Frappe vs Cappuccino vs Frappuccino: What’s The Difference?

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Judging by their names – Frappe, Cappuccino & Frappuccino, you may say they’re pretty similar, if not even the same.

But if we actually compare these drinks side-by-side, we’ll find that they have more than a few dissimilarities.

Frappe vs Cappuccino

Frappe is a foamy iced drink made with instant coffee, sugar, water, ice, and milk. Frappe is often served with whipped cream and additives such as vanilla, sweet sauces and other toppings may also be added. Cappuccino, on the other hand, is made with equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam.

Frappuccino vs Cappuccino

Frappuccino is a trademarked iced drink from Starbucks. It is made by combining milk, ice cream, flavors, syrups, and topped with whipped cream. Depending on the kind of Frappuccino, it may or may not contain coffee. A cappuccino is a hot coffee made with espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam.

Key Takeaways:
  • A frappé is an iced beverage that has been shaken or blended to produce a foamy, and refreshing drink.
  • A cappuccino has a ratio of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 milk foam, and it’s smaller than a frappe or a Frappuccino.
  • A frappuccino is like a milkshake with coffee, where milk, vanilla ice cream, coffee, and ingredients like flavors, syrups, and spices are combined to make a frothy drink, topped with cream.

In the rest of this article, I will shed light on all the differences between a frappe, cappuccino, and a Frappuccino in terms of the way they are prepared, the taste, ingredients, recipes, and more. So make sure that you read this article till the end.

Frappe, Cappuccino, Frappuccino; What’s the Real Difference?

Our explosive coffee culture has given rise to so many variations of blended coffee drinks and misnomers that almost all drinks now have vague and flexible definitions.

But, fret not! The table below will give you an overview of the major differences between a frappe, cappuccino & a Frappuccino. Have a look and then go ahead and read the rest of the article to clearly understand each of these drinks.

  • Ingredients: Instant coffee, water, ice. Optional: Sugar, milk, sweet sauces, whipped cream, spices.
  • Taste: Frothy, creamy, cold, sweet (sweetness depends upon the additives and the flavor that you order)
  • Caffeine: Depends on how much instant coffee was used. 
  • Calories: Frappe is typically a low-calorie drink. However, additives such as sugar, milk, sweet syrups & whipped cream may end up adding to the calorie count (~150 calories).
  • Ingredients: Espresso, steamed milk, & foamed milk in 1:1:1 ratio.
  • Taste: Foamy, hot with a strong taste & aroma of espresso.
  • Caffeine: Depends on the number of shots of espresso used. 1 shot of espresso = 68mg caffeine.
  • Calories: Cappuccino is a low-calorie drink even with added milk (~70 calories).
Frappe vs Cappuccino vs Frappuccino
  • Ingredients: Milk, ice cream, flavors, syrups, spices & whipped cream. Optional: Coffee.
  • Taste: Cold, creamy, very sweet which depends on the toppings and flavors added to the drink.
  • Caffeine: May or may not contain caffeine. Depends on the kind you order.
  • Calories: Frappuccino is very high in calories (between 300-600 calories for their grande size) and if you’re watching your weight then frequenting this drink may actually hinder you from obtaining your goals.

What is a Frappe?

A frappé is an iced beverage that has been shaken or blended to produce a foamy, and refreshing drink. 

A frappe is typically made with instant coffee, blended with milk, ice, simple syrup for smoothness, and sometimes flavoring. 

The flavors that can be added vary from vanilla bean to chocolate chips to caramel.

It is served cold, often with whipped cream and toppings. You can add ice before or after blending the coffee.

Often the frappe is served with no sugar at all, to better enjoy the instant coffee taste and feel refreshed in the summer, since that was its purpose.

Some frappes contain milk, and another version of a frappe uses vanilla ice cream instead of milk, which gives the drink a higher calories count.

Frappe’s Story

Frappe was invented made by mistake at an instant coffee convention when a Nescafé employee was looking for a way to enjoy his favorite drink — sweetened instant coffee — without overheating. 

He grabbed a shaker meant to be used with a chocolate Nescafé product, added instant coffee, sugar, and ice cubes, and created the very first frappé.

So, if you want to stay true to the original frappe recipe, always use instant coffee to make it. 

Making it with anything else won’t really result in the thick foam and darker color we’re used to for a frappe.

Instant coffee adds to the bitterness and strength of the coffee flavor.

A frappe is usually as large as 8 oz/236 ml, without counting the ice cubes and any additional milk or cream added.

What is a Cappuccino?

The cappuccino is a hot espresso-based beverage that’s typically about 6 oz in volume and is made with one shot of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. So proportionally, it has a ratio of  1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 milk foam, and it’s smaller than a frappe or a Frappuccino.

Many coffee shops around the world may offer cappuccinos in different sizes and with different ingredients. 

