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Dirty Chai Latte: What’s In It & How To Order From Starbucks

You may already be aware that there are a lot of restaurants, cafes and fast food joints that have secret menu items – well, Starbucks is no exception to this. Starbucks has a custom drink that does not appear on their usual menu called a dirty chai latte.

However, if you are not familiar with this drink, then you might be wondering what exactly it is and how you might order one. Perhaps you’ve heard of someone online or in your area who has done it before!

Dirty Chai Latte What’s In It & How To Order From Starbucks

In essence, a dirty chai latte is just a chai tea with shots of espresso added into the mix, and you can order this hot with steamed milk or you can have it iced.

Of course, there’s going to be a lot more you need to know about this. So we’ve written this handy guide that explains everything you need to know about the dirty chai latte. We’ll show you what’s in it and how you might be able to order it from Starbucks!

Ready to find out more? Read much more below!

Dirty Chai Latte

It’s no secret that Starbucks offers a whole host of different drinks and snacks. In fact, sometimes you can get lost just looking at their menu or trying to work out what the sizes all mean! 

However, as we said – it’s not just their usual menu that you need to think about. There are many items in plenty of different food and drink stores that offer secret items, and Starbucks is one of them with their dirty chai latte.

So, what is it?

What Is A Dirty Chai Latte?

As we briefly mentioned earlier, a dirty chai latte is simply a chai tea latte drink, but then shots of espresso are added before serving. You can have this drink iced if you want to, or you can have it hot made with steamed milk.

We should mention at this point that it’s not just Starbucks that could offer you a dirty chai latte. Any coffee shop that serves chai tea or chai lattes can make you a dirty chai latte – even if it is not on their visible menu.

What Is In A Dirty Chai Latte?

There are three main components of a dirty chai latte. These components consist of chai tea, milk and espresso. Of course, the fact that there are only three main components to this drink, you’d think it is pretty simple in terms of taste – but, it has a whole array of flavors!

The chai tea specifically is a mixture of multiple spices and black tea. These spices include things like cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. However, when the espresso is added in, even more flavors begin to shine through.

The espresso adds a roastiness to the drink and gives it a little more character and complexity.

What Does A Dirty Chai Latte Taste Like?

This question is interesting because the flavors of a dirty chai latte differ from place to place. A dirty chai latte from Starbucks is actually very sweet, likely due to the fact that the chai concentrate is sweetened with honey and sugar.

Then, as we said, when the shot of espresso is added – even though it is slightly bitter – it adds extra roastiness, character and of course a “coffee” flavor. This helps to cut through the super sweetness of the other ingredients.

As a result, the ingredients that mix together work incredibly well and you end up with an absolutely gorgeous drink that is difficult to match!

What Is The Caffeine Content?

You’re likely already aware that by adding black tea to espresso, you’re making a drink that packs a punch full of caffeine. In fact, Starbucks chai drinks have the most amount of caffeine in any tea drink. For example, a grande chai latte has 95 mg of caffeine.

Then, we must consider the caffeine content of the shot of espresso. Espressos are among the highest caffeine content coffee drinks as they are usually served in small amounts for a morning pick-me-up.

Every shot of espresso added to the drink adds an extra 75 to 85 mg of caffeine. So, any grande dirty chai latte you order will contain 170 mg of caffeine, whereas a blonde roast dirty chai has around 180 mg of caffeine.

It’s also worth noting that for all caffeine lovers out there, it’s possible to add even more by requesting a second shot of espresso – which equates to around 250 mg of caffeine! Oh, and if you are the opposite and prefer, Starbucks also offers a decaf espresso.

What Are The Other Dirty Chai Drinks?

We’ve briefly touched upon different dirty chai drinks, but to make it clear – there are three main types. There’s the:

  1. Hot dirty chai tea latte (made with steamed milk)
  2. Iced dirty chai tea latte (made with ice and cold milk)
  3. Blended dirty chai beverage (make with milk, ice and frappuccino syrup)

Of course, all of these can be ordered at Starbucks. But how might you do it? We’ll look at that next!

