Frappe Vs Frappuccino (How To Tell Them Apart!) – BaristaHQ

Confused between Frappe and Frappuccino? Many people consider these iced coffee drinks to be the same, but when you take a closer look they're actually quite different! 

But don't worry, because in this guide we'll give you the full Frappe vs Frappuccino breakdown so you know exactly what to order next time. 

The main difference between Frappe and Frappuccino drinks is that the Frappe is traditionally made with instant coffee, while the Frappuccino uses strongly brewed or concentrated coffee. This isn’t the only difference, though:  

1. Caffeine Content

Frappes will always contain some caffeine, but a Frappuccino won't. 

Most Frappes will generally contain 75-100mg of caffeine in a serving, but that depends on the type of ground coffee beans used and how much instant coffee is added. 

A coffee Frappuccino will generally contain 80-100mg of caffeine from the espresso shot.

A Frappuccino can be made with coffee that has been decaffeinated using decaf coffee beans. For example, the Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino contains absolutely zero coffee, so there is no caffeine.  

2. Coffee Used

One of the main differences between a Frappe and a Frappuccino is the coffee used. 

A Frappe is made with filter or instant coffee, or natural coffee flavoring. This blended drink tends of have more of a strong coffee taste.

A Frappuccino is made using strongly brewed or concentrated hot coffee. It's worth noting that this is different from an espresso Frappuccino, which is made exclusively with espresso. There's less of a strong coffee taste with a Frappuccino and you can generally only taste the flavored syrup. 

3. Milk Content

A Frappe and Frappuccino both contain the same amount of milk. They're both basically coffee milkshakes with added flavored syrup - and they both usually contain about 1/2-1 full cup of cold milk.

If you’re making a single Frappe or Frappuccino for yourself at home, use 1 cup milk. This can be full-fat, fat-free, or even a dairy-free milk alternative like oat, almond, or soy milk. 

4. Taste

If you love sweet iced drinks then you'll find both of these drinks DELICIOUS. 

However, traditional Frappes tend to be slightly less sweet because coffee shops use less sugar, and there's more actual coffee flavor.

Frappuccinos tend to be sweeter and the Starbucks vanilla ice cream Frappuccino is regarded as one of the sweetest drinks on the menu (which is slightly surprising considering the Frappuccino is made with espresso which has a bitter and slightly sour taste).  

It all comes down to how you order it, but you should only order these iced drinks if you want something very sweet. 

5. Healthiness

Healthiness, in the context of coffee drinks at least, can be hard to define - but it generally comes down to caffeine levels, calories, and sugar. 

The caffeine content of both Frappes and Frappuccinos is basically identical. The coffee connection isn't very strong, and neither of them are any stronger than other espresso mixed drinks. 

However, both Frappes and Frappuccinos have a lot of calories, in fact they both have 400-500 calories in a single serving. Most of this comes from the 60-75g of sugar in a serving, but the foamed milk and syrup add some too.

You can order a Frappe without sugar, or a Frappuccino with a different milk, but you're still looking at 150-250 calories at least.

When it comes to Frappe vs Frappuccino it's fair to say that neither of these drinks can be deemed “healthy", and you'll struggle to find a more unhealthy drink on the Starbucks menu. 

6. Variations

Frappes and Frappuccinos come in a wide variety of different flavors, and you can find several different versions around. 

Popular Frappe variations include:

  • Greek Frappe - the original Frappe recipe made with instant coffee
  • New England Frappe - closer to a milkshake and made using added ice cream 
  • McDonalds Café Frappé - the McDonalds version with instant coffee and a LOT of sugar
  • Caramel Frappe - made with caramel sauce and a simple syrup
  • Mocha Frappe - made with blended coffee, ice, and chocolate syrup
  • Blended Frappe - made by blending sweet iced coffee, cold water, and vanilla ice cream - perfect for a hot day!

Popular Frappuccino variations include:

  • Java Chip Frappuccino - the original recipe for Frappuccino made with chocolatey Starbucks java chips. It tastes just like ice cream!
  • Caramel Frappuccino - made with extra caramel syrup 
  • Mocha Frappuccino - made with chocolate sauce 
  • Apple Crisp Oatmilk Frappuccino - made with autumnal spiced apple flavors 
  • Pumpkin Spiced Frappuccino - the Frappuccino version of the famous PSL
  • Strawberries n' Cream Frappuccino - the perfect light and sweet summer treat 
  • Vanilla Bean Frappuccino - made with vanilla syrup, whipped cream, ice, and coffee. It tastes just like a vanilla ice cream
  • Skinny Frappuccino - made with sugar free syrup, low fat milk, and no whipped cream, so there's barely any calories!

The difference between a Frappe and a Frappuccino is that a Frappuccino is a Starbucks coffee shop drink. This means there are more variations because their baristas can really mix it up, and in contrast there are fewer options with a Frappe. It's also worth noting that you can't get a hot version of either of the drinks, though people often ask for Frappes hot!

Just remember, if you're having a homemade Frappuccino or Frappe you can customise the recipe, but just remember it's probably sweet enough without too many other toppings!

7. Extra Additions

You might have thought Frappes and Frappuccinos had enough going on, but there are options to add extras on top. 

Both drinks already have a thick layer of whipped cream and some sweetened syrup on top, but you can add other sweeteners and flavors into the iced drink to change the taste. 

Starbucks Frappuccinos tend to have more options than Frappes because Starbucks invented the drink, but you should be able to get some extras on a Frappe too. 

What Is A Frappe & How Is It Made? 

The word Frappe, pronounced fra-pay, is the name for an iced coffee drink that originated in Greece sometime in the 1950s. It all started when a representative of the Nescafe, Dimitris Vakondios, started experimenting by combining instant coffee, cold water, sugar, and milk.  

