12 Hacks To Upgrade Starbucks Steamed Apple Juice

Starbucks is an absolute coffee powerhouse, offering iconic seasonal drinks like Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Peppermint Mochas. However, the Starbucks experience extends far beyond just coffee and tea. While its Frappuccinos and Refreshers are popular, we're delving into something much simpler: the Steamed Apple Juice. On its own, Starbucks' Steamed Apple Juice is a delightful treat, but it also serves as an excellent base for a plethora of inventive and tasty customizations. 

Many of our hacks revolve around improving the Steamed Apple Juice, though some may have you start with the Caramel Apple Spice as a base. This drink consists of steamed apple juice with cinnamon dolce syrup, whipped cream, and caramel drizzle. We've explored a variety of unique twists, from adding different teas, a range of syrups, and chai, to incorporating Refresher bases, uncovering some of the most delicious and interesting ways to elevate the humble Steamed Apple Juice on your next visit.

Exploration into these unique drinks has revealed a fascinating truth: While many of these creations are kid-friendly, their appeal and rich flavors are so captivating that adults, too, may discover a new beverage to add to their order rotation. These steamed apple juice variations showcase the broad spectrum of Starbucks' menu, highlighting that your experience needn't be confined to just lattes and frappuccinos. It's a reminder of the limitless possibilities for customization and creativity in the world of beverages, especially in a place as versatile as Starbucks.

Caramel Apple

If you're looking for a saccharine take on Starbucks' Caramel Apple Spice, try this sweeter version ─ which gives us all the vibes of those remarkably sticky caramel apples with candies and goodies piled atop the fruit. As well as being a delicious drink to enjoy, there's another, bigger perk: It's simple to order. You'll just ask for a Caramel Apple Spice, but request caramel syrup instead of the usual cinnamon dolce syrup. You can make this substitution yourself through mobile order or ask for it in person at the counter. 

No matter which way you choose, this simple substitution means your drink will have that sweet caramel flavor both mixed in with the warm apple juice and on top of the whipped cream cap. This version tends to be sweeter than the standard Caramel Apple Spice, but is just as delicious. It's an excellent option for kids or anyone who might find the regular Caramel Apple Spice a bit too spicy, yet still wants an interesting and fun drink at Starbucks. Our barista also happened to add cinnamon dolce sprinkles on ours, which was a nice touch but not a common addition.

Apple Tea

When you order a Steamed Apple Juice with a tea bag in it at Starbucks, you can select any tea option available. We chose herbal because we love the peach citrus tea, but this drink would also taste excellent with Earl Grey. Although the combination of steamed apple juice and tea might seem a bit strange, the barista didn't bat an eye when we ordered it. So don't feel self-conscious about asking for it, because we certainly had no problem.

If you're unsure whether your chosen tea would go well with apple juice, just ask your barista and they'll give you their honest opinion. We found the peach citrus tea blended beautifully with the apple juice to create a warm, wintery, fruity feel. Since it was simply steamed apple juice and tea, this drink also felt very crisp and not overly sweet, as the only sweetness came from the apple juice itself. If you are hoping for something a little sweeter, you could always ask for a couple of pumps of classic syrup, which would blend in well with the apple juice and tea.

Apple Chai

If you're a fan of apple juice and interested in a caffeinated twist, give an Apple Chai a go. There are two ways to make this drink, but we have a clear preference. Simply ask for a Steamed Apple Juice with one pump of chai concentrate in a tall; two in a grande; and three in a venti. This combination results in a Steamed Apple Juice infused with the rich flavor of chai concentrate. Alternatively, you could request a chai tea bag to steep in your Steamed Apple Juice. This approach provides a milder chai flavor, making for a more balanced mix of apple juice and chai.

We tend to prefer the concentrate over the tea bag, much like our preference for chai lattes over chai tea. Be mindful about the amount of chai concentrate though; we initially ordered too much in ours. The pump recommendations we've given are based on how we'd adjust the strength if we were to order it again. However, if you're particularly fond of Starbucks' chai concentrate, you might want to increase the chai pumps by one in each size. Remember, the chai concentrate is quite potent and can slightly overshadow the apple juice, so proceed with caution when adding extra pumps.

