Frappuccino vs Cappuccino: Understanding the Difference

Thanks to the huge variety of coffee drinks, there is always a different option to enjoy. On the flip side, the availability of different options can sometimes cause confusion. Today, we will be talking about Frappuccino and cappuccino, in particular, two similar-sounding drinks with a decent amount of differences to separate one from the other.

What Is the Difference Between a Frappuccino and a Cappuccino?

Even though their names sound very similar, these two drinks don’t actually share any common traits other than the fact that they are both coffee. Simply put, cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink that consists of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam, whereas Frappuccino is a cold beverage that is made by mixing coffee (not particularly espresso), milk, sugar, topped off with whipped cream and flavor syrups.

While cappuccino is a staple of Italian coffee culture, Frappuccino is actually just a name invented by Starbucks which doesn’t have a connection with any of the original Italian coffee drinks.


Cappuccino is an espresso drink everyone is familiar with and is most likely the first thing that comes to mind when espresso is mentioned. Originated in Italy, cappuccino is one of the cornerstones of Italian coffee culture, especially preferred as a morning drink due to its small volume and light contents.

Similar to latte which gained a surge of popularity lately, cappuccino also consists of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam as its core ingredients. Compared to a latte, a cappuccino contains less milk, and more milk foam, making it an even lighter drink than a latte which is already one of the lightest espresso drinks you can go for.

If you enjoy the taste of espresso without too many extras, a cappuccino is a great choice as it delivers the full taste of espresso through the creamy texture of milk and milk foam. The amount of milk (and milk foam) used in a cappuccino is very minimal as it exists to enhance the texture of the drink without taking too much away from the taste of the espresso shot.

Flavor syrups can be used to enhance the flavor of a cappuccino, as those who prefer a sweet taste in their coffee may not be completely satisfied with the way a cappuccino tastes as it is. If you aren’t sure which flavor would complement your cappuccino the best, we can highly recommend trying caramel or vanilla syrup.

How to Make a Cappuccino

There is absolutely nothing to be scared of when it comes to making a cappuccino, as it is one of the easiest espresso drinks to make. The espresso shot is the heart of a cappuccino, so it’s important to ensure that your espresso shot is up to your standards as it will heavily influence the way your drink tastes.

With that being said, let’s move on to the steps you can follow to make your own cappuccino.

  1. Pull a shot of espresso into your cup.
  2. If you’re looking to add flavored syrup, now is the time. It is important to add the flavor syrup directly on top of the espresso shot to get the maximum amount of flavor.
  3. Steam and froth your milk. Cappuccino usually contains equal parts of espresso, milk, and milk foam, so ensure that you don’t add too much milk. The milk should more or less double in size (with half being milk and half being milk foam) after the frothing process and should fill your cup.
  4. Pour the steamed milk into your cup, and top it off with the milk foam. The milk foam should end up at the top of your cup, so make sure that you’re holding the milk foam back until all the milk is poured into the cup.

As you can see, it’s extremely simple to prepare a cappuccino at home. Within minutes, your tasty beverage will be ready to go!


A big favorite for hot summer days, Frappuccino is a Starbucks trademarked coffee drink known for being sweet and creamy.

A regular Frappuccino is basically coffee, milk, sugar, and ice blended together, topped off with whipped cream and a drizzle of flavor syrup such as caramel. The coffee used in Frappuccino is called Frap roast, which is a powder that is mixed with water, similar to how instant coffee is prepared. Unlike instant coffee, the Frap roast mix is prepared with room temperature water as Frappuccino is a cold beverage that doesn’t require hot coffee. Although Frap roast is the standard, you can opt for an espresso shot instead if you wish.

Just like any other Starbucks coffee, you can order a Frappuccino in different sizes and variations such as decaf or non-dairy. You can even go for a variation that is coffee-free or add different flavored syrups and powders to customize your drink.

If you are someone who has a sweet tooth, a cup of Frappuccino will be your best friend on a summer day. That being said, the taste of sugar is rather overwhelming in a cup of Frappuccino, and you won’t really be tasting a lot of coffee with the amount of sugar, cream, and milk involved. If you’re looking for a cold beverage where you can taste the coffee more, an iced cappuccino (which you can also find in Starbucks) will be a better choice.

Choosing Between a Cappuccino and a Frappuccino

Since cappuccino and Frappuccino are completely different drinks, it should be fairly easy to choose between them depending on your preferences.

The first difference which comes to mind is that cappuccino is a warm beverage, and Frappuccino is a cold beverage. A Frappuccino is a great choice to cool you down during warm summer days, while a cappuccino will keep you warm on a cold winter morning.

Another important thing to consider is taste, and once again, these two drinks are polar opposites on this front. A Frappuccino is rich in sweetness as it contains ingredients such as flavor syrups, whipped cream, and sugar, which all contribute to making the drink extremely sweet. On the other hand, a cappuccino contains absolutely no sugar at all, leaving you with the taste of espresso. As we mentioned, you can always choose to add flavor syrups to your cappuccino to give it a sweet touch, but it still won’t come close to how sweet a Frappuccino is.

Lastly, you’ll notice that a Frappuccino could prove to be a quite heavy drink, especially depending on the size. As we mentioned, Frappuccino is a very sweet drink, and the sweetness comes with calories. For this reason, it’s preferable to enjoy a Frappuccino later in the day, perhaps as a dessert in order to not feel bloated. As opposed to Frappuccino, a cappuccino is one of the lightest coffee drinks you can have, making it a great drink to get you started in the morning. Even with flavor syrups added, a cappuccino will remain fairly light, and provide you the caffeine boost you need to get your day going.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is Frappuccino just an iced version of cappuccino?

Not at all. Even though they sound quite similar, there are absolutely no similarities between a Frappuccino and a cappuccino other than both drinks containing coffee.

Is Frappuccino the same as iced coffee?

They aren’t exactly the same thing, as Frappuccino is a specific drink which is trademarked by Starbucks, containing ingredients such as milk, sugar, and whipped cream which aren’t integral to preparing iced coffee. On the other hand, you can have iced coffee by simply pouring hot coffee over ice.

Can you have Frappuccino without coffee?

Surprisingly, yes. There is a variant called Creme Frappuccino which doesn’t contain any coffee and is considered to be caffeine-free. This variant of Frappuccino tastes quite similar to a milkshake and offers plenty of different flavor variations.

Is it possible to have a warm Frappuccino?

No. Frappuccino is a drink that is exclusively prepared cold. It would be pointless to prepare it warm anyway, as hot coffee would melt the ice and you would be drinking a strange mixture of milk, water, and coffee.


Hope we managed to clear any confusion you might have regarding these two similar-sounding drinks, considering that they are as different as possible from each other.

That being said, they are both delicious coffee drinks that shine on different occasions, so make sure that you give both of them a try if you haven’t yet.