a frappuccino

What Is A Frappuccino? | Ultimate Guide & Easy Recipe

Last Updated on 28/05/2022 by Miki

Have you ever wondered “what is a frappuccino?” If you are a Starbucks fan, then it’s highly likely that you’ve heard of “a frappuccino” one day. Otherwise, you could simply guess from the word “a frappuccino” like a possible combination of a frappe and a cappuccino. You could still get confused with the differences between a frappuccino, a frappe and a milkshake. In general, a frappuccino is a blended coffee beverage that is made with coffee, milk, syrup and ice. It’s typically sweet and creamy. If that sounds good to you, then scroll down and read on!

What Is A Frappuccino?

A frappuccino is a delicious and refreshing drink that can be made from either a coffee or tea base, depending on the drinker’s preference. The drink consists of the base, milk, flavoured syrup and ice in varying amounts. Depending on what the customer requests, the drink can have different flavourings like vanilla, chocolate, caramel and mocha. It also can be topped with whipped cream and usually served with a straw. This cold drink is perfect for people who love coffee and like a little bit of sweetness in their coffee.

Is A Frappuccino Different From A Frappe?

You know the answer to “What is a frappuccino?”, but you may still wonder if a frappuccino is different from a frappe. Before jumping into the answer, I remember I used to order Espresso Frappuccino® at Starbucks in the summer. Actually, I currently drink hot coffee all throughout the year. I have to admit that I still enjoy some ice cream even in winter though (how naughty!). Well, back to the question… We hear the word “frappe” as well as “frappuccino” and I wonder what’s the difference between them. Here is what I have found:

In fact, frappuccino is a trademark of Starbucks. It was conventionally made by adding a shot of espresso to a milkshake. You need to blend the ingredients well although these days it doesn’t necessarily contain coffee. It generally contains some flavourings such as chocolate syrup. A frappe, on the other hand, is traditionally from New England and it is a milkshake with ice cream toppings. A frappe doesn’t always contain coffee. A conventional Greek frappe consists of ice, water and instant coffee and then it is mixed and shaken well. The word “frappe” is originated in the mid 19th century and it literally means “iced” in French. Are you feeling like having one now?

Is A Frappuccino Different From A Milkshake?

Now, what is the difference between a frappuccino and a milkshake? Well, they both are drinks that are ice and milk-based, but there are a few key differences. One difference is that the frappuccino will have some type of syrup that is added to it such as chocolate and caramel. Another difference is that a milkshake is usually made with a scoop of flavour ice cream, which can be regular or low-fat, while a frappuccino is made with only milk and ice. Both of them can be made with coffee depending on your preference. For me, coffee is an essential ingredient in a frappuccino! (I’m not a big fan of a milkshake despite the fact that I like coffee ice cream.)

Frapuccino History/Origin

Massachusetts coffee shop chain, The Coffee Connection was originally developed and named “frappuccino” in the early 1990s. The word was derived from the French word, frappé, iced, and cappuccino, an espresso-based coffee with steamed milk foam. It was also trademarked back then and Starbucks purchased The Coffee Connection in 1994. Then Starbucks gained the right to use, make, market and sell the drink “frappuccino.” It consequently applied a different recipe and introduced the drink to the world. There are a lot of varieties of this famous beverage available according to where you are located and you can find bottled versions as well. As we know, people all over the world enjoy this cold drink. Are you one of them?

What Is In A Frappuccino?

The answer to that question is difficult to answer, but we could start by saying the signature drink of Starbucks is a frozen concoction of milk and syrup. But what’s exactly in a frappuccino? Well, the answer to that question is as varied as the people who drink it.

Frappuccino Roast

A notable point here is Starbucks uses Frappuccino Roast. What is it? Well, Starbucks developed a singular mix referred to as Frappuccino Roast. It is a special mix that comes in a very powdery type, that is specifically developed to be used cold. The advantage of this roast is that it provides the drink with a much better texture compared to espresso.

The Milk

Without any special request, your barista will choose whole milk. In fact, you can choose one of the following types of milk:

  • non-fat milk
  • 2% milk
  • half & half
  • heavy cream
  •  almond milk
  • coconut milk
  • soy milk

If you prefer your beverage extra creamy, you would want to choose heavy cream. However, this is not the best option if you are watching out for your calory intake. If you are cutting down your dairy consumption, then you may want to request nut-based or soy milk. These types of milk can add some natural sweetness without adding extra syrup.

