What Is A Frappuccino The Definitive Answer!

What Is A Frappuccino? The Definitive Answer!

Last updated on March 3rd, 2024 at 11:28

There is a lot of confusion around Frappuccino’s, this guide aims to clear all the confusion by detailing exactly what is a Frappuccino. 

A lot of confusion arises with McDonald’s selling what looks like the same drink and calling it a frappé, and Costa a Frostino.

I clear up that confusion and why they use different names, and absolutely must do so for legal reasons. Finally, I give you an excellent copycat recipe for you to make your own Frappuccino at home.

Keep reading to find out what is a Frappuccino exactly!

What Is A Frappuccino?

A Frappuccino is a tasty-frozen drink available in a number of popular flavors like Caramel, Salted caramel, Java chip, Espresso, coffee, Matcha green tea, mocha and many more at Starbucks.

A Frappuccino is a blended iced coffee drink with a single or double shot of espresso, flavored syrup, crushed ice and whipped cream.

The non-coffee Frappuccino’s are crème Frappuccino’s containing either zero caffeine and no coffee or a minimal and insignificant amount of caffeine, like 10 milligrams from other ingredients like chocolate.

Starbucks has bottled Frappuccino beverages available at Supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores and various retail outlets.

What Is A Frappuccino
A Java Chip Frappuccino

Read: What does Frappuccino mean?

Frappuccino Origin And History

The Frappuccino does not originate at Starbucks nor was it invented by the world’s biggest coffee company.

The popular refreshing summer drink was created by Andrew Frank, an employee and head barista at The Coffee Connection, a Boston based chain of coffee shops owned by George Howell, who was sharp minded and registered the recipe and name Frappuccino as a trademark.

In 1994, Starbucks bought out The Coffee Connection, in doing so becoming the legal owners of the trademark Frappuccino.

It was a year later in 1995 that Starbucks first started to sell their famous Frappuccino drink with a slight variation of the recipe and, despite claims of the drink experiencing a decline in their popularity, it is still worth US$3 billion per year in gross sales annually.

Yes, US$3 billion dollars per year in sales for a single drink! Which makes their acquisition of The Coffee Connection a very smart business move.

Name Frappuccino comes from frappe, (no accent over the letter e) which is that thick, yummy ice cream milkshake that we all love! This word came from the French lait Frappé (with the accent over the e).

The ccino termination is from that famous frothy coffee, the cappuccino. I bet you can see it now…. Frappuccino!

Frappuccino Pronunciation

The way to pronounce the word and beverage Frappuccino is in three syllables Fra.Puh.Chee.Now.

Watch the video below to hear and practice the correct pronunciation.

What Is A Frappuccino Without Coffee?

A Starbucks Frappuccino is available both with and without coffee. The coffee can be replaced with tea, green tea, chai or crème.

No matter of the base ingredients, be it with coffee or without coffee, the drink is still called a Frappuccino.

Which Frappuccino Has No Caffeine?

The Frappuccino drinks that have no caffeine are all the ones that are made with crème instead of coffee.

  • Strawberries and Crème.
  • Vanilla Bean Crème.

These two crème Frappuccino have zero caffeine.

  • Double Chocolaty Chip.
  • White Chocolate Crème.

These two Frappuccino’s have minimal caffeine (approximately 10 mg) from the chocolate.

  • Chai Frappuccino.
  • Matcha green tea Frappuccino.

These two beverages contain caffeine, from the tea but no coffee.

What Is A Frappuccino McDonald’s

A Frappuccino at McDonald’s is called a frappé. To be more precise, it is an American frappé. In America a frappé and a Frappuccino are very much the same drink.

McDonald’s and every other coffee shop must use a name other than Frappuccino due to it being a registered trademark.

McDonald’s for their own reasons, perhaps because they are not a coffee shop and more focused on fast food, opted to use a known name and unregistered as a trademark, one that Americans are familiar with and call their drinks a frappé.

On the topic of chain coffee shops and trademark names, this is the same reason why Costa call their range of drinks Frostinos, which is really a Frappuccino registered under their own trademark and a slight variation on the recipe.

