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What is a frappuccino coffee? A Starbucks favorite

What is a frappuccino? A frappuccino is a trademarked brand from Starbucks. It’s an iced coffee that consists of coffee, ice, crème, flavored syrups, and other ingredients to make a sweet and light coffee taste.

People like to debate about what a frappuccino is. Coffee lovers are crazy about this brew and for a good reason. It’s one of my favorite beverages and I’m here to tell you why.

What is a frappuccino?

A frappuccino is a trademarked brand from Starbucks. It’s an iced coffee brew that includes coffee/espresso, ice, crème, flavored syrups, and other ingredients to make a sweet and light coffee taste. It’s one of the most popular drinks at Starbucks and can be bought at your local Starbucks or even as bottled versions at the gas station or grocery store.

A white chocolate frappuccino that landed in my hand

The history of the frappuccino

Frappuccino” comes from the words “frappe” and “cappuccino”.  A frappe is a thick milkshake with ice cream, while a cappuccino is a coffee drink with frothed milk. This gives us the origin of the name Frappuccino that we know today.

Believe it or not, the trademarked frappuccinos from Starbucks did not originate from them. The beverage was initially created and trademarked by a chain called “The Coffee Connection”. In 1994 the chain was acquired by Starbucks, where the recipe of the frappuccino was changed and brought back to the market.

However, the recipe has changed so much over the years that most variants of the frappuccino no longer contain espresso or cappuccino.

Do frappuccinos have coffee in them?

The traditional frappuccino did. Starbucks uses its own frappuccino roast to replace the traditional shot of espresso. The advantage of that is that it gives the drink a better texture, and since espresso causes other ingredients to expand, it leaves less room for those.

So there’s a good reason why Starbucks is not using espresso shots anymore. Even though I would prefer it with a real shot of espresso.

What is the difference between a frappuccino and an iced coffee?

Frappuccinos and iced coffee are commonly confused. Since both of them are cold it makes sense as to why they’re confused. Look at iced coffee as a category, while a frappuccino is a type of iced coffee. Frappuccino is just one example of an iced coffee.

Iced coffee is a certain type of beverage where it’s served cold. There are different ways to make iced coffee. Some are brewed cold straight away, others are brewed the normal way and then poured over ice or milk.

Iced coffee has a lot of variations, which is why it’s looked at as a category rather than a specific drink.

Cold latte served in a glass cup

Are frappuccinos really that bad for you?

Yes, they’re certainly not healthy and the calories can add up very quickly. They’re easily one of the unhealthiest drinks on the menu since they use whole milk, whipped cream, and a ton of sugar. That does not mean that you can’t have them at all, they’re a nice treat every once in a while but should not be consumed every day. 

How many calories are in a frappuccino?

Since we are talking if frappuccinos are that bad for you, let’s take a look at how many calories are in your favorite frappuccino.

I’ve made a table of all the frappuccinos I could find, as well as added the calories to them.

Keep in mind that these numbers are for Grande (16 fl oz) with whole milk. These are the standard drinks without any extra toppings or flavors added. If you do add extra toppings or flavors to your frappuccino then the calorie count will go up.

Coffee FrappuccinoCalories
Coffee Frappuccino230
Espresso Frappuccino210
Cafè Vanilla Frappuccino400
Caramel Frappuccino380
Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino470
Java Chip Frappuccino440
Mocha Frappuccino370
Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino 480
White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino420
Crème FrappuccinoCalories
Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crème Frappuccino460
Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino420
Strawberry Crème Frappuccino370
Chai Crème Frappuccino340
Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino410
Matcha Crème Frappuccino420
Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino380
White Chocolate Crème Frappuccino380

How to avoid the calories

There is no surprise that Frappuccinos are packed with calories. But there’s hope if you’re watching your calorie intake.

  • Switching to non-fat milk or almond/coconut milk does do more than you think.
  • Getting rid of whipped cream is a big change.
  • Smaller portions are your friend.

One of the easiest ways to avoid calories is to ask for a “light” version. This will give you a frappuccino with sugar-free syrups, non-fat milk, and no whipped cream.

Ordering “Frappuccinos” at stores other than Starbucks

Since Frappuccino is a trademark of Starbucks, you won’t find the official frappuccino in other places. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own version.

Usually, others sell them under the name “frappes”, and there are plenty of versions.

How to make a frappuccino at home

Making a frappuccino at home is actually super easy. The only thing you need is a blender.


  • Double shot of espresso (or strong coffee)
  • Milk – ¾ cup
  • (Crushed) ice – 1 cup
  • Sugar to taste
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Flavored syrups (optional)

Place all ingredients (except whipped cream and your syrups) in a blender and let it run for 30-45 seconds.

Pour into a cup and top it off with your whipped cream. Garnish it with your flavored syrup.

The bottom line

Frappuccinos are trademarked by Starbucks, they’re an iced coffee that looks like a milkshake with a shot of coffee. The name comes from “frappe” and “cappuccino”. You can add different toppings and flavors to it which makes it burst with flavors in your mouth.

The drink was developed and trademarked by The Coffee Connection, the chain, and all its drinks were later acquired by Starbucks which then changed the recipe of the frappuccino and brought it back.

Frappuccinos are a wonderful treat for yourself from time to time. It is absolutely packed with calories and sugar so you should not consume it every day. But you can cut down calories by asking for a smaller drink, using non-fat milk, or giving up on the whipped cream.

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