What Is Frappuccino? The 101 Guide

7 min read SEP 17, 2023

Ever since its introduction in 1995, frappuccinos quickly became a hit. Even today, these frozen dessert-like beverages are some of the most ordered drinks at the largest multinational coffee chain, Starbucks.

So, what exactly is a Frappuccino? Is it just another wordplay on the creamy coffee drink, cappuccino? Is it short for a frappe?

Well, a Frappuccino is simply a blended iced coffee drink trademarked by Starbucks. It comes in two main varieties- one that includes a coffee base (espresso) and one that only contains a crème base.

Typically, a frappuccino uses a coffee or crème base blended with ice, flavoring, syrups, and spices with a whipped cream topping. When it comes to flavorings and syrups, the sky is the limit. Some of the most popular Frappuccino flavors include chocolate, hazelnut, strawberry, caramel, and pumpkin spice.

A Little History On The Invention Of Frappuccino

Today, frappuccinos are synonymous with Starbucks. And many think it's a product invented by the coffee giant. Surprisingly, this isn't true. Here's the real story:

Frappuccino was originally developed, named, and trademarked by the owner of The Coffee Connection, George Howell, and then-employee Andrew Frank. On a trip to Seattle in 1989, Howell discovered the now iconic drink, which was sold as a frozen cappuccino made in a granita machine. The recipe was simple- strong coffee mixed with sugar and milk.

Howell brought home the recipe and perfected it with the help of Andrew Frank, who is also the man behind naming the drink. Fast forward to 1994, Starbucks bought out The Coffee Connection along with Howell's trademarked "Frappuccino" name. By 1995, Starbucks began selling its version of the drink throughout the US and Canada. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Main Differences Between Frappuccino Vs. Frappe

Frappuccino is often mistaken for a Frappe, given its similar name. And while the two drinks are essentially known as iced coffee drinks, there are some significant differences.

First, the main difference between a Frappuccino and a Frappe is that the former is a Starbucks-trademarked drink. That means as long as Starbucks is active in the market, no other company is allowed to sell any product as a frappuccino.

On the other hand, the name "Frappe" has not been trademarked by any company. This is why you'll find many companies selling their own versions of a Frappuccino as a frappe. For example, Burger King and McDonald's.

Now, considering the drink in itself, Frappuccinos and Frappes follow different preparation methods. Originating from Greece, the original frappe is made by blending water with instant coffee, milk, and ice. In contrast, a Frappuccino uses brewed coffee.

Another notable difference is that a Frappe always contains coffee, unlike a Frappuccino.

Are Frappuccinos Unhealthy?

As delicious as they are, Frappuccinos are unfortunately considered unhealthy. One of the main culprits is the insanely high amounts of sugar. Of course, you can always indulge in a cup of Frappuccino occasionally. But daily consumption of sugary drinks can lead to health issues like weight gain, diabetes, cavities, and high blood pressure.

Here's the good news, Starbucks allows customers to customize their Frappuccinos. Hence, you can decrease the calories and lighten the drink by swapping whole milk for nonfat milk, requesting a sugar-free syrup, skipping the whipped cream topping, or asking for fewer pumps of syrup.

While customizing your drink is a great way to shave some of those calories off your Frappuccino, do note that they still contain a considerable number of calories compared to black coffee or espresso. Hence, regardless of the type of Frappuccinos you order, it's best to maintain a moderate consumption.

How To Make A Frappuccino At Home: Step-By-Step Guide

"Starbucks Coffee At Home" – a caption that attracts the attention of many. Throughout the years, coffee enthusiasts- homebrewers, and professional baristas alike, have tried replicating some of Starbucks' most iconic drinks.

But what about Frappuccinos? Can you prepare a delicious Frappuccino at home too? Unfortunately, given that it's a trademarked drink, you can't get your hands on the exact Frappuccino recipe. On the bright side, however, just like any other Starbucks drink, you can definitely recreate a Starbucks Frappuccino at home that tastes very similar to the original.

Here's how:

Ingredients You'll Need

  • Coffee concentrate
  • Cold milk
  • Sweeteners
  • Syrups
  • Crushed ice

Tools You'll Need

  • Tall glass
  • Jar
  • Strainer
  • Straw

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Brew And Cool

Brew your preferred coffee concentrate and allow it to cool in the refrigerator. Don't know how to prepare concentrated coffee? Don't worry; we have mentioned a how-to guide for this below.


