Frappe vs Frappucino: Cool Facts + Recipes You Need To Know

Nothing beats the hot weather like cold coffee does. Habitual coffee drinkers are well aware of this fact.

But if you are still starting your coffee journey, finding the right drink can be overwhelming.

Two of the most popular cold caffeine drinks are frappe and frappuccino. If you are still exploring the world of coffee, knowing the difference between these two drinks is a challenge.

Back when I was still unfamiliar with the different coffee varieties at cafes, I have always wondered about the difference between Frappe vs Frappucino. At first, I thought frappe was a shorter term for a frappucino, only to be proved wrong when I first ordered it at a cafe.

Needless to say, it is easy to confuse these two beverages. So, I compared them to help you find out their differences.

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Frappe vs Frappucino – what are the differences

The Differences Between Frappe vs Frappucino

Frappuccino is a Starbucks trademark.

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Frappuccino is an exclusive Starbucks beverage.

Frappuccino is an exclusive beverage made by Starbucks. When the drink was initially trademarked, this popular cafe only used coffee to make it.

Starbucks soon realized that not all of its customers were fans of caffeine. This is why they came up with the idea of serving non-coffee-based frappuccinos.

No one knows the actual recipe for the Starbucks frappuccino. But if you base the ingredients on how the beverage looks, you’ll see that it contains ice and ice cream blended together to produce a creamy drink.

Frappuccino also has whipped cream on top.

There is a difference in the types of coffee used.

If you compare frappe vs frappuccino, you will never notice the difference in the coffee types used for making them.

The dark color and thick foam you see in frappes come from the type of coffee it contains — instant coffee. It also gives this drink its strong and slightly bitter taste.

People originally made frappes using a shaker. They mix instant coffee, milk, and sweetener and shake it until it produces a thick and creamy foam.

The shaken beverage is then served over ice.

Unlike frappes, frappuccinos always use brewed coffee. You can try using instant coffee to make a homemade frappuccino, but the taste will be different.

Starbucks frappuccino contains espresso shots. Its baristas blend the espresso shot with milk, ice, and sweetener to make a drink that resembles a slushie.

Frappuccinos also do not have foam on top.

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A frappe has a thick foam on top.

Not all frappuccinos are the same.

Not all frappuccinos contain coffee. This is a noticeable difference in frappe vs frappuccino.

Walk into a Starbucks, and you’ll see they have a long list of non-caffeinated frappuccinos. The reason is that this patented beverage does not always contain caffeine.

Some non-coffee frappuccinos contain fruits like strawberries, while others have chocolate-base, such as java chips.

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Some frappuccinos contain fruits or chocolate.

Non-coffee frappuccinos are popular among people looking for a refreshing drink that contains no caffeine.

On the other hand, a frappe will always contain caffeine, as you cannot make it without instant coffee. The caffeine content of a frappe depends on the instant coffee used.

Store-bought frappes usually contain 75 to 180 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the size of your drink. The larger your frappe, the more caffeine it contains.

The difference in origin

When comparing the differences in frappe vs frappuccino, I found out that they differ in origin.

The first frappe recipe came from Greece. A Nescafe representative named Dimitris Vakondios invented this beverage in 1957 during an instant coffee convention.

The invention of the frappe was an accident. Vakondios was demonstrating a then-new Nescafe product for kids, particularly a chocolate powder that people can use to make an instant chocolate drink.

During the convention’s break, Vakondios wanted to make his regular instant coffee. When he could not find hot water, he improvised and mixed his Nescafe Classic with cold water in a shaker.

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Shaking instant coffee and milk produces thick foam — something a frappe is popular for.

Vakondios then proceeded to shake his coffee, resulting in a thick foam on top of it. Nescafe promoted this beverage back then.

On the other hand, you may think that it was Starbucks that invented the frappuccino. But the truth is that Eastern Massachusettes-based Coffee Connection was the first coffee shop to serve it in 1992.

