What is a Frappuccino? Let’s Take a look

What is a Frappuccino?

Standing at the Starbucks ready to order, you might have wondered what is a Frappucino and why can’t you find it anywhere else? Well, a Frappuccino is a trademarked Starbucks drink made of coffee, ice and a flavoured syrup of your choice. Then topped with whipped cream. 

Coffee is one of the most divine drinks you can have, and it has a ton of health benefits, but you have to mind the sugar. Let’s have a look at the story behind the Frappuccino, it’s entwined relationship with coffee and all the related drinks.

The Story Behind the Frappuccino

Originally the name of the Frappuccino was an amalgamation of the two words Frappé and Cappuccino. Derived from the French Lait Frappé, which in essence is a milkshake that is made with ice cream and a Cappuccino – an espresso with frothed milk. This version of the drink was developed and trademarked by a coffee shop chain in Massachusetts called the Coffee Connection. 

Starbucks bought this coffee chain and the trademark along with it in 1994. But the version that Starbucks introduced as a Frappuccino had a different recipe than the original Coffee Connection drink. Their new recipe did not include the milkshake portion of the original drink but was rather a blend of espresso coffee, ice, milk, flavoured syrups and cream. Perhaps a drink with fewer calories we imagine. 

So the Frappuccino is trademarked by Starbucks, which is why you won’t find it on the menu of any other coffeehouses. However, if you do find it elsewhere it will be sold under a different name.

A Quick Recap; What is a Frappuccino?

To recap a Frappuccino is very similar to a Frappé and more recently contain the same ingredients. Originally it was more of a milkshake. Today it’s a trademarked drink covering 185 countries and is owned by Starbucks so you shouldn’t find a Frappuccino anywhere else. The drink is always made with espresso. This is the most important part but will also contain milk, sugar, flavoured syrup and is topped with whipped cream. The range of flavours at Starbucks often changes seasonally.

Frappucinos can now also be bought as a ready-made drink at most supermarkets. They often come in multipacks and range of your favourite Starbucks flavours.

Frappé vs Frappuccino

In essence, the biggest difference between a Frappé and a Frappuccino is the type of coffee and the propriety syrups used. 

A Frappé is a refreshing blend of ice, coffee, milk, sugar and sometimes a syrup such as vanilla or hazelnut. The ingredients are put into a blender or shaker and are blended together so that it creates a foamy iced drink. If you use a blender with an ice crusher this will create a slushy type feel to the Frappé. It’s then topped with whipped cream or ice cream, whichever you prefer. A Frappé can be made with instant coffee or drip coffee if you so choose.

Frappuccino vs Iced Coffee

Iced coffee, not be confused with cold brew coffee, is drunk during the summer mainly – unless you’re an absolute diehard fan and would drink it in the winter. It’s basically what the name says, it’s a coffee made in the normal way, which is then combined with ice. You can add milk and the desired amount of sugar. Unlike a Frappuccino, iced coffee is not likely to contain a flavoured syrup. 

Iced coffee will generally be stronger than a Frappuccino and won’t be topped with whipped cream unless you ask for it of course. You can easily make an iced coffee at home using drip coffee or espresso with milk, sugar and ice to cool it off. 


Frappuccino Variations

If you’re talking about the Starbucks trademarked Frappuccino here, then yes it comes in a variety of flavours. If you love it enough to drink it during the winter months then you’re in luck as they are often made in Eggnog flavour and even Pumpkin Spice over the festive period. These variations will change from time to time but include favourites such as Caramel Brulée, Mocha Cookie Crumble and Java Chip.

How Many Calories Does a Frappuccino Have?

If you’re watching your weight, then perhaps a Frappuccino might not be the best drink for you as it can pack a punch when it comes to calories. An iced coffee could be more scale friendly as you can control the amount of sugar you add. But if it’s a treat day then go for it.

The number of calories in the different flavoured Frappuccinos will vary and can be anything from between the late 300s to the late 400s, you’ll have to double-check the Starbucks website for exact information. 

How to Make a Frappuccino at Home

Technically, making a Frappucino and calling it the same isn’t legal so we wouldn’t recommend doing that and definitely won’t put it on a coffeehouse menu. If you do, you might get an unfriendly legal letter from the good people at Starbucks. 

However, if you’d like to make a drink that resembles a Frappuccino at home, knock yourself out. Below is a rough outline of how to make your own at home.

To make a Frappuccino blend two cups of ice, a single or double espresso (depending on how strong you like your drink), a cup of milk, a flavoured syrup of your choice, such as chocolate and a few spoons of sugar. If you don’t have an espresso machine you can use a cup of coffee instead. Make sure you use a blender that can crush ice otherwise you’ll damage your appliance. Blend until nice and smooth, serve, top with whipped cream and a drizzle of syrup.

It’s not complicated at all, you can even buy your favourite Starbucks syrup to put into your homemade brew. 

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