What Is A Frappuccino at Starbucks? (Plus 15 Best Flavors)

what is a frappuccino at Starbucks

Did you know that the first Starbucks frappuccino did not get whipped cream at the top? Yes, Starbucks did not start topping the iconic frappuccino drink with whipped cream until four years after introducing the drink.

Without question, Starbucks Frappuccinos are some of the most ordered drinks. They are also the most Instragrammable drinks on offer. Some customers prefer gussied-up frappuccinos to the standard menu options.

Most baristas will tell you that during summer, they receive more frappuccino orders than regular coffee.

Recent quarterly earnings from Starbucks revealed that cold drinks, including frappuccinos, accounted for about 74 percent of the coffee chain’s total beverage sales in the third quarter of 2021.

This blog post explains Starbucks frappuccino and highlights the best frappuccino drinks to order.

What is a Frappuccino at Starbucks?

Starbucks frappuccino is a line of blended beverages that combine milk, base syrup, ice, flavoring syrups and sauces, and sometimes coffee in coffee frappuccinos. These blended drinks are usually topped with whipped cream and indulgent sauces and sprinkles depending on the type of frappuccino.

The first frappuccino came out in 1995 as a blend of milk, coffee, and ice and was available in coffee and mocha flavors only.

Currently, the Starbucks frappuccino menu has over 36,000 different frappuccino flavor combinations. These flavor combinations include seasonal, regional, secret menu, and year-round options.

Starbucks credits the frappuccino for increasing summer sales and its customers as the drink was an instant hit with people who normally did not drink coffee. Frappuccino also brought in customers during summer when the hot coffee business was usually slow.

Moreover, with the growth of the internet and social media, Starbucks frappuccinos quickly became popular with celebrities and young adults.

For a brief look into the interesting history of the Frappuccino, you can jump to this part.

What Is In A Frappuccino At Starbucks

Generally, a Starbucks frappuccino has milk, ice, creme syrup or coffee, flavoring sauces, and sweeteners that are blended together. It also has a topping of sweet whipped cream, drizzle, and flavored sprinkles/chips depending on the type of frappuccino.

The two main types of Starbucks frappuccinos are coffee frappuccinos and creme frappuccinos.

The base syrup which is either coffee or creme is part of what distinguishes whether a frappuccino is a creme frappuccino or a coffee frappuccino. The base syrup gives the frappuccino its texture as it binds the other ingredients together during blending.

See a detailed chart of what a frappuccino contains.

The coffee in coffee frappuccinos comes from frap roast or espresso shots, depending on your choice. You can also espresso to a frappuccino with frap roast.

By default, coffee frappuccinos have caffeine whereas creme frappuccinos have no coffee or caffeine unless they have chocolate or tea in them. Here is a guide to ordering a caffeine-free frappuccino

The sweeteners and flavors are in the form of syrups, sauces, chips, and sprinkles. Here is a comprehensive list of Starbucks sauces and syrups that you can add to a frappuccino.

The Interesting History of Frappuccino at Starbucks

When Starbucks started selling coffee drinks, it did not start offering frappuccinos until 1995. Starbucks did not have blenders at its stores before it ventured into frappuccinos. So how did Starbucks frappuccino come about?

The story goes that in the summer of 1993, Starbucks staff in the Los Angeles area noticed that small coffee shops were killing it by offering blended coffee drinks. [Source]

They got the Seattle head office’s nod to test some blended drinks. The tests commenced at the Sherman Oaks Store in San Fernando Valley which was the first to receive a blender and later in a busier store in Santa Monica.

A year later, all the Starbucks stores in the Southern California district were offering the new blended drinks. Meanwhile, the corporate was working on research and development for the new drink.

Around the same time, the coffee chain bought a company called The Coffee Connection whose products included a slushy beverage by the name of frappuccino.

Starbucks trademarked the name frappuccino and applied it to its new line of blended beverages.

Due to the success of frappuccinos in California, Starbucks decided to roll out the new drink to all its stores in the United States and Canada.

Starbucks Launches Frappuccino

Starbucks launched the first two frappuccino flavors – mocha and coffee – across its stores in the United States and Canada in the summer of 1995. The first frappuccino did not have a whipped cream topping.

The new drink boosted Starbucks’ summer sales and accounted for up to 11 percent of the sales. This immediate success of the Frappuccino increased the value of the coffee chain’s stock.

The drink continued its meteoric rise and in 1996, Starbucks launched bottled frappuccino.

New Frappuccino Flavors

Over the years, the coffee giant has introduced new flavors of the frappuccino blended drink. For example, caramel frappuccino with whipped cream and drizzled caramel at the top debuted in 1999. Caramel frappuccino was the first Starbucks drink to be topped with whipped cream.

Creme frappuccino without tea or coffee debuted in 2002 with four flavors: chai creme, vanilla bean, double chocolate chip, and strawberries and creme.

