Dirty Chai Recipe & 7 Variations That You'll Like a Latte

A dirty chai is basically the delicious love child of a chai and an espresso latte. Yummmm.

Published October 2, 2023
Warm Dirty Chai Latte with Milk and Spices

You’ve heard of a dirty martini, but what about a dirty chai? This tasty beverage incorporates the warm spices of a chai with the caffeine content and the nuttiness of espresso. It’s a great choice for people who consider themselves both tea and coffee lovers. Next time you need an extra jolt in the morning, order one at your favorite coffee shop or learn how to make a dirty chai at home.

What Is a Dirty Chai?

A dirty chai is a chai tea latte with one shot of espresso added to it. You can order this drink at pretty much any coffee shop, including Starbucks. My barista husband describes the taste as “a fusion between a spiced tea and coffee,” which is spot on (and delicious). It’s creamy because of the milk, spicy because of the chai seasonings, and earthy thanks to the espresso.

A traditional dirty chai usually comes with a single shot of espresso, but you can also order a double dirty chai (two shots) or even a triple (three shots) if you want an extra kick of caffeine. Just know the more espresso in your drink, the less creamy it’ll be, and the stronger the espresso taste will come through.

Quick Tip

If you’re solely a tea drinker and don’t like the taste of coffee, a dirty chai isn’t for you.

Classic Dirty Chai Latte Recipe

You can definitely make a dirty chai at home, so long as you have an appliance that’ll allow you to make espresso. Follow this classic recipe and adjust it to your liking.


  • Chai concentrate or chai tea bags
  • Brewed espresso
  • Milk of choice
  • Sweetener of choice
  • Ground cinnamon (optional)


  1. Follow the specific directions for the chai concentrate or tea bags, or make your own masala chai from scratch.
  2. Add a single shot of espresso.
  3. Add milk and sweetener to taste.
  4. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.
Quick Tip

A dirty chai with two shots of espresso is referred to as a “filthy chai.”

Dirty Chai Variations

The dirty chai is a pretty straightforward drink, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with this recipe. Make a chilled or boozy twist on the classic recipe with these easy variations.

  • Iced dirty chai latte: Pour your dirty chai latte over ice to make a delicious and refreshing drink.
  • Honey dirty chai: Use honey as your sweetener to give it a floral flavor.
  • Pumpkin dirty chai: Use pumpkin chai concentrate or add some canned pumpkin to your chai recipe to transform the classic recipe into a fall favorite.
  • Vanilla dirty chai: Add a bit of vanilla extract to your dirty chai to give it an upgrade.
  • Coffee dirty chai: Don’t have an espresso maker? Use an ounce of strong coffee in its place for a milder flavor. 
  • Dirty matcha latte: Add a shot of espresso to a matcha tea latte instead of a chai for a fun take on the recipe.
  • Irish dirty chai: Turn your dirty chai into an adult beverage by adding 1 ounce of Irish whiskey to it. Bottoms up!

Get the Par-Tea Started With a Dirty Chai

A dirty chai is a great caffeinated option that combines everything you love about chai and espresso in one delicious drink. Try it the next time your morning tea isn’t cutting. I think you’ll like it a latte.

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Dirty Chai Recipe & 7 Variations That You'll Like a Latte