HomeMilk Tea/ LatteCoffee Meet Chai: DIY Starbucks Dirty Chai Tea Latte
dirty chai tea latte

Coffee Meet Chai: DIY Starbucks Dirty Chai Tea Latte

Ever craved that delightful mix of espresso, spices, and steamed milk foam that makes Starbucks’ Dirty Chai Latte a go-to?

Well, guess what?

You can whip dirty chai tea latte up right in your own kitchen. No fancy barista skills needed.

Let’s get started!

dirty chai tea latte

What is a Dirty Chai Latte?

A Dirty Chai Latte is a fusion masterpiece that combines the spiciness of chai tea with the boldness of espresso.

It has the comforting warmth of chai spices—cinnamon, cardamom, ginger—mingling with the robust kick of a shot of espresso.

It’s a dynamic duo for tea and coffee lovers.

So, in simple terms, we’re talking about chai tea getting a little “dirty” with the addition of coffee.

Why? Because sometimes, the best things happen when unexpected flavors collide.

Where Does Dirty Chai Come from?

Dirty Chai’s humble beginnings trace back to a happy accident in the 1990s in England.

This is what happened – an American tourist orders a regular chai latte at Convent Garden, but the barista, oops, accidentally adds a shot of espresso.

Now, most folks might raise an eyebrow at a mix-up, but not this adventurous soul.

The customer decides to roll with it, takes a sip, and boom—a new sensation is born.

Fast forward, and now Dirty Chai Lattes are making waves in coffee shops across America.

Who would’ve thought a simple mistake could lead to such a tasty twist on tradition?

adding espresso in dirty chai tea latte

Why Is A Dirty Chai Latte Called “Dirty”?

Why on earth is it called “Dirty” Chai Latte? Well, the answer is surprisingly straightforward.

The term “dirty” in this context doesn’t mean your cup needs a wash.

It’s all about the unexpected, the mix-up that turned out to be a stroke of genius.

The “dirty” in Dirty Chai refers to the addition of a shot of espresso to the otherwise pure chai tea.

It’s a yummy twist, a bit rebellious, and a whole lot tasty.

Oh, and here’s a neat tidbit to add to the mix.

When espresso meets chai, it’s not just a flavor fusion—it’s a color shift.

The usual light pale brown of chai takes a turn to a dark, muddy brown, thanks to the coffee shot.

It’s just a chai getting a little makeover and embracing its “dirty” side.

Next time you see that rich, earthy hue, you’ll know it’s the mark of a perfect Dirty Chai Latte.

dirty chai tea latte starbucks

What is In the Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte?

Wondering what makes up the Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte, even if it’s a bit hush-hush?

When you hit up the Starbucks app to snag this off-menu gem, you’re essentially customizing a regular chai tea latte. The usual suspects are:

  • Milk
  • Milk Foam
  • Chai Syrup/Concentrate
  • Water

Now, if we unmask the standard chai latte ingredients, it’s a mix of:

  • Water
  • Milk
  • Chai Tea Concentrate (with a blend of black tea, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, cloves, ginger, natural flavors, and sweetened with sugar, honey, and a hint of ginger juice, vanilla, and citric acid)

So, you’ve got your typical chai tea latte setup, now you can do this while ordering: Add a shot of espresso.

Want to go “double dirty“? Throw in two shots.

Now, when you stroll up to the Starbucks counter, no need for secret handshakes.

Just confidently ask for a “Dirty Chai Latte” or, if you’re feeling extra bold, a “Double Dirty Chai Latte.”

The barista’s got you covered.

Oh, and here’s a money-saving tip for the savvy sippers in the US.

Instead of going the app route, consider this hack: Order a standard latte and add your preferred number of chai syrup pumps.

Seems like the secret menu’s not the only place where you can pull off a clever maneuver.

equipment for dirty chai tea latte

Equipment for Dirty Chai Latte

Here’s what you need for Dirty Chai Latte mastery:

  1. Saucepan – For the brewing magic.
  2. Coffee Mug – The vessel of delight.
  3. Measuring Cups – Precision matters.
  4. Measuring Spoons – No guesswork here.
  5. Chef’s Knife – Tame that ginger like a pro.
  6. Cutting Board – Where the ginger transformation happens.
  7. Spatula – Because every kitchen needs one.
  8. Milk Frother – A must for that creamy crown.
  9. French Press – Elevate your chai game.