A frappé as us Europeans are more familiar with is a very different drink. It’s a coffee drink that originated in Greece and is made using instant coffee, milk, sugar and ice and is shaken or blended to create the frothy coffee. No whipped cream is used.

What Is A McDonalds Frappuccino
A McDonald’s Frappe

How To Make A Frappuccino

There are a few steps that you need to take before you start making your Frappuccino.

Let’s talk about those.

Chill Your Glass (Or Mug) And Your Equipment

When you chill your glass, you will create an amazing effect on your coffee drink. It’s not an essential step but that frosted Frappuccino look is awesome.

What is essential is chilling, better freezing the equipment that you are using to make your Frappuccino. When the blending bowl, whisk or attachment to your blender or the cocktail shaker you are using are ice-cold, it helps the liquid to emulsify, and you get a nice, thick drink.

Get Your Ingredients Together

To make a great Starbucks Frappuccino copycat recipe you need to get your ingredients together. At Latte Love Brew, we follow the chef’s principle: the better your ingredients, the better your end results will be.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 Cup Of Well Brewed Espresso: Since we are looking to emulate a Starbucks Frappuccino as much as we can, espresso is required. If you cannot due to not having a home espresso machine, a Moka Pot coffee or Aeropress coffee will do.
  • 2 Cups Of Ice: Crushed ice will get the best results. You can make this in your ice crushing blender. If you don’t have an ice crushing blender or are not sure, put your ice in a ziplock bag and use a hammer to break them into smaller pieces.
  • 2 Tablespoons Of Sweetener: You can use any sweetener of your choice, Stevia, honey, agave, coconut sugar, brown sugar.
  • 3/4 Cup Of Milk: You can use any kind of milk; it is up to you to use a dairy milk or an alternative plant or nut based milk. Oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk. It is up to you.
  • Whipped Cream: For the Starbucks look, to be used as the topping.
How To Make A Frappuccino
Making A Frappuccino Is Easy

Ideas For Flavorings And Toppings

Along with whipped cream, there are other toppings and flavorings that you can add to your Frappuccino.

Here are some ideas that you can consider:

  • Caramel Frappuccino: 1 Tablespoon of caramel sauce before blending to the base. Optional, add a drizzle to the top of your whipped cream also.
  • Mocha Frappuccino: Before blending, add 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the base. Use a drizzle of chocolate sauce over the whipped cream.
  • Java Frappuccino: Before blending, add a handful of chocolate chips to the base.

How To Make A Frappuccino At Home Step By Step

Step 1: Make Your Coffee

To get started you need to make your coffee. Use a good quality dark roast; French or Italian roast works best as you need a strong coffee for the coffee flavor to come through.

If you have an espresso machine at home, pull two double shots. If you have a moka pot, brew 120 ml (4 ounces) of coffee. Same with a Aeropress, brew 120 ml of coffee.

Moka pot and an Aeropress are as close as you can get to an espresso at home without owning an espresso machine.

Step 2: Blend Your Ingredients

After you have brewed your coffee, add the rest of your ingredients except for your whipped cream to your blender.

If you don’t have a blender, you can add to a bowl and blend by hand with a whisk.

blend or whisk your ingredients. The best results are achieved with a blender. Use a low speed and then work your way to a high speed.

Step 3: Add Your Topping

When all your ingredients are well blended and well mixed, pour it into your ice cold chilled tall glass.

Add your whipped cream and the extra ingredients if needed. For your caramel Frappuccino add the caramel sauce, for the mocha add the drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Step 4: Serve And Enjoy

The best part, the best step. Serve your drink and enjoy it. Don’t give the drink time to melt.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Is A Frappuccino

What Is The Difference Between A Frappé And A Frappuccino?

While an American frappé is very much the same as a Frappuccino with literally no difference between the two drinks. To emphasize my point, just compare a McDonald’s frappé and a Starbucks Frappuccino.

