Coffee and tea are a great match. If you don’t believe me, then you probably haven’t tried the Dirty Chai Latte.
This beverage combines the best of both worlds for coffee fans and tea enthusiasts. In this recipe, I’ll guide you through the steps of crafting a delicious Dirty Chai Latte that’s as good as Starbucks but not as expensive.
What is a Dirty Chai Latte?
A Dirty Chai Latte is a fusion of a Caffe Latte and Masala Chai, popularly known as Chai Tea. Originating from India, Masala Chai is a spiced milk tea made with ancient healing herbs such as ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Adding the coffee gave it the “Dirty” moniker.
Today, the Dirty Chai Latte has become a staple in coffeehouses around the world, including Starbucks. I actually got my first Dirty Chai at a Starbucks, and I have been a fan ever since. I enjoy the soothing and warming effect of the beverage, with the flavors of coffee, the smooth creaminess of the milk, and the fragrant spices blending together.
But what I didn’t realize right away is that it’s quite easy to make at home, and today I’m showing you how.
Ingredients & Equipment to Make a Dirty Chai Latte
Let me kick things off with this lineup of ingredients and equipment that you need for making a Dirty Chai Latte:
- Mug and small plate: This is where you’ll prepare your Dirty Chai Latte.
- Coffee brewer, such as the Aeropress: The coffeemaker you’ll be using to make this recipe. Any brewer that can make strong coffee is good.
- Milk frother: Froths the half and half to complete the latte.
- Hot Water: Used to brew the chai and coffee.
- 1 Chai Tea Bag: A main ingredient for this recipe, which gives the drink its distinct taste. Any brand works, but I recommend Rishi Masala Chai or Equal Exchange.
- 15g coffee grounds: You want strong coffee that is medium-finely ground for brewing with the AeroPress.
- 2/3 cup Half and Half: The half-and-half milk works better here because its extra creaminess balances the flavor of strong coffee and tea.
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup: Gives sweetness to the Dirty Chai Latte. Add or reduce based on your preference.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Dirty Chai Latte
The numerous ingredients may seem daunting, but I promise you, once you have everything you need, making a Dirty Chai Latte is a breeze.
In this recipe, I use an Aeropress to brew strong coffee right into the tea, but you can use whatever brewer you like, as long as you get strong coffee. For example, a shot of espresso is equally good.
Just follow these steps:
1. Put boiling water and a chai tea bag in a mug.
- Put a chai tea bag in an empty mug.
- Boil some water and pour a little (about 45 ml) over the tea bag.
2. Cover the mug and set aside.
- Take a small plate and cover the mug.
- This will help keep the heat as the tea bag steeps in hot water.
3. Prepare your AeroPress.
- Disassemble your AeroPress and take a paper filter.
- Wet your paper filter, insert it into the filter cap, and screw it back into the chamber.
4. Place your AeroPress over your mug of tea.
- Take your mug and remove the tea bag. Squeeze it a bit to get those extra extracts before you throw it away.
- Place your AeroPress over your mug.
5. Add coffee grounds to the AeroPress chamber and pour hot water.
- Put your finely ground coffee into the chamber of your AeroPress.
- Grab your kettle and pour 175°F (80°C) water into the chamber until it reaches the middle of number 1 printed on your AeroPress.
6. Stir, wait, and plunge the AeroPress.
- Take your AeroPress stir stick and mix the coffee and water 10 times.
- Put the plunger into the top of the Aeropress, but don’t plunge yet, this is just to minimize dripping.
- Wait about 1 minute 30 seconds.
- Plunge the AeroPress, brewing pushing the coffee into the tea.
7. Add maple syrup and frothed half and half.
- Add maple syrup to give it some sweetness. Adjust this to your preference.
- Froth half and half with a steam wand or by heating the milk and using a hand frother. Pour the half and half next.
- Serve and enjoy!
What kind of cup should you serve a Dirty Chai Latte in?
I think the chai latte is best served in a glass mug, so you can see the milk and coffee mixing together.
Barista Tips for Making a Dirty Chai Latte
Here are some extra tips for your Dirty Chai Latte brewing:
- Use espresso: Any strong coffee works with this recipe, and if you have an espresso machine, I recommend using that instead of the AeroPress. The complexity and intensity of espresso really blend well with the Masala Chai.
- Try plant-based milk: If you’re wary about the dairy of half and half, you can also use plant-based milk such as oat milk which can give your drink a slight sweetness that isn’t overpowering.
- Make your own Chai: Making your own Masala Chai is also on the table, with some extra ingredients and time. Crush some cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, and peppercorn, and boil them with ginger and loose black tea.
Start Making a Dirty Chai Latte
Combining the comfort of tea and the warmth of latte results in a Dirty Chai that I love sipping during lazy weekend mornings. The earthy, sweet, and spicy flavors really complement the complexities of coffee and the creaminess of the milk.
So go ahead and make your Dirty Chai today. And feel free to share the experience in the comments section below.