Starbucks has continuously innovated new flavors and combinations for its frappuccinos. It also allows the customers to make their own combinations using their choice of non-dairy milk, sweeteners, and flavors.

With the ever-growing frappuccino market, the coffee giant continues to test and introduce new flavors and toppings to increase the appeal of its drinks.

Currently, there are at least 36,000 different combinations of frappuccino at Starbucks.

15 Best Frappuccinos at Starbucks

Starbucks regulars will admit that some of the most ordered Starbucks frappuccinos are seasonal options. In a sense, scarcity pushes the demand for these drinks through the roof.

Holiday specials are usually more gussied up which coupled with their rarity makes them more Insta-worthy as compared to the year-round treats.

Still, some of the regular frappuccinos are a must-try. Here is a carefully curated list of the 15 best frappuccinos at Starbucks.

#1. Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino

Caffe vanilla frappuccino is a simple classic drink and a great choice when you want the vanilla latte version of a frappuccino. It is also an excellent choice for vanilla lovers who are trying out frappuccinos for the first time.

However, the vanilla flavor can be a bit overwhelming when you don’t like vanilla.

#2. Caramel Ribbon Crunch

Caramel ribbon crunch frappuccino is popular for two reasons: its deliciously decadent flavor and its unmistakable elegance.

If caramel is your jam and you don’t mind the sugar and calories in your drink, caramel ribbon crunch is one of the frappuccinos that you should try.

#3. Toasted White Mocha Frappuccino

How would you like a coconutty flavor and hints of caramelly taste in your drink? Try a toasted white mocha frappuccino.

This holiday frappuccino coffee and unfortunately, can not be dairy-free due to the dairy products in the toasted white mocha sauce.

#4. Java Chip Frappuccino

Java chips have gained a bit of a reputation in Starbucks. These chocolatey bits improve the texture of the drink and have made java chip frappuccino a celebrated drink.

#5. Mocha Cookie Crumble with White Mocha

Have you tried mocha cookie crumble with white mocha instead of regular mocha? This is a simple way of adding a rich oreo flavor to your drink.

#6. Coffee Frappuccino

Starbucks coffee frappuccino is, probably, the best low-sugar and low-calorie blended drink you can get. Order it with non-dairy milk such as almond milk and avoid the whipped cream and extra sweeteners.

For a stronger taste of coffee, add espresso shots or swap the frappuccino roast with espresso shots altogether. Since the base syrup is already sweetened, the drink has a balanced sweetness without cloying.

For a more decadent coffee frappuccino use oat milk and add brown sugar and cinnamon.

#7. Vanilla Bean Creme Frappuccino

Your vanilla bean frappuccino does not have to be boring. For a refreshing taste of chocolate-covered strawberries, add java chips and strawberry puree to your vanilla bean frappuccino.

#8. Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

It comes back every fall and is one of the most anticipated holiday drinks. You can have a pumpkin spice frappuccino with coffee or creme.

See more pumpkin beverages here.

#9. Mocha Frappuccino With Vanilla Bean

Mocha frappuccino has stood the test of time and its popularity has endured since its debut in 1995.

Although Starbucks has elevated this drink over the years by adding whipped cream and mocha drizzle, the magical taste of coffee and chocolate continues to wow even the new generation of Starbucks customers.

Try mocha frappuccino with a few scoops of vanilla bean powder and see why it is so popular.

#10. Caramel Frappuccino

Over two decades ago, Starbucks introduced caramel frappuccino and it has remained on the menu ever since.

Caramel frappuccino gets both caramel syrup and sauce, although the sauce is drizzled on top of the drink.

#11. Strawberry Creme Frappuccino

Try the strawberry creme frappuccino with coconut milk and brown sugar and it will slap differently.

#12. Chai Creme Frappuccino

Starbucks chai creme frappuccino is a decadent alternative to the chai tea latte. It is a low-caffeine drink with a spicy twist as it gets cinnamon powder on the top.

You may want to get extra pumps of chai concentrate for a bigger chai flavor.

Chai creme frappuccino with oat or soy milk is a superb choice for a non-dairy frappuccino.

#13. Sugar Cookie Oat Milk Frappuccino

Starbucks has a festive drink known as sugar cookie almond milk frappuccino that is much tastier with oat milk instead of almond milk. Almond milk tends to water down the frappuccino.

Add more pumps of frap roast or espresso shots to bring out the coffee flavor. If made perfectly, sugar cookie oat milk frappuccino is so delicious!

#14. Chestnut Praline

Chestnut praline frappuccino brings out the festive flavors and the caramelly buttery taste of caramelized chestnuts. It tastes heavenly with oat milk.

#15. Matcha Creme Frappuccino

Your creme frappuccino does not have to be all about sugar and calories. A matcha creme frappuccino adds the revered benefits of matcha such as boosting brain function. Matcha is also antioxidant-rich without the undesired side effects of some other antioxidant-rich substances such as coffee.

Try matcha creme frappuccino with coconut milk, java chips, and peppermint tell us how you like this secret recipe.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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