Coffee Connection’s George Howell invented the term frappuccino by combining the words “frozen” and “frappuccino.” Years after, Starbucks trademarked frappuccino and has been serving it exclusively since then.

During the first years of serving Starbucks frappuccino, the drink only contained coffee as its main ingredient. Years after, the coffee shop chain began serving non-caffeine frappuccinos, which are ideal for younger customers.

Frappuccinos always have whipped cream, but frappes sometimes don’t

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A frappe has thick foam on top.

Another notable difference when comparing frappe vs frappuccino is their toppings.

The frappuccino always has whipped cream on top. The frappe has a thick foamy topping produced by vigorously shaking the instant coffee and milk mixture.

But this fact does not mean frappes cannot have whipped cream. You can ask your barista to add a swirl of whipped cream on top of the foam if that’s what you prefer.

The calorie count

To find the difference between frappe and frappuccino’s calorie content, I compared the respective beverages served by two popular shops — McDonald’s frappe and Starbuck’s frappuccino.

According to McDonald’s website, a small serving of its frappe contains 420 calories. The frappe includes coffee, 2% milk, whipped cream, sweetener, and chocolate syrup.

But it is important to note that the number of calories in a serving of frappe still depends on its ingredients. If a frappe is made at home, it contains as little as 173 calories.

The reason is that homemade frappes usually only contain instant coffee, milk, and sugar. In contrast, storebought frappes contain flavor enhancers like chocolate syrup.

Starbucks frappuccino contains 210 calories, much lower than the calorie content of the frappe. It contains espresso, milk, and Starbucks frappuccino syrup.

Starbucks frappuccino contains lower calories than McDonald’s frappe, as the latter has more sugar. But if you will compare homemade frappe vs frappuccino, homemade frappe can contain as little as 175 calories.

Making Frappe At Home

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A frappe uses instant coffee, so making one at home will not require any special ingredient.

Frappes are one of the easiest coffee recipes to try at home. You do not need any special coffee, as your favorite instant coffee will do the trick.


  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  •  1 tbsp. sugar (you can add more if you want your frappe to be extra sweet)
  •  your milk of choice (the amount depends on how creamy you want your frappe)
  •  1 cup ice
  1. Get a cocktail shaker or a mason jar and combine your instant coffee and sugar with two tablespoons of water. Cover your jar tightly and shake vigorously until the mixture forms foam.
  2.  Add a cup of ice and your milk and shake again for 30 seconds. Shaking the mixture will help the ice melt and dilute your frappe.
  3.  Taste a bit of your homemade drink to see if there are any adjustments needed. Add any of the listed ingredients if you want to adjust the flavors.
  4.  Transfer your frappe to a glass and enjoy!

Easy Frappuccino Recipe

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While Starbucks frappuccino is a trademark, recreating it at home is easy and fun.

By now, you may be thinking of trying a homemade frappuccino. If my guess is right, let me share an easy frappuccino recipe you can follow at home.

You will need the following:

  • 1 cup frozen brewed dark roast coffee
  •  1/2 cup of milk of your choice
  •  2 tbsp. chocolate or caramel syrup (you can add more if you want a stronger flavor)
  •  3 tbsp. sugar (you can add or subtract depending on the sweetness you want)
  •  whipped cream
  1. Set the whipped cream aside and blend all the other ingredients until it becomes smooth, almost like a slushie. We are using frozen coffee cubes instead of ice to prevent the frappuccino from tasting bland when it melts.
  2.  Place your blended mixture in a glass and top it with a swirl of whipped cream.
  3.  Add a drizzle of your chosen syrup, and enjoy!

Blending Things Up

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Frappe vs frappuccino — these two beverages look very similar yet are entirely different. From the ingredients to the preparation process, there is no denying that making frappuccino is more complicated.

We hope that this article helped you distinguish the differences between frappe vs frappuccino. If you want to broaden your knowledge about the coffee world, feel free to check out this article.