What Is a Frappuccino? Is It Just a Frappe?

Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 31, 2023
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Excerpt: Are you obsessed with iced coffee? Then it’s time for you to find out more about frappes and Frappuccinos and how they differ.

The leading consumer of coffee in the world is the Netherlands, although the USA as a collective spends over $5 billion on the delicious beverage. Worldwide, we consume around 165 million 60 kilo bags of coffee every year, so in reality, all countries have an affinity with this yummy drink.

One of our favorite ways to enjoy coffee is as a frappuccino. If you, like us, love a frosty coffee, you may wonder how to make one yourself or source the best type for your taste.

What is a frappuccino? How do you make a great one? Is a frappe just short for a frappuccino or is it something different? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about frappes and frappuccinos:

What Is a Frappuccino?

So, what is a frappuccino? Is it available everywhere, is it just a frappe? Let’s take a closer look:

A frappucino is pronounced ‘frap-uh-cheen-oh’ and is a trademarked product of Starbucks that is, in general, a cold coffee-flavored drink. If you love these frosty treats, you may wonder – what is a frappuccino made of? Luckily, Starbucks don’t keep their ingredients secret, and you can easily find out what is in a frappuccino.

What Is It Made of?

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U.S. Frappuccino is a trademarked brand of the Starbucks Corporation for a line of highly-sweetened iced, blended coffee drinks.

When you’re thinking – what is a frappuccino? You might be surprised to know that it isn’t actually that complicated in terms of what it is made of.

You can order a coffee-flavored frappuccino which includes a special frappuccino coffee powder/ syrup, ice, and then often syrups, dairy or non-dairy milk are also blended. Drizzles, cream, sprinkles, and other toppings may also be mixed with the drink, or they may top it.

You can also order a cream-based frappuccino where coffee isn’t included in the final result, and instead, a powdered cream-based powder is used as a base instead. Cream-based frappuccinos also include different syrups, drizzles, toppings and sprinkles. Some can even be made with dairy-free milks.

As it stands, you couldn’t legally order a frappuccino from anywhere other than Starbucks because they invented the word and the product. You could, though, copy their ingredients and create your own version using a different name.

What Is a Caramel Frappuccino?

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Caramel flavor adds the right touch of richness to a frappuccino.

Caramel frappuccinos are really popular, and if you like them, you might wonder – what is in a caramel frappuccino? The current ingredients for the smallest size offered by Starbucks include:

  • Two pumps of caramel syrup
  • Two pumps of frappuccino roast syrup
  • Dairy or non-dairy milk
  • Ice
  • Whipped cream (you can also get dairy-free cream now)
  • Caramel drizzle (not dairy-free)

If you’re wondering what is a caramel frappuccino like from the fridge? You don’t have to wonder anymore. Starbucks have launched a range of refrigerated caramel frappuccinos you can enjoy at home or on your commute. You could even pour them over ice in a reusable cup! It certainly makes life easier if you’re not able to stop by Starbucks and want a cold coffee fix.

What Is a Frappuccino Crème?

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The cream base is sugar flavor and xanthan gum, which is a starch similar to cornstarch.

If you prefer a non-coffee frappuccino, you can opt for a frappuccino creme, which is simply a frappuccino with a cream base. So what is a creme frappuccino made of? The current ingredients for the smallest size of creme frappuccino from Starbucks are:

  • Two pumps of creme base syrup/ powder
  • 1 pump of syrup flavoring
  • 1 pump of drizzle sauce
  • 2 scoops of flavored powder such as vanilla or java chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Ice

If you wondered what is in a vanilla bean frappuccino, you could expect the above to be included in the ingredients as well as a specific vanilla bean powder or syrup as it usually does have a cream base and not a coffee base.

Some Starbucks creme frappuccinos can also be made dairy-free, and the information is freely available on their website.

Is There Any Nutrition in a Frappuccino?

If you’re wondering – what is a frappucino? Because you want to know how good it is for you, it is really helpful that the nutrition and ingredients are listed openly on the Starbucks site.

When we took a look, it was easy to see that the main nutrition you get from a frappuccino is from the milk within it. Some calcium and various amounts of vitamin A, B12, magnesium, riboflavin, and other nutrients are contained in milk or fortified dairy-free milk. Otherwise, they are generally regarded as a treat because they are a high-calorie drink. If you love frappuccinos like us, this comes as no surprise. What is a frappuccino, if not a treat?

Realistically there is no escaping the vast amount of calories within the frappuccino.

Even a grande coffee frappuccino made with whole milk and without creams or sauces comes in 230 calories. Once you start moving towards more elaborate frappuccinos, the calorie amounts rise. A Java Chip Frappuccino at a grande size made with whole milk is a whopping 440 calories. While the famous caramel frappuccino is 380 calories at the same size, it still sits high on calorie amounts when it comes to beverage consumption.

Beyond calories and taking a closer look at nutritional content, you can begin to see why a frappuccino is a treat and not something you should be consuming regularly. The caramel beverage as prepared at Starbucks contains no less than 20% of your average daily allowance of fat, 50mg of cholesterol, and a whopping 54 grams of sugar, which is over 4 tablespoons or over half a cup of sugar. It’s pretty shocking to think about, isn’t it? Healthline tells us that too much sugar can cause type 2 diabetes, cause weight gain, can increase your risk of heart disease and has even been linked to acne.

