Frappuccino vs Cappuccino: 5 Differences You Need To Know

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. If you ever find yourself in a situation like this; learn the differences between frappuccino vs cappuccino and get exactly what you want each time!

Frappuccino vs Cappuccino

Frappuccinos and cappuccinos may sound similar, but in reality, they are nothing alike. Yes, there are obvious differences between the two. However, there are also a few subtle things that might have you questioning your drink of choice altogether.

Frappuccino vs Cappuccino: 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

What is a Frappuccino?

Frappuccino is a blended, iced coffee drink with various flavorings, sweetened and often topped with 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.

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.

Frappuccino with the classic whipped cream and drizzle

What is a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino is a hot, espresso-based drink made with hot milk and topped with steamed milk foam. 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. Learn what makes each drink special, its main ingredients, and it might help you pick a favorite!

Ice blendedHot 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. Cappuccinos, on the other hand, are a warm, comforting drink made with all hot ingredients. Some cafes in the US offer iced frappuccinos, but they can rarely be found in Europe.


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.

Frappuccino vs. Cappuccino
Layers of a Frappuccino vs. Cappuccino


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.


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.


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 Frap
Green Tea Frappuccino by Qui Nguyen
Chocolate Frap
Mocha Frappuccino by Angelica Reyes
Caramel Frap
Caramel 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

Cappuccinos are not as abundant in flavors, but they still provide some variation. While in Italy the cappuccino is a warm morning drink, in other parts of the world, you can get it iced or flavored 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

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

The Final Word on Frappuccino vs Cappuccino

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 Frappuccino vs Cappuccino 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: