Frappe vs. Frappuccino: In-Depth Comparison Guide 2024

Coffee menus can be a minefield of fancy terms! Frappe does sound like a short version for Frappuccino, but it actually isn’t. Let’s clear up the confusion and break down these blended coffee drinks, from ingredients to flavor to how they’re made.

The frappe is a frothy iced coffee that originated in Greece and is typically made with instant coffee, water, sugar, and milk. On the other hand, the frappuccino is a trademarked beverage of Starbucks, usually made with brewed coffee and is well-known for its creamy texture and generous toppings like whipped cream and flavored syrups.

Get ready for a battle of the iced beverages: Frappe vs. Frappuccino. By the end, you’ll be a frappe and Frappuccino expert!

Origins and History

The Birth of Frappé in Greece

 A glass of frappe coffee with a layer of froth on top
by Pinterest

Thessaloniki, Greece is the birthplace of the frappé, originally crafted in 1957. During the International Trade Fair, a Nestlé employee named Dimitris Vakondios sought a quick way to enjoy his coffee. Using a shaker, he mixed instant coffee with water and ice, creating a foamy, refreshing drink. This Greek drink rapidly gained popularity, becoming a European summertime staple.

The Rise of Starbucks Frappuccino

 A tall glass filled with a chocolate colored frappuccino topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
by Pinterest

Starbucks, a then-growing coffee chain, noticed the rise in cold coffee trends in the 1990s. The “Frappuccino” came into being after Starbucks acquired Coffee Connection, an American coffee company that had trademarked the name. Starbucks used the term to launch its own line of blended ice beverages in 1995, reinventing and Americanizing the European concept. This new beverage combined espresso, milk, ice, and various flavorings, quickly propelling Starbucks to international fame and becoming a hallmark of American coffee culture.

Ingredients and Preparation

Both Frappé and Frappuccino are icy coffee drinks that offer a cool refreshment, but their ingredients and methods differ.


  • Frappé:
    • Instant coffee (or brewed coffee in variations)
    • Sugar
    • Milk
    • Ice
    • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Frappuccino:
    • Espresso or strong brewed coffee (or omitted for creme versions)
    • Sugar
    • Milk or cream
    • Ice
    • Flavored syrups (vanilla, caramel, chocolate – optional)
    • Whipped cream

Preparation Methods:

  • Frappé:
    1. No Blending (Traditional): Combine instant coffee, sugar, and a small amount of water. Whip the mixture vigorously until foamy. Add ice and milk and stir or shake to combine.
    2. Blending (Modern): Combine instant coffee, sugar, water, and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. Add milk (optional) and blend again.
  • Frappuccino: Always blended with ice for a smooth, thick texture.
    1. Brew espresso or strong coffee
    2. Combine coffee, milk or cream, sugar, ice, and any syrups in a blender.
    3. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Key Differences:

  • Frappé: Can be made with or without blending, resulting in a frothy or slushy consistency.
  • Frappuccino: Always blended for a thick, smooth texture.
  • Coffee: Frappé traditionally uses instant coffee, while Frappuccino uses brewed coffee or may omit coffee altogether.

In essence:

  • Frappé: More versatile preparation (blending or shaking), typically uses instant coffee, and has a frothier texture.
  • Frappuccino: Always blended for a smooth consistency, and offers more flavor variations with coffee and non-coffee options.

Analyzing Flavor Profiles and Customizations

Coffee BaseInstant coffee (usually strong)Brewed coffee or none (crème versions available)
Coffee StrengthStrongVaries (stronger with brewed coffee, absent in crème versions)
SweetnessLess sweet (adjust with sugar)Sweeter (uses syrups and whipped cream)
TextureFrothySmooth and creamy
DairyMilk (optional)Milk (standard) or non-dairy alternatives
Flavor CustomizationSyrups (chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, etc.)Syrups (chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, etc.)
Additional CustomizationWhipped creamWhipped cream, drizzles, sprinkles, etc.

Flavor customizations for both are plentiful, allowing you to engage with different syrups – chocolate, caramel, or hazelnut, to name a few. You can enhance the textural experience by topping your Frappuccino with whipped cream or various drizzles, while a frappé sticks to a simpler garnish, often just a dusting of cocoa or cinnamon.

💡This might interest you as well

Want to know how a frappe compares to a latte? Read our blog post on Frappe vs. Latte.

Nutritional Information and Customization

When you’re sipping on a Frappé or a Frappuccino, you’re often not only enjoying a nice coffee blend; you’re also consuming a considerable amount of calories and sweeteners.

A typical Frappuccino, especially one with a crème base, can be high in calories. For instance, a 12 oz (355 ml) serving may contain around 200-400 calories depending on the flavorings and the addition of whipped cream or toppings. Sweeteners play a significant role in this, with some Frappuccinos containing up to 25 grams of sugar per serving.

Conversely, a Frappé may have fewer calories but still contains sweeteners such as sugar or flavored syrups. The caloric content of a standard 8.5 oz (250 ml) serving of a Frappé generally ranges from 100 to 300 calories.

Here’s a quick comparison:

Drink TypeSize (oz/ml)Approx. CaloriesSugar Content
Frappuccino12 oz/355 ml200-400Up to 25g
Frappe8.5 oz/250 ml100-300Varies

FAQ – Frappe vs. Frappuccino

Is a frappe and Frappuccino the same?

No, they are not the same. A frappe typically refers to a frothy iced coffee drink made with instant coffee, particularly popular in Greece, while a Frappuccino is a trademarked beverage by Starbucks and is a blended ice coffee drink often made with brewed coffee.

What’s the difference between a frappe and a Frappuccino at McDonald’s?

At McDonald’s, the difference lies in their composition. A frappe is a creamy iced drink with a base of coffee and flavored syrups, blended with ice, and often topped with whipped cream. A Frappuccino at McDonald’s is not available, as Frappuccino is specific to Starbucks.

What’s the difference between a Frappuccino and a creme frappe?

The main difference between a Frappuccino and a creme frappe is that a creme frappe is a non-coffee variant that mimics the texture of a frappe using cream or milk instead of coffee, often blended with ice and flavored syrups. A Frappuccino, while similarly textured, generally contains coffee and is trademarked by Starbucks.

Is frappe short for Frappuccino?

No, frappe is not short for Frappuccino. The term frappe is derived from the French word ‘frappé’ which means ‘chilled in ice.’ A Frappuccino is a specific branded blend of coffee at Starbucks, and the name is a portmanteau of “frappe” and “cappuccino.”

Is a frappe just blended coffee?

A frappe is more than just blended coffee. It typically consists of instant coffee blended with sugar, water, and ice to create a frothy, foam-covered iced drink. Some variations may include additional ingredients like milk, flavorings, or sweeteners.

If you liked our blog post on “Frappé vs. Frappuccino”, don’t forget to leave us a comment down and share your thoughts on this topic.

Share this blog post
Avatar photo

Wadim Urbanowitsch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *