Frappuccino vs Frappe: Are They the Same Coffee Drink?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.


Frappe and Frappuccino are like cool coffee shakes, but there’s more to these icy treats than meets the eye. 

A frappe is a cool, sweet treat made by mixing instant coffee with ice, milk, and sugar. On the other hand, a Frappuccino, which is Starbucks’ special version, uses chilled espresso instead of instant coffee and adds delicious toppings like whipped cream and flavored syrup.

Frappuccinos and frappes are cafe favorites, but there’s a lot of confusion about them. Let’s explore what really sets these two delicious drinks apart and what they have in common.

What Is a Frappe?

A Frappe, a blended coffee drink made with iced coffee

Frappe: a cool, shaken mix of instant coffee, ice, and sweet stuff like milk or sugar. Perfect for hot days!

Stirring instant coffee makes it creamy and thick, almost like a slushy, by mixing in air and water.

The secret to a frappe’s deliciously rich taste? It’s all in the texture! When air gets mixed in, the coffee’s surface area expands, letting those creamy, bold flavors dance across your tastebuds. Every sip is a cool, irresistible delight you’ll always crave!

Why do frappes use instant coffee?

In the 1950s, a Nescafe worker, Dimitris Vakondios, invented the frappe. He craved his regular instant coffee but had no hot water. So, he got creative and made a cool new drink instead. This is how the beloved frappe came to be!

Luckily, Vakondios was inspired by a new chocolate drink mixed by shaking chocolate, milk, and ice. This idea sparked the birth of the frappe.

Instant coffee transformed the classic frappe into a beloved treat. Without it, you’re missing out on the true essence of this refreshing drink.

Do frappes have caffeine?

Frappe lovers, rejoice! Your favorite icy treat is powered by an instant coffee base, buzzing with caffeine.

Did you know that instant coffee can pack a punch with caffeine? Most brands offer between 60 mg and 120 mg of caffeine in every 8-ounce cup. Take Nescafe Taster’s Choice, for instance; it delivers roughly 98 mg of caffeine per serving. And if you’re looking for a stronger kick, Starbucks Via instant coffee goes all the way up to 135 mg in the same size cup. Perfect for those mornings when you need an extra boost!

What Is a Frappuccino?

A frappuccino, an espresso-based drink made by Starbucks

A Frappuccino is a cool, sweet treat from Starbucks, mixing espresso with ice, milk, whipped cream, and syrup. It’s like a sweet, icy cappuccino that dances between rich coffee bitterness and sugary delight. 

Frappuccinos are like coffee milkshakes – super sweet and icy! They come in loads of flavors, from mocha to strawberry funnel cake, and even seasonal ones like pumpkin spice and apple crisp. Perfect for a sweet treat!

Find bottled coffee at stores, perfect for coffee lovers always on the move.

Explore endless Frappuccino flavors – who knows what exciting new blend will become the next coffee sensation?

Do Frappuccinos have caffeine?

Frappuccinos can pack as much caffeine as an espresso if they’re made with it. But, if there’s no coffee in the recipe, they won’t have any caffeine at all.

For instance, a grande Frappuccino (16 oz) usually has 105 mg or less of caffeine. But, the Espresso Frappuccino is different – it packs around 155 mg in the same size, making it the strongest caffeine kick you can get from a Starbucks Frappuccino.

Did you know? Your favorite bottled Mocha Starbucks Frappuccino packs a punch with 50 mg of caffeine in every 9.5 oz serving. Check the label for more details!

Frappuccino vs cappuccino

Think a Frappuccino is just a mixed-up cappuccino? Think again! These two coffee favorites are not the same. Let’s explore what sets them apart.

  • Frappuccinos have a sweeter flavor. Frappuccinos contain espresso, milk, sugar, and other sweeteners, while cappuccinos only involve espresso and milk. And so, the sweet component is more overpowering in Frappuccinos, making them the sweeter one between the two.
  • Frappuccinos are always cold. The Frappuccino requires ice when blending, so this drink always comes in a cold serving. Meanwhile, a cappuccino can be served either hot or cold, depending on a person’s preference.
  • Frappuccinos don’t always contain coffee. Unlike cappuccinos, the Frappuccino evolved to non-coffee flavors, so there are frappuccinos without the espresso base. The absence of coffee means zero caffeine content.
  • Frappuccinos are more versatile. Changing the composition of a Frappuccino does not alter its identity as a drink, only its flavor. On the other hand, the cappuccino has a specific brewing method, which results in a different drink when not followed.

Frappuccinos vs Frappes

Frappe and Frappuccino may sound alike and look similar, but don’t be fooled! Each has unique features that make them stand out from each other.

What makes Frappuccinos and Frappes similar?

  • Chilled coffee. Frappes and Frappuccinos are chilled drinks made from blending ice, coffee, and sweeteners. Hence, they are always cold when served.
  • Slushy and aerated consistency. Frappes and Frappuccinos require vigorous shaking of the ingredients. The motion introduces air into the mixture, giving the same consistency as a milkshake.
  • Sweet flavor. Frappes and Frappuccinos give a sweetened taste due to the sugar, milk, and other flavorings present in the drinks.

What makes Frappuccinos and Frappes different?

  • Different coffee bases. The frappe uses instant coffee as a base, while a Frappuccino uses an espresso base.
  • Frappuccinos are Starbucks-trademarked drinks. Starbucks has exclusive ownership of Frappuccinos and its whole product line. Meanwhile, frappes do not legally represent any company or person – not even its discoverer, Dimitris Vakondios.
  • Frappuccinos don’t always contain coffee. Some Frappuccino recipes omit the coffee base, making the drink caffeine-free. In the case of frappes, removing the coffee base results in a milkshake, not an actual frappe.
  • Frappuccinos have multiple flavors. Frappuccinos exist in different flavors like mocha, strawberry funnel cake, and pumpkin spice, while frappes only taste like sweetened coffee.

