How To Make A Dirty Chai

We are right around the corner from full-blown autumn, which means several different things. The leaves will change, Halloween and Thanksgiving will come and go, and your favorite seasonal drinks will start to appear at all the local coffee shops! Here at Amora, autumn is a favorite of ours because as the air gets colder, we have a reason to drink more coffee.

In recent years, the pumpkin spice latte has grown to be one of the country’s favorite drinks, but it’s not the only autumn-themed drink around! For years, salted caramel drinks have been a fall staple at many coffee shops, and apple cider is one of the best things about the season changing. However, we think one drink doesn’t get enough love:

The Dirty Chai!

As a common ground for both tea and coffee lovers alike, the Dirty Chai is a great drink to try in the coming months of autumn and winter. This article will teach you a few different ways to make it yourself and what you might expect from a coffee house when you order a Dirty Chai Latte. If you’re ready to learn a new cold-weather drink and have a hankering for some delicious spiced flavors, then read on!

What Is a Dirty Chai? 

Don’t get turned off by the name because there’s nothing really “dirty” about this drink at all! The dirty aspect of the title simply refers to the way the two main ingredients interact with each other. The main two ingredients, coffee and tea, don’t often mix, so it can look a little strange when they combine to make a delicious drink. 

As far as we can tell, the Dirty Chai started around the late 1990s, when a barista mistakenly poured espresso into an already made chai latte, and the customer loved the new and exciting flavor! This is also why you sometimes see “Dirty Chai Tea Latte” instead of “Dirty Chai,” although the two names are practically interchangeable. The rest, as they say, is history.  

Over the years, recipe developers all over the globe have tweaked and improved on this original idea, and nowadays, you can order a Dirty Chai Tea Latte almost anywhere, although it might not go by that name. It has been called “java chai,” “red-eye chai,” and an assortment of other names, but the recipe has stayed pretty much the same. 

Now with all of the history out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and learn some dirty chai recipes!

The Dirty Chai Playbook

For starters, make sure that you have the right kind of chai for the job. Traditionally, a Dirty Chai starts with masala chai, a tea that comes from India. Unlike many teas, masala chai is made by steeping black tea in a mixture of boiling water and milk, which gives it a unique flavor and consistency. This isn’t the only way to make the drink, but if you want to stick to the original, masala chai is going to be your best bet.  

Once you’ve sorted out the tea aspect of the drink, it’s time to focus on the coffee! Sticking to the original idea again, you should prepare a shot (or two) of espresso to mix into the drink. 

Pro Tip: Two shots of espresso create a potent mixture, but if you’re a caffeine fiend at heart, you might opt for the double. 

Unfortunately, not everyone can easily make espresso, so a dirty chai latte at home can be a bit harder to pull off.  Never fear, however, because we’ll go over some alternate options in a minute!    


This is still our favorite recipe for a Dirty Chai, but it can present some challenges, so we’ve included a few other variations just in case. This recipe allows you to make Chai from scratch, but if you don’t have the time use our Chai Masala Tea instead. 

Make Your Chai Tea (Optional)

  • 3 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp black tea (or one tea bag of black tea)



  1. If you are using the whole version of your spices, grind them into a fine powder. Add your spices to a small saucepan along with the black tea and water, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. If you are using our Chai Masala Tea, steep tea in water.
  3. At the same time, make your espresso shot(s), and set them aside. 
  4. After your tea mixture has been boiling for about a minute, remove it from the heat and let it cool for a minute before straining the mixture into your mug of choice. 
  5. Pour your milk or milk alternative into a saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge. Don’t let it get much hotter, as the milk will burn!
  6. Once the milk is hot, use a handheld frother or french press to froth the steamed milk. 
  7. Pour your espresso shots and frothed milk into the mug containing the tea, and you’re done! 

As we said, this particular dirty chai latte recipe is reasonably involved, so we made sure to include some simple variations that might make it easier to create at home!


If you’ve had a version of this drink from any chain coffee shop, it may have been sweeter than the above recipe! This is because they utilize one of our simplest substitutions; chai tea concentrate. 

Chai concentrate is more potent than simply brewing the tea itself and is most often made with added sugar. If you want a sweet twist on the Dirty Chai Latte, this is an easy way to do it! 

To make an Iced Dirty Chai Latte, all you need is ice (no, really, it’s that simple)! Be warned, however, as simply pouring coffee over ice will significantly water down the final drink. Ensure that you have a stronger brew than average if you intend to turn it into an iced beverage!

We know that making a true masala chai blend can feel time-consuming and not really worth the effort sometimes, but we made it super easy. Our Chai Masala Tea  is made in the traditional way — by combining a very small leaf grade of organic black tea with a special blend of ginger, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and peppercorns.No need to look any further. 

Ultimate Power Couple: Coffee And Tea 

At Amora, we turned our love for coffee and tea into a business, and now ten years later, here we are! We offer top-quality coffee beans and tea leaves, delivered directly to your door, with no middle man necessary. We just want the world to have the best hot beverages possible, so come check us out at our blog, or try a subscription today!

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