With 33,833 stores worldwide, it’s no surprise that Starbucks has a ton of different toppings.[1

One of my favorite toppings are Java chips, which in my opinion, are the underdog of Sbux toppings. 

A lot of people don’t even know what they are, so I’m about to get into why I love them so much, what they taste like, and more!

What Exactly Are Java Chips? (Common Questions Answered)

Java chips are a type of chocolate chip, resembling cacao nibs.

But what sets them apart? 

Handful of Java Chips

Are Java Chips The Same As Chocolate Chips?

Java Chips are not the same as chocolate chips, but they’re similar. 

According to the FDA, chocolate should have at least 15% chocolate liquor used in its cocoa ingredients.[2] A semi-sweet chocolate chip generally contains 35% to 45% of chocolate liquor.

However, Starbucks java chips only have 12% chocolate liquor. So, technically, they’re not able to be called chocolate chips.

Instead, they’re referred to as ‘chocolatey’.

Apart from the cocoa content, java chips and chocolate chips also differ in their application.

Java chips are often added to blended drinks like Frappuccinos, as they melt and blend easier.

Real chocolate chips also maintain their form more than java chips.

Since java chips melt faster, they’re ideal to enrich coffee drinks.

What Do Java Chips Taste Like?

Java chips taste like chocolate, but not quite as chocolatey as chocolate chips as they contain less cocoa.

Generally, when java chips are added to coffee drinks, the chocolate flavor enriches the bold bitterness of the coffee.

This makes it easier for those with a sweet tooth to consume strong coffee without the intense, bitter taste.

What Ingredients Are Found In Java Chips?

So, what are java chips made of? Java chips at Starbucks are made with 5 major ingredients:

  • Cocoa - Uses a version that has low acidity levels because of alkali processing
  • Chocolate mass - This is a paste that enhances the flavor, making it chocolatey.
  • Confectioners sugar - This adds sweetness to the chips
  • Cookie crumbs - These are made with wheat flour, palm oils, and other ingredients.
  • Salt - Balances and neutralizes the flavor.

Are Java Chips Vegan?

Java chips from Starbucks are not vegan as they’re made with milk. 

Are Java Chips Gluten Free?

Java chips are not gluten-free, as they contain wheat. 

What Are Java Chips Used For?

Java chips have many different applications - let’s get into them!

In Blended Drinks

This is the most popular way to use java chips. In fact, Starbucks named a drink after it called Java Chip Frappuccino.

They also use java chips with other blended drinks, which usually contain ice, coffee, milk, and syrup, to create a dessert-like drink.

The blended drink is usually topped with whipped cream and some more java chips for decoration.

Java Chip Frappuccino

In Baking

Apart from blending java chips with coffee, I love baking with them as a substitute for regular chocolate chips.

Brownies, cakes, and cookies - they all work perfectly as they aren’t quite as sweet. 

One important thing to note is that they don't give as much chocolate flavor as chocolate chips. 

On Their Own Or With Ice Cream

I’m a huge fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream, largely because of the difference in texture with the little chips throughout the soft ice cream.

Sprinkle some java chips on chocolate or coffee ice cream, and yum! 

Java Chip Vs Frappuccino Chips: Are They The Same?

Yes, java chips and Frappuccino chips are the same.

Starbucks trademarked the word 'Frappuccino,' which is why it's the only company that uses this word on the menu.

Popular Starbucks Drinks With Frappuccino Chips

There are many popular Starbucks drinks with recipes that include Frappuccino chips.

Java Chip Frappuccino

Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino® Blended Beverage

The Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino is the reason why I first found out about java chips. 

It’s made by blending espresso, mocha sauce, milk, and java chips.

It’s then topped with whipped cream and more mocha sauce.

It’s kind of like a cookies-and-cream milkshake with coffee for my caffeine fix! 

Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino

I see this one as a caffeine-free version of the Java Chip Frappuccino.

The Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino is a mocha sauce blended with java chips and milk, then topped with whipped cream and more mocha sauce.

It’s perfect for kids or for when I want to skip the caffeine (which is rare, but I still like the option). 

Molten Hot Chocolate

The Molten Hot Chocolate is rich and delicious on a cold winter day.

It's made with mocha sauce and java chips, melted into steaming hot milk for a smooth and creamy taste.

To top it off, mocha and espresso-infused whipped cream and mocha drizzle is added to the drink.

Peanut Butter Frappe

I love peanut butter cups, and the Peanut Butter Frappe encapsulates the experience in a cool cup. 

It's made with peanut butter flavored sauce and java chips and topped with whipped cream.

The best part? The peanut butter sauce is made with sunflower seeds, so it's allergen-free!

S’mores Frappe

S’mores instantly transports me back to simpler times, and the S’mores Frappe instantly relaxes me. 

I’m actually surprised at how “authentic” the graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate flavor is. 

The S'mores Frappe is made by blending cold brew, ice, milk, and java chips.

To make it taste like the real deal, it is topped with graham cracker crumbs, toasted marshmallows, and mini chips.

Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappe

The Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappe is indulgent and perfect when I want dessert on-the-go.

It is made with frap roast, chocolate syrup, milk, java chips, and some cookie crumbs, usually Oreo cookies or other chocolate-flavored cookies, blended with ice.

It is then topped with more cookie crumbs and whipped cream. It's a must-try dessert drink!

How To Make A Java Chip Frappuccino With Chocolate Chips

If you want to recreate this drink at home, follow our recipe below:

What You’ll Need:

  • One cup of strong coffee or iced coffee
  • 2 cups ice cubes (make it less if the iced coffee you're using comes with a lot of ice)
  • 1 cup milk (any will do)
  • 4 tablespoons store-bought java chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons of chocolate syrup or sauce
  • Whipped cream
Java Chip Frappuccino


  • 1
    Prepare your coffee. You can use instant, cold brew, or espresso coffee. Let it chill in the refrigerator. If you can’t wait, add ice directly to it.
  • 2
    Loosely drizzle the cup with chocolate syrup and set aside. You can put the glass in the freezer while preparing the drink.
  • 3
    In a blender, add ice, coffee, milk, java chips, and chocolate syrup. Secure the lid and blend it on low speed for around 30 seconds. Then, put it on max speed for 20 seconds until the mixture is evenly smooth.
  • 4
    Pour it into the glass and top it with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and java chips.

Frequently Asked Java Chip Questions

Are there any java chip substitutes?

Yes, there are java chip substitutes.

Chocolate syrup and cocoa powder can do the trick.

For something crunchy and sweet, semi-sweet chocolate chips and bar chocolate are great alternatives.

Do java chips have caffeine?

No, java chips do not contain any caffeine.

While its name may imply it, java chips aren't made with coffee. Instead, the main ingredient is chocolate.


There are many ways to enjoy java chips aside from in a blended drink. 

I actually bought a package to use in my coffee sometimes in the morning, when I really want to treat myself and ramp up the flavor. 

They’re not as sweet, but I absolutely love that about the crunchy little pieces of heaven!


1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/218366/number-of-international-and-us-starbucks-stores/
2. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=163&showFR=1 

Kim Fernandez


Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

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