How to Make the Best Dirty Chai Latte With Only 3 Ingredients

By Lisa Frania — / Recipes

This Dirty Chai Latte Recipe Is To Die For 

When you’re looking to add a little “spice” to your life—without the hassle and expense of heading to the coffee shop around the corner, splurge on this tasty and simple Dirty Chai Latte recipe. Made with Death Wish Coffee Pumpkin Chai, it offers seasonal flavor notes that are similar to what you'd find in a chai tea. This blend of cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg is the perfect ingredient for the best Dirty Chai Latte that you can make right at home. 

top down view of a cup of chai coffee [Photo credit: Maw Mu via Unsplash] 

What Is a Dirty Chai Latte? 

A typical chai latte is a spiced tea drink that is made with frothed milk. “Chai” is the Hindi word for “tea,” and “latte” is the Italian word for “milk,” so in simple terms, a chai latte is tea with milk. Although there are many chai variations people use today, masala chai is the type of Indian milk tea that is typically used in a chai latte. It includes spices such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  

The “dirty” version of the chai latte steps it up a notch and adds a shot of espresso. The first dirty chai latte was more of an accidental invention, apparently. In England in the 1990s, a barista making a chai latte for an American patron mistakenly added a shot of espresso—the "oops" turned into a love affair. The American loved it and continued to order it wherever he traveled.  

How To Make a Dirty Chai Latte  

Ingredients: 

Instructions: 

  1. Make your Death Wish Coffee Pumpkin Chai, whichever way you like. (We suggest using a French press, an AeroPress or Chemex to ensure strong coffee.)
  2. Add the milk and stir completely. See below for tips on how to froth.
  3. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the mixture—or you can use cinnamon to rim the glass for an over-the-top finishing touch for your homemade Dirty Chai Latte.

cup of chai with spoon[Photo credit: Fauzan via Unsplash] 

Pro Tips:  

How To Froth Milk With or Without a Frother 

It's not 100% necessary, but adding frothed milk to this chai tea coffee recipe will bring out your inner barista. 

  • The best milk for a dirty chai latte? Fresh 2% milk is best for getting a nice frothy foam (whole milk if you like a richer taste). Stay away from skim milk—it won’t foam enough. You may find that a container of milk that has been open for several days will no longer froth.  You can also use soy milk (or another vegan/plant-based creamer/milk like oat milk instead). 
  • Heat the milk to scalding (150 F). If you want the perfect frothy foam, get the temperature just right. Double check with a food thermometer if you have one available. If you don’t, heat the milk until it’s hot to the touch and you see small bubbles starting to form on the outside (but not yet simmering). 
  • Use a French press, hand frother or whisk. Add the scalding milk to the French press (it works great!) and pump vigorously until frothy, about 100 times for 2% milk or approximately 1 minute; use 50 times for whole milk.) Rest the foam for about 30 seconds, which allows it to set.  
  • Shake the hot milk in a mason jar if you don’t have a frother. 

three glasses of lattes[Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash] 

How to Make an Iced Dirty Chai Latte 

If you’d rather sip on an iced coffee, with a process similar to the hot Dirty Chai Latte recipe, you can make an Iced Dirty Chai Latte instead. Just skip the milk frothing.   

Ingredients: 

Instructions: 

  1. Make your Death Wish Coffee Pumpkin Chai, whichever way you like. (We suggest using a French press, an AeroPress or Chemex to ensure strong coffee.)
  2. Measure out 2 ounces and put it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to let it chill—or at least get to room temperature. (You won’t want to melt your ice too quickly and water down your drink.)
  3. Fill a 16-ounce cup or mason jar with about 1 1/2 cups of ice. 
  4. Pour the chai coffee over the ice.
  5. Add the milk and stir completely.
  6. Add whipped cream and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon to the mixture—or you can use cinnamon to rim the glass for a festive—and tasty touch.

Pro Tip: Cold brew would work great, too! 

Latte with creamer and cinnamon[Photo credit: Karl Chor  via Unsplash] 

More Coffee Drinks 

This simple-to-make Dirty Chai Latte is great hot or iced. It has the spicy chai flavor you love, along with a feisty, caffeinated kick—the perfect afternoon drink that will help you tackle the daily grind in style.   

Related Articles:  

Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew: What's the Difference?-Death Wish Coffee Company 

The Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee: How to Make Cold Brew, Recipes-Death Wish Coffee Company 

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