No need for a cluttered countertop. Grab these essentials, and you’re ready to whip up your Dirty Chai Latte in style.

ingredients for dirty chai tea latte

Ingredients for Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte

Let’s get to the heart of it. Here’s what you need for your Dirty Chai Latte:

  1. Water – To bring the whole spices and tea to life.
  2. Milk – Opt for full-fat dairy or your milk of choice for a personalized touch.
  3. Ground Coffee or EspressoEspresso machine or French press, take your pick.
  4. Black Tea Leaves or Bags – Whichever suits your fancy.
  5. Ginger – A small piece, smashed for that zing.
  6. Vanilla Extract – A touch to enhance the medley of flavors.
  7. Whole SpicesCinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, black peppercorns, cloves, and star anise.
  8. SweetenerBrown sugar for a rich flavor; honey or granulated sugar are good alternatives.
  9. Ground Cinnamon – The finishing touch for garnish.

Now, you’ve got the lineup. Time to turn these into your go-to Dirty Chai Latte. No fuss, just flavor.

dirty chai tea latte

How To Make A Better Than Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte

No need for a Starbucks run when you’ve got this at home.

Here’s the lowdown on making a Dirty Chai Latte that outshines the rest:

  1. Ginger Smash: Crush ginger root pieces with a mortar and pestle or your trusty chef’s knife.
  2. Spice Infusion: Toss smashed ginger into a saucepan with water and whole spices. Bring it to a boil for 4-5 minutes until the water takes on a hint of yellow.
  3. Brew Brilliance: While that’s bubbling, whip up your espresso or French press coffee.
  4. Tea Time: Introduce tea leaves to the spice party. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the espresso or coffee.
  5. Flavor Fusion: Stir in vanilla and brown sugar to marry those delicious notes.
  6. Keep it Warm: Maintain that cozy concoction while you steam milk on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  7. Strain and Froth: Pour the tea through a fine mesh sieve into your teapot or cups. Froth up the milk using an electric frother or a trusty whisk.
  8. Final Touch: Gently pour that frothy milk into the cups.
  9. Garnish Grandeur: Sprinkle cinnamon powder and drop a star anise into each cup.
  10. Sip and Savor: Serve it up hot and relish the moment.

Related Milk Tea / Latte Recipes

dirty chai tea latte

Dirty Chai Tea Latte - Starbucks Secret!

Recipe by Tania FaysalCourse: DrinksCuisine: American


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No secrets, just a stellar recipe for your homebrewed Dirty Chai Latte. Enjoy!


  • 2 1/2 Cups Water, divided (1 cup for coffee, 1 1/2 cups for chai)

  • 3 Tbsp Ground Coffee or 2 servings of Espresso

  • 2-3 Tbsp Black Tea Leaves

  • 1 Tbsp Ginger, smashed

  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

  • 1/2 Cinnamon Stick

  • 2 Cloves

  • 8-10 Black Peppercorns

  • 2 Green Cardamom Pods

  • 3 Star Anise, separated (1 in chai, 2 for garnish in each cup)

  • 3 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

  • 1/4 Cup Whole Milk

  • Ground Cinnamon, for garnish


  • Smash ginger and boil with spices in 1 1/2 cups water for 4-5 minutes.
  • Brew espresso or coffee in a French press.
  • Add tea leaves to the spiced water, boil 2-3 minutes, then add espresso/coffee.
  • Stir in vanilla and brown sugar.
  • Keep warm as you steam milk; pour tea through sieve into cups.
  • Froth milk, then gently pour into cups.
  • Garnish with cinnamon powder and a star anise.
  • Serve hot and savor your homemade Dirty Chai Latte!


  • Boil ginger longer for a punchier tea.
  • Smash that ginger for maximum flavor infusion.
  • Don't overdo it – boil the tea for 2-3 minutes, no more.
  • Heat it to a simmer, not a boil. Stir to prevent burning.
  • Take your time frothing; aim for a double in size.
  • Slowly pour milk foam for that beautiful layered effect.
  • Use double-walled cups or a teapot to keep it hot, especially if you savor every sip.

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