I went through a brief phase of ordering iced chais earlier this year. They were typically sweet, frothy vanilla milks dusted with cinnamon and I wished for more spice and less cream. Here's my first attempt at home, using a concentrate recipe from Healthy Slow Cooking. It's nothing like the syrups commonly found in cafes, it has the consistency of water and actually uses black tea and the spices that go into chai. I've been mixing one part concentrate to two parts almond milk in a glass with ice.
It's definitely much, much closer to what I'm after - lighter, brighter, spicier. Nevertheless I'll probably tinker with any future batches to get my preferred spice balance. I think I'd like more ginger, and possibly less cinnamon.
(slightly adapted from Healthy Slow Cooking)
6 cups water
5cm piece ginger, sliced coarsely
6 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
10 whole peppercorns
8 whole allspice berries
3 green cardamom pods
5 black tea bags
1/2 cup maple syrup
Pour the water into a slow cooker and add the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and allspice. Slice open the cardamom pods and scoop the seeds into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Remove the lid, add the tea bags and set the cooker to high for 5 minutes. Turn off the slow cooker and allow everything to cool down a little. Strain the concentrate into a jar and whisk in the maple syrup. Store the concentrate in the fridge.