In Europe, as a European, I can absolutely tell you that a frappé and a Frappuccino are two distinctly different drinks, especially in Southern Europe and Greece and Cyprus, where the beverage originated.

The popular Greek coffee drink is made with instant coffee, milk, ice and is always made with cold water. In modern times, it is more common for crushed ice to be used and the drink to be made using a blender rather than a shaker.

The original Greek frappé never has a whipped cream topping.

The reason a frappé in America is the same as a Frappuccino, and I am sure outlets like McDonald’s would love to use the name Frappuccino instead of frappé, but legally they can’t. The name is a trademark owned by Starbucks, which was acquired in 1994 when they bought out the Boston based coffee chain that registered the trademark, the Coffee Connection.

Thus, only Starbucks can use the name Frappuccino.

Does A Frappuccino Have To Have Coffee In It?

No, not all Frappuccino’s have coffee. There are a few very tasty coffee-free Frappuccino’s, some of which still have caffeine, which are the green tea and Matcha tea versions. The Chocolate Chip versions have a minimal caffeine from the chocolate.

  • Strawberries and Crème.
  • White Chocolate Crème.
  • Double Chocolaty Chip
  • Vanilla Bean Crème.
  • Matcha Green Tea.

If you see the word, the ingredient Crème in the name of the Frappuccino, it is one of the coffee-free options.

Is Frappuccino Stronger Than Coffee?

When it comes to the taste and strength of flavor, a Frappuccino is not strong at all. The taste of coffee is very light.

The same cannot be said for the caffeine content, so don’t make the mistake of associating the light coffee taste with meaning that a Frappuccino is low in caffeine.

In many cases, a Frappuccino is stronger than a coffee. It obviously depends on the drink size for both beverages and of course which coffee drink and which Frappuccino.

Consult the table below to see how a Frappuccino of various flavors compares with various coffee drinks at Starbucks. The details have been extracted from Starbucks website.

Frappuccino Beverage Caffeine Content Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) Caffeine Content Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) Caffeine Content Venti 24 Oz (720 ml)
Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino 0 mg 0 mg 0 mg
Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino 10 mg 15 mg 15 mg
Molten Chocolate Frappuccino 80 mg 110 mg 150 mg
Caramel Frappuccino 70 mg 100 mg 130 mg
Espresso Frappuccino 130 mg. 165 mg 185 mg
Hazelnut Frappuccino 65 mg 90 mg 125 mg
Mocha Frappuccino. 75 mg 110 mg 140 mg
Regular Caffe Latte 75 mg 75 mg 150 mg
Regular Mocha 90 mg 95 mg 175 mg
Flat White 130 mg 130 mg 195 mg
Cappuccino (regular) 75 mg 75 mg 150 mg

Is A Frappé Just Coffee And Ice?

The original frappé made in Greece was made with instant coffee, milk, sugar and cold water. Well mixed and shaken in a cocktail shaker.

Sugar and milk are optional and depend on how you like your coffee. They are used to counter the bitter taste of the instant coffee and to create a richer mouthfeel.

Are Frappuccino’s Healthy?

No, I most certainly would not call a Frappuccino a healthy drink. Most of them are loaded with sugar, fat and a lot of calories.

The nutritional profile of these drinks is not at all great. Like most Starbucks drinks, these are liquid cakes!

Is A Frappuccino The Same As An Iced Capp?


while no blogs and websites will tell you that an iced cappuccino, frappé and a Frappuccino are the same drink, they are, in fact, three different drinks.

The main distinctive difference between an iced cappuccino and a Frappuccino is that an iced cappuccino is not a blended drink and does not have crushed ice. An iced cappuccino is not a frozen beverage. It is made with whole ice cubes.

Final Thoughts – What Is A Frappuccino?

Now you know what is a Frappuccino and how it is different from a frappé, and Frostino and why nobody other than Starbucks can use the name Frappuccino. 

You also have a taste recipe to make your own at home and wow your friends with your Starbucks copycat Frappuccino recipe and instructions to follow.

Join our fun, fab and fantastic online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your Frappuccino creations and recipes. 

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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