If you’ve been to a Starbucks or McDonald’s, you’ve probably seen frappes and Frappuccinos on the menu.
Although these drinks seem similar on the surface — they’re both served cold, blended, and sweet — they have different origins.
The Frappuccino was invented by Starbucks baristas and trademarked by the company in the early 1990s; it usually contains coffee or espresso blended with ice, sweet milk syrup, and a variety of flavors and add-ins.
The Frappe is a blended drink. Both frappes and frappuccinos can be made without coffee.
Until 2009, the Frappe wasn’t a mainstream drink in the United States. That changed when McDonald’s added the McCafé Frappe to its menu to compete with the Starbucks Frappuccino.
You’ll find older versions of the Frappe worldwide, including in Greece and France.
What Is A Frappe Mocha?
A frappe mocha is a blended iced drink that contains hints of chocolate and coffee. Versions of the frappe mocha have been around for decades. One of the most well-known frappe mochas comes from McDonald’s.
It starts with its “mocha coffee frappe base,” made with chocolate syrup, cream, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, coffee extract, milk, cocoa powder, and other flavors and colors.
Employees blend this base with ice and top it with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle.
The McDonald’s frappe mocha doesn’t contain coffee — it uses coffee extract to add a hint of flavor without the strong, bitter taste.
That’s why this drink is often popular with people who like the smell of coffee but not the taste; it’s delightful and indulgent.
Unlike coffee, the Frappe is more of a dessert than a morning beverage.
You can also find frappe mochas at smaller coffee shops and restaurants worldwide. Most versions contain chocolate, coffee or espresso, and ice.
What Is a Mocha Frappuccino?
A Mocha Frappuccino (frap) is a trademarked Starbucks coffee drink. It contains Frappuccino Roast coffee, a unique blend for cold beverages.
This powdered mix is like instant coffee.
Baristas add milk, ice, and mocha flavoring to create the drink’s signature cappuccino and chocolate flavor. A dollop of whipped cream adds extra sweetness.
The original mocha Frappuccino has a light hint of coffee taste. If you prefer a more robust espresso flavor, you can order it “affogato-style” — it’ll come topped with a hot espresso shot.
This version is inspired by the Italian affogato drink, which features espresso and ice cream. Like any Starbucks drink, you can customize the mocha Frappuccino to add additional sweeteners and flavors.
The Mocha Frappuccino is just one of the Frappuccino flavors you’ll find at Starbucks. Choose from strawberry, caramel, matcha tea, vanilla flavors, and espresso.
Are Frappuccinos Cold?
Frappuccinos are always served cold. When the barista makes the drink, they add ice to the cup and blend it with other ingredients.
This process creates a consistency that’s similar to a milkshake. Frappes are also a cold drink, though they can be shaken or blended.
Are Frappuccinos Hot?
Since they’re made with ice, Frappuccinos are never hot. However, if you order an affogato-style Frappuccino, you will get small pockets of hot espresso mixed into the drink.
Frappes, on the other hand, are rarely served hot. If they contain espresso, it’s usually cold-brewed.
What Is the Difference Between a Frappe and A Frappuccino?
Frappes and frappuccinos are cold, blended drinks that may or may not contain coffee. However, a Frappe does not always go through a blender. The most crucial difference is the trademark.
The Frappuccino is only available at Starbucks; “frappe” is a general name many businesses use.
Starbucks frappuccinos are always made with milk and ice, usually combined with sweet syrup or flavored sauce such as caramel or chocolate.
If a Frappuccino contains coffee, it’s always Starbucks’ proprietary Frappuccino Roast powder, Starbucks brewed coffee, or Starbucks espresso.
Some Frappuccinos don’t include coffee; the coffee-free strawberry funnel cake version features strawberry puree, cake pieces, and syrup flavored like funnel cake.
The matcha creme version comes with matcha green tea powder, milk, and ice.
Frappes are more flexible — this general term refers to a blended ice drink. It can be made with water, milk, milkshakes, juice, tea, or another liquid.
This liquid is blended with ice and often includes other flavors. If a frappe contains coffee, it’s almost always instant.
Restaurants like McDonald’s usually use a proprietary base mix recipe that contains coffee and flavoring.
The two drinks have vastly different histories. The Frappuccino is a drink you’ll only find at Starbucks. The name comes from The Coffee Company, acquired in 1995.
This Boston coffee shop made a soft-serve coffee milkshake called a Frappuccino — a hybrid of a milkshake and a cappuccino.
After the sale, Starbucks trademarked the name and applied it to its new sweet, blended iced drinks.
If you see the term “Frappuccino” on a menu at another establishment, it’s probably an unintentional trademark violation.
The Frappe was invented in Greece in the 1950s. Initially, it was made in a cocktail shaker with instant coffee, water, and ice cubes.
Soon, different versions of the Frappe began to pop up worldwide in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Denmark.
For example, the Frappe can be made with Coca-Cola instead of water in Bulgaria. This term is not trademarked, so it’s available for anyone to use.
One of the most famous frappes is the McDonald’s version. The fast-food chain developed this drink in response to the Starbucks Frappuccino — company executives feared that the sweet Starbucks drink was taking business from the McDonald’s dessert menu.