Can You Order a Starbucks Frappuccino to Be Healthier?

You can order a frappuccino to be a healthier version with few calories or less sugar. There are multiple tips on their website to help you slim down your iced beverage. To help you next time you order, here are some of our own tips to help slim down the improper nutrition of your frappuccino order:

  • Ask for no cream
  • Ask for no drizzle
  • Opt for a dairy-free milk, or skinny milk
  • Try the espresso or plain coffee frappe options
  • Try a smaller size frappuccino
  • Ask for sugar-free syrup

You can also make your own version of a frappuccino that is cheaper, healthier, and free from artificial additions. If you are one of the 9.7 million vegans in the US or like to try dairy-free every now and again, this vegan frappuccino recipe is an excellent alternative to a dairy option.

When Did the Starbucks Frappuccino Get Invented?

When did you wonder what a frappuccino made of is? You may also want to know when it was actually invented.

The answer is in 1995 if you’re talking about the recipe invented by Starbucks. The name, though, was actually invented by a company called The Coffee Connection, which created a strong coffee, ice, sugar, and milk blend long before and trademarked the name frappuccino. Starbucks simply bought out The Coffee Connection in 1994, and so they got the trademarked frappuccino name and applied their own recipe to it.

How to Make a Mocha Frappuccino?

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Mocha frappuccino is best for sweet lovers, as it contains chocolate sauce and chocolate chips.

If you love chocolate and coffee mixed together, then you probably enjoy a mocha frappuccino. If you want to know -what is a mocha frappuccino made of? Here are the ingredients below:

  • Whole milk or dairy-free milk
  • Two pumps of mocha sauce
  • Two pumps of frappuccino roast syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Ice

If you don’t have time to get to Starbucks to buy a mocha frappuccino, you’ll be pleased to know they now offer glass bottles of ready made mocha frappuccino for you to enjoy on the go or at home. Simply refrigerate and enjoy cold, or pour over ice for a truly indulgent mocha frappuccino experience.

How to Make Frappuccino at Home?

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Frappuccino with whipped cream is a sweet and creamy way to enjoy your coffee.

We mentioned above how to make a healthier frappuccino at home. If you really feel like treating yourself, though, you can make an indulgent frappuccino that’s definitely sure to hit the spot on a hot day.

The first thing to do is master the main frappuccino base recipe, which can be customized:


  • 1 shot of strong espresso/ 2 tbsp instant coffee dissolved but not diluted/ 4 tbsp double-strength cafetière coffee
  • ¾ cup of milk (dairy-free or whole milk), condensed milk or a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of any vanilla-flavored powder like milkshake powder or instant pudding powder OR leave out if you use ice cream or condensed milk
  • 2 cups of ice

You can add more or less of the base ingredients to taste before blending it all together to make your frappuccino.

You can then customize it to suit your preferences by experimenting with different blends to make a mocha or a mint chocolate version and trying out different toppings such as whipped cream and sauce. We particularly love to make a Lotus Biscoff frappuccino. Here’s how you make it:


  • One cup of strong coffee cooled
  • One scoop of ice cream
  • 1 tablespoon of Biscoff spread
  • A handful of ice
  • Two lotus biscuits, whipped cream, and Lotus spread to serve


Blend all the ingredients together, adding milk to thin out if it is too thick. Serve in a cute glass and top with whipped cream, one crumbled Lotus biscuit, and one dipped in the spread and stuck into the whipped cream. Delicious!

What Is a Frappuccino at Starbucks Like Made Vegan?

If you are vegan or dairy-free, you may wonder – what is a frappuccino at Starbucks like when it is made to be vegan?

The great news is that many of them can be made vegan at Starbucks, and they are delicious too. The ingredients vary by country and even by season and drink, so the best thing to do is check out the ingredients lists on the Starbucks website before visiting to see which drinks can be made vegan. The chances are the staff will also be well aware of what you can have in the way of vegan frappuccinos because there are so many vegans in America now. A study even showed that nearly 50% of Americans like to consume both dairy and non-dairy for various reasons.

So you can expect Starbucks staff to be very helpful if you ask about dairy-free options in store.

Frappe VS Frappuccino: What’s the Difference?

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A frappé coffee, Greek frappé, Nescafé frappé, or just frappé is a Greek iced coffee drink made from instant coffee, water, sugar, and milk

By now, you may well already have an answer to the question – what is the difference between a Frappe and a Frappuccino? In case you haven’t, we can shed some light on the topic:

A frappe is a cold coffee beverage usually made with ice, milk, and coffee, and it can be offered for sale by any company as the word is not trademarked.

A Frappuccino is a trademarked name relating to a series of cold coffee or cream-based drinks from Starbucks.

Final Thoughts

So, what is a frappuccino? Now you know! It’s a delicious trademarked drink from Starbucks. Otherwise, elsewhere and made with similar ingredients, it is known as a frappe or another similar name.

The great news is, if you love a frappe, you can enjoy one from Starbucks in-store, as a takeaway, or even fresh from your own fridge now with their convenient ready-bottled range. You can also enjoy frappes from other great coffee sellers, as well as making your own versions at home. With so many options, there is always a blended coffee and iced beverage for you to enjoy in hot weather! Yay!

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