What is a Frappuccino?

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If you are a Starbucks fan, you likely already know what a Frappuccino is, but for those who aren’t, a Frappuccino is a chilly coffee drink. It consists of coffee, milk, and blended ice, and is topped with whipped cream with a drizzle of syrup or flavored sauce added. 

A Starbucks Frappuccino has a mild coffee taste but will still give a caffeine kick and a big sugar rush! This refreshing, cold drink hits the spot on a hot day. In this article, we will dig into how to define a Frappuccino, its origin, and compare it to other popular iced coffee drinks.

What is a Frappuccino?

A Frappuccino is an iced drink that is served at Starbucks. It consists of a coffee or crème base, milk, blended ice, and flavored syrups and is topped with whipped cream. A Frappuccino is a sweet and decadent drink popular among the younger generation or those looking for a sugar rush. 

The Frappuccino comes in a heap of different flavors; mocha, caramel, vanilla, white chocolate, chai, and matcha green tea frappuccino, to name a few. According to the season, Starbucks also releases limited-edition blended Frappuccino flavors like the pumpkin spice frappuccino or gingerbread frappuccino.

The Coffee Frappuccino is the OG, consisting of a few pumps of Frappuccino roast coffee blended with milk and ice. All the other flavors are built on this base, adding different flavorings, sauces, or chocolate. 

In addition to the Starbucks Frappuccino, you can also purchase a Starbucks bottled Frappuccino. These are a range of ready-to-go Frappuccino blended coffee drinks. They come in an array of flavors with the most popular being Caramel, Mocha, Coffee, and Vanilla bean Frappucino. According to the Starbucks Frappuccino bottle instructions, the bottled Frappuccino can be put in the freezer a few hours before serving to get an icy beverage. Alternatively, you can serve it chilled, over ice, or with blended ice. The bottled Frappuccino offers a convenient way to get that Frappuccino hit if you are not in the vicinity of a Starbucks store.

What is a Frappuccino

Origin of the Frappuccino

The word Frappuccino is an amalgamation of two words; the French word lait frappé, a milkshake with ice cream, and Cappuccino, an espresso-based drink topped with frothy milk. 

Combine these two words, and you get Frappuccino. Incidentally, if you combine these two drinks, you get a Frappuccino- aka a coffee milkshake.

Although the Frappuccino has become synonymous with Starbucks, ironically, it wasn’t created by Starbucks. George Howell’s coffee shop chain, The Coffee Connection, dreamed up the original Frappuccino. However, in 1994 Starbucks purchased the coffee connection and the rights to the Frappuccino to boot. Fast forward a few years, and the Frappuccino has become one of Starbucks’ signature drinks, making up around 20% of their annual sales. 

Does a Frappuccino have coffee in it?

Starbucks has two types of Frappuccino; coffee and crème. The coffee-based Frappuccinos contain coffee, while the crème-based ones don’t. Starbucks uses their Frappuccino roast coffee which has been explicitly designed for Frappuccinos. It is essentially an instant coffee mixed in large batches with water and added to pump bottles for ease of workflow. The Frappuccino roast coffee is a dark roasted coffee with a strong, bitter flavor that works well to offset the overly sweet drink. How much coffee is added depends on the size and flavor of the Frappuccino you order. 

The crème-based Frappuccinos don’t have any coffee in them. The coffee is replaced by flavored syrups or teas like matcha and chai. These Frappuccinos are basically fancy milkshakes. 

Does a Frappuccino have coffee in it

How much caffeine is in a Starbucks Frappuccino?

If you are ordering a Frappuccino with a coffee base it will obviously have caffeine in it. The amount of caffeine varies depending on the flavor and size of the Frappuccino you order. We have compiled a list of the most common Starbucks Frappuccinos with caffeine below. 

  • Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino 65 mg-130 mg of caffeine
  • Espresso Frappuccino 125 mg – 185 mg of caffeine
  • Vanilla Frappuccino 65 mg – 135 mg of caffeine
  • Caramel Frappuccino 60 mg – 120 mg of caffeine
  • Coffee Frappuccino 65 mg – 125 mg of caffeine
  • Mocha Frappuccino 70 mg – 130 mg of caffeine
  • Java Chip Frappuccino 75 mg – 145 mg of caffeine
  • White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino 65 mg – 125 mg of caffeine

As you would expect, the Espresso Frappuccino has the most caffeine, almost double that of the other flavors. So if you are looking for a caffeine hit that is the way to go. Compared to a cup of coffee a tall Frappuccino has a similar amount of caffeine to a single shot of espresso (around 63mg).

