternative, but you might have to adjust your other ingredients to go with the weaker flavor. If you make a dirty chai latte with green tea, we suggest that you use 1-tablespoon of spices and about half the espresso. A great option is to make a green tea dirty chai latte with regular coffee instead of espresso. A regular cup of coffee won’t overpower the lighter green tea like a shot of espresso will.
That’s it! We hope this recipe for making a dirty chai latte gives you a great foundation to build from. Our recipe is our favorite way to make it, but part of the fun is experimenting and finding your own favorite method. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or expensive ingredients to make a delicious chai latte at home. All you need is tea, coffee, a dash of spices, some milk, and a willingness to explore new things!
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Featured image credit: insanelyseren, Pixabay
Table of Contents
- What You’ll Need
- How to Make a Dirty Chai Latte:
- What If You Don’t Have an Espresso Machine?
- What If You Don’t Have a Milk Frother?
- Spice It Up
- Use a Different Tea