What started as a kind of iced cappuccino blended with sugar has transformed into a global drink, and you probably know the Frappe better as one of McDonald’s best-selling McCafe menu items. 

Just like the traditional Frappe, McDonald's Frappes are

"cool, sweet treats blended with ice and topped with whipped cream topping…."

How to Make a Frappe 

A Frappe is an iced drink, so it's always served cold, but there are different ways to achieve its signature sweet flavoring. It can be shaken, blended, or beaten, and oftentimes it is topped with whipped cream and additional treats, like caramel sauce or chocolate syrup.

Some people even make a Frappuccino at home using real espresso rather than instant coffee grounds for a bolder coffee flavor. 

Frappe Vs Frappuccino: The Key Differences Explained

If you’re looking for a Frappe recipe to make your own at home, you’re in luck; there are tons of online recipes available outlining the exact steps and ingredients you’ll need. To help you get started, here’s the general gist of making a Frappe at home:  

  1. 1
    Gather your base ingredients. This consists of instant coffee granules (about 1 teaspoon), ¼ cup hot water, 1 cup milk of choice, and ½ cup ice. You can use filter coffee if you prefer.
  2. 2
    Dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water. For best results, pour this into an ice cube tray and freeze it before moving on to the next step.  
  3. 3
    In a blender, combine the milk and coffee ice cubes—cover and process until smooth. Add the crushed ice and blend, then pour into a tall glass. 

Feel free to use other ingredients to garnish your Frappe - or even add more instant coffee, milk, or ice cubes. You can also top it off with things like whipped cream, chocolate syrup, or even Oreo cookies.  

What Is A Frappuccino & How Is It Made? 

Unlike the Frappe, a Frappuccino is a patented Starbucks trademark drink that you’ll only find at Starbucks locations. However, Starbucks isn’t responsible for officially creating this popular drink. 

Take a look at the history of the Frappuccino, and you'll find that the Frappuccino originated from a man named George Howell, but Starbucks trademarked the iced coffee drink in 1995.

“Howell was one of the pioneers of the specialty coffee movement in the United States during the 70s and 80s. He now operates George Howell Coffee, which has three coffee shop locations in Massachusetts.”

Starbucks Frappuccino

So what exactly is a Frappuccino? To put it simply, it’s a drink that combines cappuccino (but any concentrated brewed coffee can be used) with a milkshake, sugar, ice cubes, aerated cream, and sweetening agents. These are the base ingredients, but just like the Frappe, this iced coffee drink can be flavored and garnished with many different things. 

How to Make a Frappuccino 

If you’re looking for the exact Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino recipe to make at home - we can’t all spend $5/day on our frozen coffee drinks! - here’s how to make a Frappuccino at home:  

  1. 1
    Gather your ingredients. You’ll need 2 cups of ice, 1 cup of cooled strongly brewed coffee (preferably made using an espresso machine), 1 cup milk of choice, 3 tablespoons sugar, and ⅓ caramel sauce.  
  2. 2
    Blend all of the ingredients together on high until the consistency is smooth. If you prefer a chunkier drink, then add blended ice to your preference.  
  3. 3
    Add ice, more milk, or any other flavorings you like and enjoy!

Starbucks Frappuccino Vs McDonald's Frappe (Which To Order?) 

The Starbucks Frappuccino and McDonald’s Frappe are pretty much neck and neck when it comes to popularity. The one you order really comes down to your personal taste preferences. 

Like most treats at McDonald’s, the Frappe is extremely sugar-packed. If you’re not a fan of sweetness, then you’ll probably want to steer clear of this beverage. But if you have a sweet tooth and are in the mood for a cold coffee drink, it’s an excellent choice. 

At Starbucks, you have a lot more control over sweetness depending on how you order and the Frappuccino variation you’ve chosen - and you can even request dark roast coffee beans to give it more of a coffee taste.  

Generally, a Frappuccino has slightly less coffee taste, not because Frappes have more coffee - but because they have slightly less sugar. So if you really don't like coffee then a Frappuccino may be the better of the two drinks. 

Mcdonalds McCafe

Common Frappe Vs Frappuccino Questions

Does Starbucks own the word Frappuccino? 

Yep! Starbucks officially trademarked the word Frappuccino back in 1995. 

What was the first Frappuccino at Starbucks? 

According to a Starbucks Fact Sheet,

“Starbucks launched the first Frappuccino® blended beverages, Coffee and Mocha, in the U.S. in 1995 with a proprietary blend of coffee, milk and ice. Today, almost two decades later, customers can enjoy more than 36,000 different combinations of Frappuccino® blended beverages.”

Can you put a Frappuccino in the fridge? 

Yes, but just realize that the ingredients are likely to separate. Before you sip on your Frappuccino after taking it out of the fridge, give it a good stir, or you can even reblend it in your home blender.  


A Frappe and Frappuccino aren't the same drink, but they are similar. The real difference between a Frappe and a Frappuccino is that one is associated with McDonalds and the other with Starbuck. In a way it's a bit like coca cola vs pepsi - everyone has a favorite!

Hopefully you now know a bit more about both and can order your favorite cold refreshment with confidence from any coffee shop! 

Caitlin Shaffer


Caitlin Shaffer
Caitlin Shaffer, is a knowledgeable coffee expert and passionate writer. Her articles are a mix of personal experiences, insights gained from her travels, and interviews, offering an extensive view of the global coffee scene. Caitlin enjoys embarking on new travel adventures, often to destinations celebrated for their unique coffee offerings, from Indonesia to Italy and Colombia, adding a worldly flavor to her articles. Her go-to coffee? Cold brew with homemade vanilla syrup – a personal favorite that keeps her love for coffee fresh and exciting.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... cold brew with homemade vanilla syrup.

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