Surprisingly, some of the blended Crème Frappuccinos contain caffeine too. On average, this is a much smaller amount; around 10-40mg. The White Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Frappuccino Blended Crème contain no caffeine. At the other end of the spectrum is the Matcha Crème Frappuccino, which has a staggering 50-95 mg of caffeine.

The bottled Frappuccinos all contain caffeine as well. This ranges from 50-110 mg depending on the flavor you choose.

Starbucks Frappuccino

What size does a Frappuccino come in?

The Starbucks Frappuccino comes in three different cup sizes:

  • Tall: 12 fl oz
  • Grande: 16 fl oz
  • Venti: 24 fl oz

Are Frappuccinos bad for you?

And now to the elephant in the room, is a Frappuccino bad for you? The short answer is yes. The Frappuccino is loaded with flavored syrups, sugar, and whipped cream. If you are drinking one of these bad boys every day, make no mistake, it will affect the waistline. 

A Grande Caramel Frappuccino has 380 calories, 54 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of fat. Given that the recommended daily calorie intake is 2000, this is almost 20% gone with a single drink. In light of this, we wouldn’t recommend making a Frappuccino your daily drink, but it is a nice sweet treat on occasion.

Comparison to other Coffee Drinks

Frappuccino vs Frappe

Rewind to Greece, in 1957, and you will find the birth of the Frappe. Dimitris Vakondios, a Nestle representative, created the drink at the Thessaloniki International Fair. As the story goes, he was trying to make a hot coffee on his break but discovered there was no hot water. So improvising, he added instant coffee, ice, and cold water to a shaker to create a frothy coffee frappe. Soon everyone in Greece was drinking frappes, and by 1979 it had become the country’s national coffee drink. If you order a Frappe in Greece today you will get a version of this same drink.

However, if you order a frappe from a coffee shop anywhere else, you will get a cold blended beverage similar to the Starbucks Frappuccino. Because the name Frappuccino is trademarked, it can only be used by Starbucks; other coffee houses have resorted to naming their take as the Frappe. So there really is no difference between a frappe and a Frappuccino.

Frappe vs Frappuccino

Frappuccino vs Latte

A latte is a very different drink from a Frappuccino. The most obvious difference is that a latte is a hot drink. It is made with an espresso base (rather than instant) and steamed milk, usually in a ratio of 1:2 espresso to milk. Like the Frappuccino, a latte can be customized, adding syrups or substituting the espresso for a tea, like matcha or chai. 

Even with extra flavorings, a latte has a lot stronger coffee flavor and isn’t as sweet as a Frappuccino.

Frappuccino vs Latte

Frappuccino vs Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is a similar drink to the Frappuccino. The name iced coffee encompasses a wide variety of drinks, and what you get will depend on which coffee shop you are ordering it from. An iced coffee could be a cold brew coffee served over ice or an espresso-based brewed coffee that is cooled over ice. Iced coffee drinks typically have ice cubes rather than blended ice. They may also have additives like milk, syrups, ice cream, or cream. 

How to make a Frappuccino at home

If you love a Frappuccino and want to try saving some money, you can create your own at home. You can even get the Starbucks-flavored syrups for those fans out there. We recommend using the following Frappuccino recipe as a base and customizing it with your favorite flavored syrup or sauce. You will need a high-speed blender or Frappe maker like the Mr Coffee Frappe Maker. 

Frappuccino Recipe


  • 2 cups ice
  • Two shots of espresso or 1 cup of strong instant coffee
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2T sugar
  • Whipped cream and Flavored syrup to top


  1. Add ice, coffee, milk, sugar, and syrup to a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Pour into a tall glass
  3. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of flavored syrup
  4. Pop a straw in and enjoy!

Mix it up a bit

You can mix your Frappuccino up by adding different flavorings. We have compiled some suggestions below:

  • Java Frappuccino: Add a handful of chocolate chips before blending
  • Mocha Frappuccino: Add two tablespoons of cocoa powder before blending and drizzle with chocolate syrup at the end.
  • Caramel Frappuccino: Add one tablespoon of caramel syrup before blending. Drizzle with caramel syrup at the end.

What is a Frappuccino- Final Thoughts

So what is a Frappuccino? It is a sweet, blended ice drink sold by Starbucks. A Starbucks Frappuccino is made from instant coffee, ice, milk, syrups, and whipped cream. It comes in a wide variety of flavors, but overall it is a sugary drink with a mild coffee flavor perfect for those with a sweet tooth. So if you are looking to indulge, try a chilly Frappuccino today.