Frappuccino Vs Cappuccino: How Big Is The Difference?

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frappuccino vs cappuccino

Frappuccinos and cappuccinos are two similarly named drinks that are commonplace on most coffee shop menus. 

But, even though they sound similar, the similarities stop there. 

If you’re new to one or both of these drinks and want to learn a bit more about what they are, keep reading.

I’ve put together a complete guide on the frappuccino vs cappuccino to help you out. 

Let’s take a look!

What is a Frappucino?

frappuccino coffee

The frappuccino is a cold, blended drink. 

This coffee specialty is associated in particular with the American coffee chain Starbucks. 

Starbucks launched their version of the drink in 1995 when they bought the Coffee Connection company which invented it.

Since they have copyrights to the name, other coffee shops often sell it under the name Frappé or frozen coffee.

This drink is made of coffee, ice (or sometimes ice cream), and cream.

If you want to make a coffee frappuccino yourself, you can get really creative. You can switch the milk to vegan milk or can use espresso instead of regular coffee for a stronger brew.

If you want something more exciting, you can always add extra flavors and syrups. My personal favorite is chocolate syrup, but you can make it to your taste. 

Related reading: Macchiato Vs Frappuccino: What’s The Big Difference?

What is a Cappuccino?

cappuccino in a pink cup

A cappuccino is a drink made from espresso coffee and steamed milk.

It’s actually one of the most difficult coffee drinks to prepare, and the first step is owning a good espresso machine for a cappuccino.

Cappuccinos traditionally consist of one part espresso shot (typically one to two shots), one part steamed milk, and one part milk foam. However, you may find some variations in the drink depending on where you buy it.  

Every coffee shop makes things slightly differently, which can mean some have less milk foam, more espresso, or other small changes. 

Cappuccinos aren’t a new drink, by any means. The cappuccino has been around since about the 1930s. 

Frappuccino vs Cappuccino: What’s the Big Difference?

The frappuccino and cappuccino may sound the same, but they are very different drinks! 

In fact, there are a number of characteristics that really make each one stand out. Here are a couple of the key differences between these drinks. 


The most obvious difference between the frappuccino and the cappuccino is the temperature. 

Frappuccinos are served as frozen, blended drinks whereas cappuccinos are served hot. 

Now, while Starbucks does have an iced cappuccino, this isn’t technically a true cappuccino.

Starbucks’ iced cappuccino doesn’t contain steamed milk, so it doesn’t actually meet the requirements for being a cappuccino. 

Instead, it consists of cold milk foam (whipped skim milk), espresso, and ice. 

Although you may come across the iced cappuccino, you’ll never come across a hot frappuccino. The closest thing to a hot frappuccino would be a latte.

Ingredients and Brewing

pouring milk in cappuccino

The ingredients and brewing methods of a frappuccino vs cappuccino are pretty different, too. 

In terms of the ingredients, cappuccinos require milk and espresso. 

However, the frappuccino requires coffee concentrate (extra-strong brewed coffee, similar to cold brew coffee). It also requires ice, milk, flavored syrup, and sometimes ice cream. The best coffee beans will get you a perfect cup of cappuccino.

The brewing method is pretty different, too. 

To make a cappuccino, you’ll first need to brew espresso shots and pour them into a mug. Then, you’ll steam milk to create milk foam and add that to the drink. 

In contrast, to make a frappuccino, all you do is throw all the ingredients in a blender. Then, pour them into a cup and top with whipped cream to complete the drink.

Taste & Appearance

Cappuccinos and frappuccinos taste and look about as different as can be. 

Frappuccino is a sweet iced coffee beverage, thanks to the cream and sugar that they contain. The coffee flavor is often very mild since the syrup and milk often overwhelm it. 

On the other hand, cappuccinos are quite strong. They’re smooth and milky, but they have a very noticeable espresso flavor. They’re also not sweet.

In terms of their appearance, they differ quite a bit, too.

Frappuccinos are served in a tall glass. They’re typically topped with whipped cream and sometimes chocolate or caramel drizzle. 

Sometimes, you may also find baristas sprinkle chocolate shavings or candies on top of the whipped cream.

The cappuccino, on the other hand, is served in a ceramic cup. Sometimes they’ll have a sprinkle of cinnamon or chocolate on top. 

Alternatively, some baristas may add latte art to the surface of the drink to give it a bit of personality. 

Caffeine and Calories

a person preparing coffee

Cappuccinos come out the winner in terms of caffeine, containing roughly 128mg of caffeine. In contrast, frappuccinos only have about 100mg. 

Cappuccinos contain 128mg of caffeine thanks to the espresso in the drink. Keep in mind that if you order a cappuccino with a single shot of espresso, the caffeine content will be slightly lower. 

Frappuccinos, on the other hand, are usually made with concentrated coffee. Thanks to the brewing method, this contains less caffeine than espresso.

If you’re looking for a caffeine kick, you’ll be better off ordering a cappuccino. However, if you’re just looking for a treat, the frappuccino is a good choice. 

The calories, however, tell a very different story. 

Cappuccinos don’t contain sugar and only contain a small amount of milk. As a result, they usually have between 75 and 90 calories (depending on their size and preparation). 

Frappuccinos, on the other hand, have an average of 300 calories per serving! And, if you order a larger size, you could be looking at as many as five or six hundred calories.

Frappuccinos get their calories thanks to the sugar, milk, and whipped cream. 

If you want to enjoy a frappuccino without having to consume a ton of calories, you can make a few tweaks to your coffee beverage. 

Skip the whipped cream and ask for half the amount of syrup. Or, ask for the barista to make your drink with nonfat or non-dairy milk.


If you’ve still got a few questions about the cappuccino vs frappuccino, don’t worry. 

I’ve made a short FAQ to get the last of your questions cleared up.

Which is better, cappuccino or frappuccino?

This depends on your tastes. If you enjoy sweet, cold drinks, you’ll probably like the frappuccino better. If you prefer something less sweet, on the other hand, a cappuccino is a good option.

You may also find that a cappuccino is better during the wintertime, while a frappuccino is better suited to warm weather. It all boils down to taste!

Are frappuccino and latte the same?

No. Frappuccino is a blended coffee iced drink consisting of coffee, milk, ice, and syrup. Lattes are hot, espresso-based beverages that may or may not contain syrup.

Iced latte, on the other hand, is more similar to a frappuccino, but it is made with espresso coffee.

What’s the difference between a frappuccino and a frappe?

Although they sound similar, frappucino and frappe are different drinks.

Starbucks frappuccino is made with freshly brewed coffee blended with ice and milk and usually topped with whipped cream and syrup.

The frappe, on the other hand, is a popular Greek ice coffee drink made from instant coffee, whizzed with a frappe mixer, and topped with ice cubes and milk.

The Final Words

So, in essence, when it comes to the frappuccino vs cappuccino you’ve got two very different drinks. 

The cappuccino is a hot drink made out of espresso and milk foam, while the frappuccino is a cold drink made out of ice, coffee, and milk. 

Depending on your preferences, both drinks can be a great way to enjoy a cup of coffee. 

And, if you decide you want to try something completely different, perhaps you should read this guide on americanos. They’re another fantastic way to enjoy your coffee! 

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Jessica Fleming-Montoya
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.