Can I Make Frappes and Frappuccinos at Home?

Definitely! Frappes and Frappuccinos are easy, tasty picks from the many coffee drink types.

Making frappes and Frappuccinos at home is easier than you think! You don’t need to be super precise, which means you can easily tweak them to your taste. With the right gear, you’ll whip them up in no time!

How to brew a frappe without a coffee maker

What you need

  • 2 tablespoons of instant coffee (1 packet)
  • 1-3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup of milk or milk ice cubes (optional) 
  • Shaker (milk frother, cocktail shaker, high-powered blender, etc.)

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Combine the instant coffee, ice, sugar, and milk in the shaker. Do not pour all of the ice and milk at once. It’s best to start with less, so you can control the consistency and avoid a watery frappe.
  1. Shake ingredients vigorously. This process can take up to 20 seconds, depending on your equipment. Just remember that shaking longer results in a thicker and slushier consistency.
  1. Pour coffee into a glass and enjoy. Once you’re satisfied with the texture of your coffee, stop mixing, pour it into a glass, and enjoy while still cold. Else, the ice will melt, dilute the drink, and ruin the texture of a classic frappe.

How to Brew a Frappe using a Frappe Maker

What you need

  • 3 tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons of syrup (optional)
  • Mr. Coffee Frappe Maker – This machine can make your favorite frappe with just a single push of a button. It also includes a “pulse” blending feature, so you can manually adjust to the consistency you want.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Fill the coffee compartment and the water reservoir. Make sure that each section only includes the corresponding ingredient. Else, you may end up clogging the pipes and degrading the lifespan of your machine.
  1. Pour ice, milk, sugar, and syrup into the removable blender. You may opt to include other sweeteners depending on your preference.
  1. Lock the blender in place. All pieces must be secure to avoid spillage or, worse, accidents.
  1. Push the frappe button and wait. At this point, your coffee maker will make loud noises as it breaks down the ice. Do not be alarmed and wait for the light to flash, indicating that the automatic blending is over.
  1. Push the blend button to mix manually (Optional). Although your coffee maker stops after one cycle, you can continue mixing for a thicker and slushier consistency.
  1. Pour coffee into a glass and enjoy. Once satisfied with the texture, it’s time to reap the fruit of your labor and enjoy a delicious frappe!

How to Brew a Frappuccino

What you need

  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 3/8 cup of milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Optional toppings (whipped cream, flavored syrup, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, etc.) 
  • Shaker (milk frother, cocktail shaker, high-powered blender, etc.)
  • Coffee machine
    • Nespresso Coffee Maker – If you prefer leaving all the work to your coffee maker, then Nespresso is a must-try for you! Their automatic coffee makers use Nespresso pods for delicious espresso. 
    • Keurig Coffee Maker – Keurig machines do not make espresso the right way. Instead of using high pressure, they offer espresso K-Cups that can copy the taste of authentic espresso.
    • Ninja Coffee Maker – Since Ninja machines don’t reach the required brewing pressure, they can only imitate espresso with their drip coffee concentrate. Here’s a guide on how to brew espresso using Ninja.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Brew an espresso shot using your coffee machine. Stick with your machine’s instruction manual since each has its features. Here’s a short overview of how to brew espresso using a manual, semi-automatic, and automatic espresso machine. These instructions are applicable for most budget espresso machines and mid-range espresso makers.
  1. Cool the espresso to room temperature. The heat from your espresso can melt down the ice and result in a watery drink, so it’s best to let it cool for a while.
  1. Pour the espresso, ice, milk, sugar, and syrup into the shaker. You can change the composition based on the flavor and amount of sweeteners you want.
  1. Shake ingredients vigorously. Frothers and blenders usually take less than 10 seconds of mixing, while manual shaking can go up to 20 seconds. Just remember that the longer you shake, the more aerated your Frappuccino will be.
  1. Pour coffee into a glass. Do not wait for the ice to melt before transferring your coffee to a tall glass.
  1. Top it off. Get your creativity running and top your drink with basically anything you want. If you’re a beginner, whipped cream and a dash of chocolate syrup are great starting points.
  1. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is frappe short for Frappuccino?

No. Frappes and Frappuccinos are two different kinds of coffee. Although both are chilled, milkshake-like drinks, the frappe involves an instant coffee base while the Frappuccino uses an espresso base. Also, the Frappuccino tends to be sweeter and more versatile in terms of flavor and toppings than the frappe.

Which is better: frappe or Frappuccino?

There is no sure way to verify which drink is better since the choice boils down to your preference. But, if you’re on a budget and don’t want to splurge on the top espresso machines, the frappe is an easy choice. If budget is not an issue, go for the Frappuccino to satisfy your sweet craving.

Journey to Chilled Coffee

Frappe and Frappuccino lovers, rejoice! These drinks are sweet, bursting with flavor, and super refreshing – ideal for beating the heat. And the best part? There’s even more to explore in the coffee world!

If you’re exploring instant coffee, Vietnamese versions stand out with their strong Robusta taste. For something gentler, try Colombian instant coffee. Or, for a twist on your Frappuccino, experiment with espresso types like the sweeter ristretto, a key ingredient in Australia’s beloved magic coffee.

Tried any frappe or Frappuccino recipes? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Frappe vs frappuccino: Are they the same coffee drink?