Syrup & Sauce

Many of the coffee flavoured frappuccinos contain coffee frappuccino syrup that literally enhances the coffee flavour. This syrup is one of the base ingredients of the drink. It functions as a thickening agent as well as adding sweetness to the beverage. On the other hand, a sauce is used for adding extra flavour. For instance, a caramel frappuccino contains caramel sauce whereas a mocha version contains mocha sauce. Pretty simple and obvious, isn’t it?


It may sound obvious that a frappuccino contains ice. But the point here is the amount of ice used in the drink. Why? Well, you can actually request the amount of ice according to your preference. Extra ice will make your drink thinner whereas light ice will make it thicker. Loving this possible customisation?


As you can imagine, there are good varieties of toppings available. The main toppings are:

  • sprinkles
  • drizzle
  • powders
  • whipped cream
  • seasonal toppings

As for me, it would be “Extra cinnamon, please”! How about you?


Frappuccino Calories In One Serve

Let’s look at the calories now. Well, I guess we don’t really want to know if we would like to enjoy the drink, but it’s time to face the truth!

There are 3 different sizes for Starbucks Frappuccino: Tall 12oz(354ml), Grande 16oz(473ml) and Venti 20oz(591ml). We will check for only Tall here as we don’t want to be too discouraged. Sounds good? If you are brave enough to want to know the calories in Grande and Venti, you know the math, right?

Please take a look at the infographics that I made:

what is a frappuccino

I hope a Starbucks frappuccino is not your daily cuppa and we might want to have one as our treat. We all deserve an occasional treat, don’t we? It’s all about moderation here.

How To Make A Frappuccino At Home

Making a frappuccino at home isn’t difficult at all. Actually, it’s quite simple. In addition, you can make it healthier than a Starbucks frappuccino. The following recipe is the basic coffee frappuccino and it makes 2 serves.

  1. Prepare 1 cup of espresso/strong brewed coffee and cool down
  2. Blend the cooled coffee, 2 cups of ice, 1 cup of your choice of milk, and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a blender on high until smooth
  3. Pour the liquid into 2 tall glasses and enjoy!

I have found a YouTube video for the Keto Diet Mocha Frappuccino recipe though I’m not following the keto diet at all. It looks much healthier than a Starbucks frappuccino for sure. I know it won’t taste the same, but it is just an idea.

We might not need to go to extremes this much, but it wouldn’t hurt if we were a bit more aware of what we drink. To be fair, I’m not against having a Starbucks frappuccino as an occasional treat. Everyone deserves one!

Frappuccino FAQ

Do Frappuccinos have coffee in them?

When it comes to coffee, there are two main camps: those who like it black and those who like it with cream and sugar. If you’re someone who falls into the latter category, you’re probably a fan of frappuccinos. But do frappuccinos have coffee in them? The answer is yes – and no. In other words, not all of them have coffee. Mostly, Creme Frappuccinos such as Chai and Matcha ones don’t contain any coffee in them.

Do Starbucks Frappuccinos have caffeine?

Well, the answer to this question is yes and no. As previously mentioned, some frappuccinos have coffee in them whereas others don’t. This means that the frappuccinos which contain coffee have caffeine obviously. The amount of caffeine in a frappuccino depends on the size and flavor of the drink. In general, a Tall Frappuccino has approximately up to 120 mg of caffeine and a Grande has approximately up to 150 mg of caffeine.

How bad is a Starbucks Frappuccino for you?

As already mentioned above, it contains high calories and is full of sugar. It wouldn’t be a good idea to have this drink as your daily coffee alternative. With that being said, there are some ways that can make it less unhealthy such as avoiding whipped cream and minimising the sugar content.

Does the Strawberry Frappuccino have coffee in it?

It may sound a bit confusing, but strawberry funnel cake frappuccino has coffee in it as it is one of the coffee frappuccinos. On the other hand, strawberry creme doesn’t.

Does Starbucks make a decaf Frappuccino?

If you are concerned with your caffeine intake, you should keep in mind that there is no decaf option for Starbucks frappuccino roast. Then, what can you do? Well, you could simply ask your barista to use a shot of decaf espresso instead.

Final Thoughts

Here revealed all the truth about frappuccinos. I hope you’ve got the answer to the question, “What is a frappuccino?” in this article. The Frappuccino is a refreshing iced coffee drink made with coffee, milk, and ice blended together. And you can’t forget the caramel drizzle, whipped cream, and a caramel drizzle for topping if you are a caramel lover. After all, I would stick to my favourite, espresso frappuccino. What’s your favourite Starbucks Frappuccino? Please let me know in the comment box below 🙂

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