Frappuccino vs Cappuccino: 5 Big Differences

Imagine walking to a coffee shop on your break to get a cup of the coffee you’ve been dying for all day, only to mess up the order because they sound similar. Don’t get in this pickle; learn the differences between frappuccino vs cappuccino and get exactly what you want each time!

Topics Explored

  1. What is a Frappuccino?
  2. What is a Cappuccino?
  3. 5 Differences Between The Two
  4. Types of Frappuccinos
  5. Types of Cappuccinos
  6. More Questions

Frappuccinos and cappuccinos may have the same ring to it, but in reality, both beverages can’t be further apart.

Yes, some differences are pretty obvious. But to the untrained eye, there are a few subtle things that can still trip you up.

What is a Frappuccino?

Frappuccinos are like a party in a cup! They’re made by blending iced coffee with sweet syrups and topped off with a fluffy whipped cream.

It’s trademarked by Starbucks and sold in their shops or bottled in convenience stores.

The frappuccino is a fusion of various cold drinks, and you’re free to customize the taste and consistency.

Frappuccino with the classic whipped cream and drizzle

An employee of The Coffee Connection – a high-end coffee shop in Boston invented the frappuccino in the 1990s.

After purchasing the cafe in 1994, Starbucks gained the rights over the frappuccino, updated the recipe, and reintroduced it in 1995.

What is a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino is a hot, espresso-based drink made with steamed milk and topped with thick milk froth. You can find many variations, including lactose-free and plant milk.

Originally it comes in a 5 to 6 oz glass consisting of a shot of espresso and equal parts steamed milk and foam.

The Capuchin friars and the color of their religious uniform served as an inspiration for the name of the cappuccino, which originated in Italy around the 1930s.

The cappuccino is a simplified version of the 1700s Vienesse Kapuziner, which includes whipped cream and spices.

Cappuccino with typical 1:1:1 composition of espresso, milk, and froth

5 Differences Between Frappuccino vs Cappuccino

Most differences of frappuccino vs cappuccino are easy to recognize with the naked eye, but some are hard to tell.

Use the table below to discover what makes each drink special. Who knows, it might even help you pick a new favorite!

Frappuccino Cappuccino
Ice blended Hot but can be iced
– Blended ice, coffee, milk & syrup
– Whipped cream or ice cream
– Toppings
– 1/3 Espresso
– 1/3 Steamed Milk
– 1/3 Milk Froth
– Can be very sweet
– Flavored by syrup or powder mix
– Creamy
– Hint of sweetness from milk
– Strong espresso flavor
– Frothy
Served cold in a glass.
Smoothie-like consistency, topped with ice cream or whipped cream.
Served hot in a mug.
Thick layer of froth on top with milky-consistency at the bottom.
240 calories per serving (8 oz).
Varies on the frappuccino type
70 calories per serving (8 oz)


Frappuccinos are blended with ice, making them cold and refreshing. With each sip of the drink, you get tiny ice chips.

On the other hand, Cappuccinos are a warm, comforting drink made with all hot ingredients. While some cafes in the US serve iced cappuccinos, they’re not as common in Europe.

How To Make Cappuccino At Home
A frothy top is a hallmark of the cappuccino


Frappuccinos are made by blending ice, coffee, milk, and flavoring syrup. After transferring it to the cup, it’s covered with whipped cream, sauces, and other toppings.

Cappuccino is made by layering one-third each of freshly brewed espresso, steamed milk, and microfoam. Baristas pay special attention to get well-aerated milk for a velvety texture.


The appearance is the main giveaway between the two drinks. Frappuccinos are served cold in a tall glass, topped with heaps of whipped cream or even ice cream. They have a specific, smoothie-like consistency.

Cappuccinos are served warm in a mug, with thick foam on the top and a milk texture underneath.

Frappuccino vs. Cappuccino
Layers of both drinks.


Frappuccinos often get classified as sugary bombs due to the addition of various syrups and toppings. They’re creamy, with a light coffee flavor and taste defined by the type of flavoring syrup.

Cappuccinos get natural sweetness from the milk. They have a strong coffee flavor due to the espresso and a frothy texture because of the microfoam.


When it comes to calorie count, in the battle of frappuccino vs cappuccino, the second one takes first place with only 70 calories per 8 oz. At 240 calories per serving, frappuccinos contain more than triple the calories. The list of ingredients and high sugar content are to blame.

Frappuccino Calories

  • Starbucks Mocha Frap (Tall): 250 cals (1)
  • Starbucks Mocha Frap (Grande): 370 cals (1)
  • Starbucks Mocha Frap (Venti): 470 cals (1)

Cappuccino Calories

  • Starbucks (Grande): 140 cals (2)
  • McDonalds (Medium): 140 cals (3)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts (Medium): 120 cals (4)

Types of Frappuccinos

Forget randomly dropping into a Starbucks and picking a frappuccino if you’ve never done it. The choice of frappuccino types is overwhelming, and you need to explore the options first! There are seasonal flavors, coffee or creme-based, and even secret menu frappuccinos!

Over 20+ Variations

Matcha Frapp
Matcha Frapp
Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino
Caramel Ribbon Crunch
Chocolaty Chip Crème Frapp
Chocolate Frappuccino

On the official website of Starbucks, you can currently find 19 frappuccino types, but the number varies all the time, depending on new additions or seasonal flavors.

But that’s not all you can get. There are over 20 secret menu Frappuccinos! Think of Blueberry Muffin, Peach Cobbler, French Toast, or Cotton Candy frappuccino!

Types of Cappuccinos

When it comes to flavors, Cappuccinos are not as abundant. But there are still variations of this classic.

In Italy the cappuccino is a warm morning drink. Now in other parts of the world, you can get it iced, flavored and as a treat any time of the day.

Wet or Dry Cappuccinos

Dry Cappucino
Foam top on a dry cappuccino

Wet cappuccinos are made with more hot milk instead of foam and have a light, diluted coffee taste. The look and taste resemble the latte.

Dry cappuccinos have very little hot milk added but more foam. They have an intense coffee flavor and deeper dark color. The foam serves as insulation, keeping the drink hot longer.

Iced Cappuccinos

In the US, the cappuccino creddo comes with ice chips, and sometimes it’s blended with the ice, similar to the frappuccino.

Iced cappuccino or cappuccino credo is the cold version of the same drink. In Italy, it’s made with the addition of cold-frothed milk over the espresso instead of hot steamed milk.

The Final Word

Frappuccino vs Cappuccino

Life’s too short to drink the same coffee every day, so why not experiment? Since you’re already aware of the differences between frappuccino vs cappuccino, you know which one suits your taste buds best.

From a comforting hot cup in fall to a refreshing icy treat on a hot day, both drinks are well worth the trip to the coffee shop!

More Questions

Is a frappuccino a frozen cappuccino?

The frappuccino was developed at first as a cold version of the cappuccino, but today it’s mixed with other ingredients and strays far from the first idea.

So no, the frappuccino is not an iced cappuccino. In fact, it’s best described as a mix between iced, blended cappuccino and milkshake.

Is a frappuccino stronger than a cappuccino?

It mainly depends on the number of coffee shots used in the frappuccino. Some types don’t even contain caffeine at all! A regular caramel frappuccino has less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.

However, some versions and modifications can make a grande frappuccino have higher caffeine content than a cappuccino.

Verified Sources

Wondering where your info comes from? We totally understand. Hey Joe only obtains our information from reputable sources. Contents from this article are sourced from the following publications:

  1. Starbucks Menu:
  2. Starbucks Menu:
  3. McDonalds Menu:
  4. Dunkin’ Donuts Menu:
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