Next, once the coffee concentrate has cooled down, pour it into a blender, add whole milk, and blend together. Sure, you can use nonfat milk, but we suggest adding a tad of cream if you do.

Flavor The Drink

Frappuccino is all about the flavor, so be creative and generous here. Add your preferred flavoring to the mixture. From vanilla essence to caramel sauce to chocolate sauce- the sky is the limit.

Sweeten It

For sweetening the drink, you have many options- table sugar, condensed milk, or syrups. For health-conscious people, you can opt for a stevia sweetener or skip this step altogether.

Blend Ice

Next, add some ice cubes and blend the drink. Blend till it forms a smooth texture.


Finally, pour the delicious Frappuccino into a tall glass and serve. You can enjoy the drink as is or add a dollop of whipped cream or a swirl of caramel sauce to make it extra indulgent.

How To Make Concentrated Coffee At Home?

The coffee concentrates you use in your Frappuccino can make or break your entire drink. If it's not strong enough, the coffee flavor will not shine through and instead get diluted in all the other ingredients. This is why we recommend brewing your own coffee concentrate at home. Here are the steps:

Prepare The Coffee

Use high-quality, dark roast ground coffee. For the best results, you can choose Starbucks' Dark Roast coffee. But any other premium ground coffee from specialty roasters will work too.

Add some cold water to the ground coffee and mix properly.

Steep It

Steeping will require the most time. Allow the coffee grounds to mix with the water for up to 12 hours. For this reason, you might want to prepare your coffee concentrate in advance and let it steep overnight.

Strain It

The next step is to use a sieve to filter the remaining coffee grounds from the water. Place a sieve on top of a pitcher or cup and carefully pour the coffee ground mixture into the sieve.

Cool It

Finally, cool the coffee concentrate in the fridge (optional) or use it immediately to make a delicious cup of Frappuccino.

Note coffee concentrate lasts in the fridge for up to a week. So, you can always prepare a large batch beforehand. Just make sure to store it properly in an airtight container to retain its flavor.

Wrapping Up

If you're still here with us on this part of the post, congratulations; you are now updated with everything you need to know about Frappuccino. Simply put, the iconic Frappuccino is a Starbucks patent drink made with crushed iced, brewed coffee (optional), crème, flavors, sweeteners, and syrups.

As for the frappe, it is originally from Greece, and the main ingredient here is instant coffee. Today, you'll find many other companies offering their versions of Frappuccino under the name "frappe." But none of the offerings taste exactly as the original.


How much caffeine is in a frappuccino from Starbucks?

A 13.7-ounce Starbucks Bottled Frappuccino contains 110mg of caffeine. The number is quite high, considering the recommended daily caffeine consumption for adults- 400mg. Hence, a single serving of Starbucks Frappuccino can give you the energy you need to power through the day. But remember, the drink contains a high amount of sugar; hence, the energy boost may soon lead to a sugar crash.

Is Starbucks' Green Tea Frappuccino Healthy?

As soon as you see the word "Green Tea," you might be automatically sold. But be warned, Starbucks' Green Tea Frappuccino isn't as healthy as you might think. In a Grande size, the drink comes packed with 410 calories and 63 carbs, so nothing about it is actually 'green.'

Can you make hot frappuccinos or frappes?

The short answer is a big, fat no; you can't prepare hot frappes or frappuccinos. That's like asking if you can prepare hot ice cream. Remember, both are iced drinks. Without the ice or chilled factor, you'd be making another type of drink, and not frappes or frappuccinos.

Does Starbucks sell Keto-friendly Frappuccino?

You can order the Strawberry Acai Starbucks Refresher Beverage as a keto Frappuccino. The drink is blended with tea and coconut milk, giving off a refreshing, sweet-tart flavor.

Besides, since there are over 170,000 ways to customize your Starbucks drinks, you can make just about any Frappuccino Keto friendly.

Which Frappuccino at Starbucks contains the least calories?

With 40% fewer calories than a regular Mocha Frappuccino drink, Starbucks's Mini Mocha Light Frappuccino contains the least calories. It has just 15 grams of sugar and 80 calories.

What is the shelf life of a frappuccino?

The shelf life of a bottled frappuccino from Starbucks is 12 months max. All bottles have an expiry date; never buy a drink past that. As for opened Starbucks frappuccino, it will last for about 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

However, it is recommended you consume it within the same day.

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