Apple Lemonade

Once upon a time, there was a secret menu item at Starbucks known as the Medicine Ball. Since then, Starbucks has introduced the Honey Citrus Mint Tea, which is essentially the same beverage. This drink includes lemonade, two complementary tea bags, and honey, and ultimately inspired this hot apple-lemonade creation. Simply ask for lemonade and apple juice to be steamed together in equal parts. The flavor of this apple-lemonade mix reminds us of the base of the original Medicine Ball, and we believe it would be a delightful addition to the current menu offerings.

Though this would be a delicious base for the Honey Citrus Mint Tea, it's still quite tasty if you prefer it without the honey and tea. The lemonade adds a bit of zing, while the apple juice smooths everything out. It's the perfect beverage for a particularly warm day, and we found it to be quite soothing for the throat in cooler weather, too.

Brown Sugar Caramel Apple Spice

We're huge fans of the brown sugar syrup featured in many of Starbucks' newer drinks, like the Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, for example, and we also love that it goes deliciously with steamed apple juice. To create this sweetened twist on a standard Caramel Apple Spice, you'll make a simple swap. In the app or in person, ask for brown sugar to be used in place of the cinnamon dolce syrup.

This modification leads to a drink with a pronounced sweetness, even sweeter than the Caramel Apple Spice. The caramel drizzle on top, which is a standard part of the Caramel Apple Spice, goes perfectly with the brown sugar syrup, enhancing the drink's overall taste. Additionally, the whipped cream adds a creamy texture that we absolutely love. The combination of these flavors creates a rich beverage that's a delightful take on the original Caramel Apple Spice.

Apple Sugar Cookie

During the holiday season, one of our favorite traditions is getting together with family for a cookie day, and creating holiday goodies with lots of unique flavors and creative spins. It's something we cherish during those few winter weeks. To celebrate this festive and sweet time, we take every opportunity to transform nearly anything we can into a tasty treat, including apple juice. You can do this at Starbucks by asking for a grande Steamed Apple Juice with two pumps of sugar cookie syrup and two pumps of vanilla. Make sure to ask for whipped cream on top to add that extra "frosted" finish.

This drink was definitely one of the sweetest we've tried, but it's also incredibly festive. It's a fantastic choice for the little Starbucks fans in your family, and you can even order it at a lower temperature to ensure it's just warm enough for kids without being too hot. While this might seem a bit complicated, it's another one of those drinks you can easily order through the app without having to adjust too many settings. Unfortunately, you'll only be able to enjoy this special treat while the sugar cookie syrup is available during the holiday season.

Honey Apple

One of our favorite apples to buy at the grocery store is the Honeycrisp. Although we don't necessarily get a honey flavor from a Honeycrisp apple, as its name pertains more to the sweetness of the apple, this tasty variety inspired a drink idea. If your Starbucks location happens to have the honey blend syrup in stock, you can order a Steamed Apple Juice with two pumps of this syrup for a tall; three pumps for a grande; and four pumps for a venti. If your location doesn't have this syrup, you can ask for honey packets instead. These packets are usually used for oatmeal, but baristas should have no problem including them in your drink.

Don't forget to ask for whipped cream on top for that nice smoothness. It helps keep the honey flavor in check, and prevents it from overwhelming the apple juice. This drink is definitely a delicious choice for anyone who loves honey. However, if honey is enjoyable but not your absolute favorite, you may want to scale back the pumps of syrup by one for each size to better suit your taste.

Apple Cider

While Starbucks does stock apple juice for various drink creations, stores don't keep apple cider on hand. Therefore, to achieve a spiced apple-flavored drink, you'll need to add some syrups. This recipe is quite straightforward and can be easily ordered via the app. Start by selecting a size for a Steamed Apple Juice. Then, add one pump of cinnamon dolce syrup and two pumps of brown sugar syrup for a tall; increase the cinnamon dolce syrup by one pump for a grande; and up the brown sugar syrup to three pumps for a venti. If you're comfortable with more precise measurements, you can request two and a half pumps of brown sugar syrup and one and a half pumps of cinnamon dolce syrup for a grande. A venti can have three pumps of brown sugar syrup and two pumps of cinnamon dolce syrup.

This combination results in a delicious blend of sweetness and mild spiciness. If you're after a more pronounced spicy flavor, you might want to increase the cinnamon dolce to match the number of brown sugar pumps. This drink reminded us of a sweetened mulled apple cider, perfect for sipping in the cooler months. And it effectively transforms that simple Steamed Apple Juice.