How To Order A Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte

How To Order A Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte

It’s important to remember that a dirty chai latte is a customized drink and as such, it does not appear on Starbucks’ usual menu. However, it can still easily be ordered by adding the ingredients to the base of the beverage.

As the drink is made of chai and espresso, you can start by ordering a chai tea latte or a caffe latte espresso. If you choose the former, then you can customize it by adding espresso shots. However, if you choose the latter, then you need to add chai syrup pumps.

Let’s take a closer look at the ways you could do this.

Chai Tea Latte With Espresso Shot

Made with chai concentrate, water, 2% steamed milk and a shot of espresso. All you need to do is order a chai tea latte from Starbucks’ tea menu of your chosen size and then customize it by adding a shot of espresso.

Ice Chai Tea Latte With Espresso Shot

Made in the same way as above but using ice instead of steamed milk. To order this, you only need to order an iced chai tea latte from Starbucks’ cold tea menu and then customize it with a shot of espresso. Pretty much the same as above, but cold!

Brewed Organic Chai Tea Latte With Espresso Shot

Made differently from the previous two with Teavana organic chai tea bags, hot water, 2% steamed milk and a shot of espresso. You order this a little differently because you’re going to ask for a chai tea latte made with tea bags and not chai concentrate.

There is a slight problem with this because you cannot do this on the Starbucks app, so you will need to ask in store if you’re hoping to order it like this. Once you have your base drink, all you need to do is add a shot of espresso and you’re done.

Caffe Latte With Chai Syrup

Made using espresso, steamed milk and chai concentrate, you need to start by ordering a caffe latte from the hot coffee section of the Starbucks menu. To turn this into a dirty chai, you just need to add pumps of chai syrup.

It’s worth noting that if you do it this way, you will notice it has a much stronger chai flavor than other ways to order the drink.

Iced Caffè Latte With Chai Syrup

Made with espresso, 2% milk, ice and chai concentrate and it’s possibly the easiest way to order the drink. You need to ask for an iced caffe latte and then add a pump of chai syrup. All of this you can do on the app!

Chai Frappuccino With Affogato-Style Shot

This is a very complex drink. It is made with chai concentrate, ice, whole milk, creme frappuccino syrup, whipped cream, brewed espresso and cinnamon.

Ordering this involves selecting a chai creme frappuccino from the blended beverages part of the menu and then customizing it by adding affogato-style shots. If you are using the Starbucks app, you can do this on the “espresso and shots” options.

Espresso Frappuccino With Chai Syrup

Made with brewed espresso, chai concentrate, ice, whole milk and coffee frappuccino syrup. Ordering this drink involves customizing a regular espresso frappuccino, so you will need to go in store to do this.

Once you’ve ordered a regular, you just need to add chai syrup and ensure it is blended in. Unfortunately the Starbucks app does not allow for this.

Additional Options For Your Drink

The whole point of ordering this drink (aside from being incredibly tasty!) is because you’re making it your way – so there’s no need to simply stop there. There’s a lot more you can customize with this drink.

  • Size – you can order tall, grande or venti 
  • Espresso roast – dark, blonde or decaf 
  • Preparation – standard, ristretto, long shots

As there are so many different options for you to choose from, you will likely want to go through all of the different options over a number of months and finally decide on your favorite! We recommend writing your findings down in a blog or journal.

The Bottom Line

And that’s everything you need to know about ordering the dirty chai latte from Starbucks! We hope this guide has given you everything you were looking for. Good luck on your caffeinated journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of your most frequently asked questions.

Can Vegans Order This Drink?

There are some vegan-friendly options available, but it’s very difficult to make this drink entirely vegan. Be sure to check before you drink this if you are vegan.

Is This Drink Healthy?

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying this as part of a healthy and balanced diet from time to time – but it’s not exactly healthy! It typically has a lot of sugar and caffeine.

Is The Drink Expensive?

Prices vary from store to store and depending on how you order it.


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