If a barista offers multiple sizes of cappuccino, the ratio of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam will remain the same. 

In addition to this, the cappuccino can also be customized by using cream instead of milk, as well as additional flavorings such as syrups or spices.

Frappe vs Cappuccino vs Frappuccino

What is a Frappuccino?

A Frappuccino is a trademarked blended iced coffee drink from Starbucks. 

A frappuccino is like a milkshake with coffee, where milk, vanilla ice cream, coffee, and ingredients like flavors, syrups, and spices are combined to make a frothy drink, topped with cream.

Starbucks also sells bottled versions of their Frappuccino in grocery stores and vending machines.

Frappuccinos may or may not contain coffee depending on which kind you’re ordering.

For example, Starbucks’ Strawberry Frappuccino has no caffeine, as it contains no coffee at all.

If you order a coffee Frappuccino, you will basically get a blended mix of coffee, sugar, ice cream, milk, and ice.

Frappuccinos are often topped off with whipped cream and contain different syrups and sauces, added according to your preference.

For example, a mocha Frappuccino adds chocolate syrup. A caramel Frappuccino adds caramel syrup. 

Looking at its calorie content, the Frappuccino has a high calorie associated with the sugar, cream, and flavors that are used to make the iced drink.

Starbucks Crème & Coffee Frappuccinos

There are two lines of Frappuccino beverages offered at Starbucks – the Crème and the Coffee line.

They are all blended iced drinks that come in 12 fl. oz. to 24 fl. oz. (350 to 700 ml) cups.

The drinks from the coffee line do contain either espresso or something called a Frappuccino Roast which is basically caffeinated instant coffee powder, mixed with water.

You can have your coffee Frappuccino with an espresso shot or with a few pumps of Frappuccino Roast, the choice is yours.

Keep in mind that espresso is always hot when it comes out of the machine. So when it’s added to the Frappuccino cup it melts down the blended ice and changes the Frappuccino’s texture and viscosity.

The Frappuccinos from the Crème line are coffee-free and most of them have close to zero caffeine content.

Drinks from the Crème Frappuccino line are pretty similar to those thick blended milkshakes especially if you decide to switch the whole milk with heavy cream.

Because Starbucks trademarked the word Frappuccino, you can only order a true Frappuccino at the chain. 

If you go to another American coffee shop, you can order a frappe, which will likely be very similar: blended espresso, milk, sweeteners, and flavors.

How To Make A Frappe

Technically there is no single recipe for a frappé – it means a cold blended drink, like a slushie (the name means ‘beaten’ in French). It’s basically coffee blended with milk, sugar, and ice, topped with whipped cream.

Add instant coffee, milk, sugar syrup in a blender.

Add instant coffee into a blender with the milk and 2 or 3 handfuls of ice cubes. Add as much sugar syrup as you like, starting with a small amount – you can always stir more in at the end if you’d like it sweeter.

Blend the ingredients.

Blend until the ice is broken into an icy slush and is foamy. Pour into a glass, and add a scoop of ice cream or some whipped cream if you like.

How To Make A Cappuccino

Extract 1-2 shots of espresso into a 6 oz cappuccino cup.

Steam the milk. Heat milk to about 160°F. Make sure milk has a decent amount of foam.

Pour milk and milk foam onto espresso. Enjoy!

When pouring the milk, hold your milk pitcher about 3 inches above the cappuccino cup, pouring in a slightly circular, vertical motion. 

The current of the milk will help heat and blend the milk with the espresso. The milk froth will be poured into the cup last, but it will top the cappuccino with a fluffy, delightful amount of foam.

Here’s a video to help you make a cup of cappuccino right in your kitchen.

How To Make A Frappuccino

Frappuccino makes a delicious drink that you can easily make at home! With just four ingredients and a couple of optional toppings, this frappuccino recipe will be a favorite!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 1 cup espresso or very strong coffee
  • 3/4 cup half and half or your preferred milk, soy, or almond
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or sugar substitute
  • Whipped cream optional
  • Chocolate syrup optional
  • Ice cream optional


Blend together ice, espresso (or strong coffee), milk, and sweetener until well blended.

Pour into a tall glass and top with optional toppings of whipped cream and chocolate syrup, if using.

Serve immediately and enjoy!


Now that you know all the differences between a frappe, cappuccino, and a Frappuccino, you’ve most probably chosen the drink that suits your taste better.

After all the details I gave you, it’s now up to you to pick the winner of the frappe vs cappuccino vs Frappuccino battle.

I hope I managed to give you some interesting and useful information that will let you make more informed decisions in the future.

If you want to know more about the differences between other coffee drinks then you can read any of my following articles.

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Amit Gupta

Hi, my name is Amit Gupta, and I am the owner and contributor at Cafeish. My obsession with coffee started when I received my first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, my love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets I own – has grown considerably.

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