A dirty chai latte may sound weird for those who don’t know what it is. A dirty chai is a drink that combines espresso and chai tea with steamed or foamed milk. You might think mixing tea with coffee is wrong, but it tastes so right. The dual caffeine boost is just what some of us need in the morning.
The “latte” part of this recipe comes from the addition of milk. You can use cow’s milk or plant-based milk for dairy-free versions. By using plant milk for this recipe, it turns the drink’s technical name from “Dirty Chai” to a “Dirty Hippie”. Interesting names for an interesting drink! Either drink is delicious, no matter what type of milk you use. This is an iced latte so there is no need to steam the milk beforehand.
For this particular dirty chai latte, I like to use lavender chai tea. The lavender gives an herbal note that is unique and totally delicious. Lavender also has a calming effect to it, acting as the “yin” to the caffeine’s “yang”. Most big tea makers sell different varieties of chai tea, so you can pick a variety that speaks to you. If you can find it, try the lavender version for a balanced and quenching drink.
Some may want some additional sweetness when making this iced dirty chai latte. You can add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar, agave, or Stevia to the espresso or chai tea when it’s hot so that the sugars dissolve. If you do not prefer your lattes sweet, you can omit this step and enjoy an unsweetened dirty chai latte.
Very strong espresso is preferred in this recipe. If you do not have an espresso machine, no worries. You can substitute espresso for very strong coffee. Simply brew some coffee with extra grounds so that the coffee is concentrated. You can also use cold brew if you have it.
Perhaps you prefer warm drinks over iced lattes. That’s totally fine! Instead of allowing the espresso and chai to cool completely before serving over ice, you can serve everything together warm in a mug. Warm dirty chai lattes are perfect for the colder season to enjoy by a cozy fireplace.
Taking the easy route is also an option. Some brands sell chai latte concentrates at the grocery store. If you can get your hands on a quality brand, that would be a welcome addition to this recipe. Brewing your own chai is typically healthier than store-bought, but it will save you some time in the process. You will also use less milk and sweetener with a store-bought chai concentrate.
An iced lavender dirty chai latte only has 6 ingredients, yet the flavor is so intense and delicious. It is a great way to switch up your coffee routine when you’re feeling bored with the standard milk and coffee.
Start by prepping your tea. Remove the tea bags from their packaging. Heat ¼ cup of water in the kettle or microwave. Once steaming, pour the water into a mug or bowl. Add the tea bags to the hot water and allow them to steep for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make 2 shots of espresso. If you do not have an espresso maker, just brew a small amount of very strong coffee. When the coffee or espresso is done, add the agave to the hot coffee and stir. Allow it to cool by placing in the fridge until the tea is steeped.
To a large glass, add your favorite milk for coffee. Add ice cubes.
Pour the steeped chai tea and the espresso into the milk. Stir carefully and well so that everything combines easily.
Taste for sweetness and add more agave as necessary. Serve immediately.