They added the Frappe to satisfy customers who wanted a hint of coffee and the sweetness of a milkshake.
Frappe Uses Instant Coffee, And Frappuccino Uses Brewed Coffee
Traditionally, frappes are made with instant coffee. A Nestle Nescafé employee created the drink using the company’s instant blend.
Today, however, the drink is made with a wide range of coffee types. McDonald’s uses a base blend that includes coffee extract.
If you go to Greece, you’re almost sure to get a frappe made with instant coffee. The Greek Frappe is a cross between an iced coffee latte and a slushy.
It’s made with cold, frothed instant coffee, ice, and optionally – milk and sugar.
When Starbucks baristas originally began experimenting with the blended drinks that would become the Frappuccino, they used brewed coffee.
Today, the Starbucks Frappuccino is usually made with brewed coffee or exceptional powdered coffee.
For example, the Coffee Frappuccino contains coffee and coffee Frappuccino syrup; the Mocha Frappuccino uses ground coffee and mocha syrup.
The company’s Espresso Frappuccino features cold-brew espresso shots instead of coffee.
Are Frappe and Frappuccino the Same Thing?
Frappes and frappuccinos are not the same, but they often contain similar ingredients. You can make a frappe using milk, ice, and instant coffee — these ingredients are similar to many Frappuccino variations.
However, since the Frappuccino is a trademarked beverage with proprietary ingredients, it’s in its category.
As a comparison, consider two popular options in the blended-drink market: the Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino and the McDonald’s mocha frappe.
The Starbucks version contains coffee, milk, ice, and mocha sauce. The McDonald’s version features ice mixed and a chocolate-coffee base mix that contains milk.
Both versions are topped with whipped cream. In other words, the two drinks are almost identical.
Do Frappes and Frappuccinos Both Contain Caffeine?
Some frappes and Frappuccinos contain caffeine; others do not. Fruit-flavored varieties rarely contain caffeine; mocha, caramel, and chocolate flavors usually do.
The amounts of caffeine can vary dramatically from drink to drink. A 16-ounce mocha frappe from McDonald’s contains 125 mg of caffeine. A 16-ounce Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks has 100 mg of caffeine.
Some frappuccinos have higher and lower caffeine levels — a 16-ounce Espresso Frappuccino has 155 mg of caffeine, while a Coffee Frappuccino of the same size has just 95 mg.
Both frappes and frappuccinos can be customized to match your preferences. At Starbucks, an extra espresso shot adds 75 mg of caffeine.
If you’re getting a frappe from an independent coffee shop, the type and form of coffee greatly impact the caffeine content.
If you’re cutting back on caffeine, you can still enjoy a Frappuccino. Stick to one of the non-coffee versions. Prefer the taste of coffee? Ask for a Coffee Frappuccino made with decaf coffee or coffee beans.
Health Differences Between a Frappe and Frappuccino
When keeping an eye on your health, you must consider your coffee drinks ingredients and calorie count. Generally, getting a healthy frappe is easier; these drinks can be made with or without sugar.
A frappe made with ice, water, and instant coffee is nearly calorie-free.
On the other hand, Frappuccinos are often the health equivalent of a milkshake. A standard 16-ounce Mocha Frappuccino contains 370 calories.
However, the same-size Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino has a whopping 420 calories.
To satisfy customers who want to stay healthy, Starbucks offers plenty of options. For example, the Espresso Frappuccino and the Coffee Frappuccino contain 230 calories per 16 ounces.
You can cut even more calories by using nonfat milk; a light Espresso Frappuccino has just 80 calories.
Other ways to make Frappuccino’s healthier:
- Order without toppings
- Eliminate whipped cream
- Ask for sugar-free syrups
- Leave off the chocolate or caramel drizzle
Frappes are not always healthier than Frappuccinos — it all depends on the ingredients. You’re more likely to find low-calorie versions at independent coffee shops; mainstream fast-food chains often use high sugar levels to create a tasty beverage.
The McDonald’s 16-ounce mocha frappe has 500 calories — more than the Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino. If you’re eating a 2,000-calorie diet, this one drink accounts for 25% of your total food intake.
McDonald’s doesn’t offer many opportunities for customization. That’s because the McCafé Frappe starts with a unique base mixture that contains sugar, coffee, and flavors.
Since the company doesn’t make a light version, you’re limited to the high-calorie option. You can, however, shave off a few calories by ordering your Frappe without the whipped cream topping and chocolate drizzle.
Frappe vs. Frappuccino: Final Thoughts
The Frappe and the Frappuccino are both great options when you’re craving a hint of coffee flavor and plenty of sweetness. Mainstream versions are similar to milkshakes — they’re cold, sweet, and refreshing on a hot day.
If you’re a coffee lover or a health nut, Starbucks Frappuccino offers more options for customization.
McDonald’s frappes are designed for people who want a sweet treat without a strong coffee flavor. While frappuccinos are only available at Starbucks, you can find creative versions of the Frappe at coffee shops and grocery stores.
The Greek Frappe is a cross between an iced coffee latte and a slushy. It’s made with cold, frothed instant coffee, ice, and optionally – milk and sugar.