Bourbon Apple Cider

For a more interesting spin on apple cider, consider ordering a grande Steamed Apple Juice with two pumps each of brown sugar syrup and apple brown sugar syrup. This specific combination might seem like a lot of sweetness, but in a grande, four pumps are actually quite normal. The apple brown sugar syrup, in particular, does a fantastic job of ensuring that the drink doesn't become too sweet.

The apple brown sugar syrup is typically a seasonal item, so this delightful drink is more of a winter treat than an all-year-round option ─ but it's definitely one to look forward to during those colder months. We also like to add whipped cream on top of this one, though it's not a necessity. The flavors these syrups bring together are wonderful, and even though there's no actual bourbon in the drink, we still get a hint of that bourbon-like taste and feel from it. The apple brown sugar syrup, in combination with the brown sugar syrup, creates a richness and depth of flavor that makes this drink a unique and enjoyable take on traditional apple cider.

Vanilla Apple Spice

Perhaps one of our favorite drinks to have experimented with was a Vanilla Apple Spice. This delightful mixture takes delicious apple juice and introduces a cozy hint of warmth with the addition of vanilla and just a little hint of spice. For this inviting variation, we recommend ordering a tall Steamed Apple Juice with two pumps of vanilla, one pump of cinnamon dolce, and whipped cream to top the whole thing off.

The vanilla in this mixture adds a significant amount of smoothness, and the cinnamon dolce brings just the right amount of kick to make the vanilla flavors more intriguing. Initially, we wouldn't necessarily think of vanilla as a go-to pairing with apple juice, but it surprisingly works well here. It's quite similar to the Apple Sugar Cookie drink, and notably, it doesn't taste as sweet, which is a pleasant change for those who prefer less-sugary options.

Despite its simplicity, this vanilla and apple spice concoction was so tasty that we can definitely imagine ordering it again. It's perfect for when you want a smooth and interesting apple drink that's not overwhelmingly saccharine but still has an inviting depth of flavor. The balance between the vanilla's creaminess and the cinnamon's spice makes it a unique and enjoyable option among the array of Starbucks' interesting beverages.

Strawberry Apple

We're obsessed with almost anything that includes the Strawberry Açaí Refresher from Starbucks, and that enthusiasm extends to combinations with the Steamed Apple Juice as well. Unfortunately, you won't be able to order this strawberry apple drink directly through the app, as it doesn't offer the option to mix a Steamed Apple Juice with a Strawberry Açaí Refresher. However, ordering this unique blend is still possible by talking directly to your barista. When we requested this, the barista was accommodating and had no trouble inputting our custom order into their system. So, don't feel awkward asking for it, even if it's not readily available in the system or on the mobile app.

To enjoy this unique beverage, ask for half a Steamed Apple Juice and half a Strawberry Açaí Refresher. You can order this in any size, and you'll be delighted to discover that the drink turns a beautiful pink color. We found that the sweetness of the apple juice perfectly complements the strawberry açaí base, resulting in a warm, refreshing blend. The drink is not only visually appealing but also offers a wonderful balance of flavors. Remember, since the Strawberry Açaí Refresher contains a bit of caffeine, this drink might not be the best choice for those who are sensitive to, or avoid, caffeine.

Apple Passion Tea

As much as we adore the Strawberry Açaí Refresher, our love for passion tea might be even greater. Like the Strawberry Apple creation, an Apple Passion Tea needs to be ordered in person with a barista, as the app doesn't offer this combination. But trust us; this one is definitely worth the extra effort. To order, simply ask for half apple juice and half passion tea, steamed together. The result is a super foamy drink with just the perfect touch of passion tea flavor.

We found that the tea flavor isn't overwhelming in this drink, so even if you're not a big fan of tea, you might still enjoy this one. It's also not overly sweet. Therefore, if you usually prefer your passion tea on the sweeter side, we recommend adding some classic sweetener to tailor the flavor to your liking.

A notable difference between the Strawberry Apple and the Apple Passion Tea is the texture. The Apple Passion Tea has a slightly thinner feel compared to the Strawberry Apple, which we think is largely due to the fact that the passion tea base is just an herbal tea steeped in water. This difference in base ingredients results in a distinct mouthfeel and flavor profile, making the Apple Passion Tea a unique, even refreshing, option for those looking for a lighter, less-sweet beverage with a hint of herbal tea essence.