Cappuccino Vs Frappuccino: What’s The Difference?

what's the difference between a cappuccino and a frappuccino

Two of the most popular Starbucks drinks are undoubtedly cappuccinos and frappuccinos. With the names of these two beverages sounding so similar that it’s easy to assume they are almost the same drink, but are they?

Well, if you went into your local Starbucks and ordered a cappuccino but really wanted a frappuccino then you might be in for a bit of a shock, and the same goes the other way round!

So, what’s the difference between a cappuccino and a frappuccino? A cappuccino is a hot drink that is ⅓ espresso, ⅓ steamed milk, and topped with ⅓ micro foam. A frappuccino is cold drink that’s trademarked by Starbucks. There are many frappuccino variations but the most common are blended ice, coffee, milk, whipped cream, sugar & syrup.

So, now you know the difference between a cappuccino and a frappuccino right? 

Well not exactly! Those are just the basic differences. But don’t worry, we have covered all the must-know differences between a cappuccino and a frappuccino right here in this article.

Read on to learn the 8 major differences between a cappuccino and a frappuccino! 

Table of Contents

What’s the Difference Between a Cappuccino and a Frappuccino?

Ok, so we have briefly looked at the obvious differences between a cappuccino and a frappuccino but there is so much more to it than that.

There are a lot of things going on with these two drinks that make them both amazing in their own right but totally different at the same time.

So what’s the difference between a cappuccino and a frappuccino? 

Check out the list below that shares the differences between a cappuccino and a frappuccino:

  • Ingredients
  • Calories
  • Taste
  • Temperature
  • Caffeine Content
  • Drink Size
  • Drink Variations
  • Availability

Here’s a table that shares the differences between a standard cappuccino and a frappuccino:

Using Mobile: You may have to scroll to see the full table 

IngredientsEspresso, Steamed Milk, MicrofoamOptional Coffe, Ice, Milk, Whipped Cream, Sugar & Syrup.
TasteBalanced CoffeeSweet & Creamy
Caffeine Content75mg0-95mg (Average)
Drink Size6-8 oz 16 oz
AvalabilityEverywhereStarbucks Only

Let’s now take a deeper look at these differences and what they mean…

1. Ingredients

One of the most noticeable differences between a cappuccino and a frappuccino is the ingredients used to make the drinks.

As briefly mentioned at the beginning of this article, a cappuccino is a hot coffee based drink that contains specific ingredients in specific quantities.

If you order a cappuccino you will get a shot of espresso that fills ⅓ of the cup, followed by ⅓ of a cup of steamed milk, and finally topped off by ⅓ of a cup of micro foam.

If you add/take away ingredients or alter the balance of the ingredients then you will be creating another drink and therefore you won’t technically have a cappuccino anymore.

A frappuccino on the other hand, is an iced drink with many options for customization.

Unlike the cappuccino, you can customize the frappuccino in many ways with so many different ingredients and it will still be called a frappuccino.

The ingredients for a standard frappuccino are coffee blended with ice, milk, whipped cream, sugar, and syrup.

2. Calories

Getting My Caramel Frappuccino On My Latest Trip to Starbucks

The number of calories offered by both drinks are also in stark contrast to one another.

As the cappuccino is has only two ingredients, coffee and milk, the calorie count is relatively low.

On the other hand, the frappuccino contains ingredients that would normally be seen on a desert menu such as whipped cream and syrup.

For this reason, the frappuccino has way more calories and is usually seen as a ‘treat drink’ by many unlike the cappuccino which is seen as an every day drink.

Below is the number of calories you can expect for both the cappuccino and frappuccino from Starbucks:

Here’s the calorie count for both drinks in their most popular sizes:


Cappuccino8 oz (Short)70
Frappuccino16 oz (Grande)380

Here’s the calorie count for both drinks in the grande size:

Cappuccino16 oz (Grande)140
Frappuccino16 oz (Grande)380

As you can see, even when you serve the drinks in the same size cup the frappuccino has over twice the amount of calories of the cappuccino.

3. Taste

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing any beverage is the taste and as I’m sure you can imagine these two drinks taste completely different.

The cappuccino will taste of espresso, however, the strength will be mellowed slightly by the steamed milk.

When milk is steamed a natural, subtle sweetness is released and this can also be tasted though the drink. 

The microfoam on top finishes off the cappuccino and provides a great balance.

In contrast to this, the frappuccino is very sweet and creamy due to the whipped cream, sugar, and syrup and is almost like a desert.

For this reason, most people will limit the number of frappuccinos they have throughout the week.

Recommended Reading:

If you love Starbucks drinks then you will want to check out this post!

The 52 Best Starbucks Drinks (You Seriously Need to Try)

4. Temperature

If you’re looking for a comforting warm drink as your companion on a cold morning then the cappuccino might be top of the list!

But then again, if you’re searching for a yummy treat on those lazy spring and summer afternoons then a frapuccino might well be on the menu!

These two drinks couldn’t be further apart when it comes to the temperature they are served at. While the cappuccino is served hot the frappuccino is served iced.

Here’s a table that shares the typical temperatures that both drinks are served at:


5. Caffeine Content

One of the biggest differences between a cappuccino and a frappuccino is the potential caffeine content.

A cappuccino will always contain a shot of espresso as this is the specific method of creating a cappuccino. 

This then allows you to sit the steamed milk on the crema and then the microfoam on top of that.

A frappuccino might not contain any coffee at all depending on the variation you choose so could easily end up with zero caffeine content.

Here’s a table that shows the caffeine content of a standard cappuccino and various popular frappuccinos:

DrinkCoffeeSizeCaffeine Content
CappuccinoYes8 oz75 mg
Espresso FrappuccinoYes16 oz155 mg
Java Chip FrappuccinoYes16 oz105 mg
Mocha FrappuccinoYes16 oz100 mg
Caffe Vanilla FrappuccinoYes16 oz95 mg
Coffee FrappuccinoYes16 oz95 mg
Mocha Cookie Crumble FrappuccinoYes16 oz95 mg
White Choc Mocha FrappuccinoYes16 oz95 mg
Caramel FrappuccinoYes16 oz90 mg
Caramel Ribbon Crunch FrappuccinoYes16 oz85 mg
Strawberry Funnel Cake FrappuccinoYes16 oz85 mg
Matcha Green Tea Creme FrappuccinoNo16 oz70 mg
Chai Creme FrappuccinoNo16 oz40 mg
Double Chocolaty Chip Creme FrappuccinoNo16 oz15 mg
Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme FrappuccinoYes16 oz15 mg
Caramel Ribbon Crunch Creme FrappuccinoNo16 oz0 mg
Strawberry FrappuccinoNo16 oz0 mg
Vanilla Bean Creme FrappuccinoNo16 oz0 mg
White Chocolate Creme FrappuccinoNo16 oz0 mg

6. Drink Size

Just when you thought that these two drinks couldn’t get any more different, they just did!

You may have noticed through the article that when we have been sharing data on the cappuccino that the serving size is smaller than the frappuccino.

This is because cappuccinos generally come in 6 oz servings. With this being said, the smallest you can get them at Starbucks is 8 oz (Short) with the option to go all the way to 20 oz if you like.

Frappuccinos on the other hand, have a standard serving size of 16oz (Grande) but as this is a Starbucks drink you can choose between their usual serving sizes of 8 oz upto 20 oz.

The bottom line is, a typical cappuccino will be much smaller than a typical frappuccino (around half the size).

7. Drink Variations

As mentioned earlier in the article, one big difference between the two drinks is the variations.

While the ingredients of the cappuccino can’t technically be changed, it’s actually possible to get a couple of variations.

Here are the variations to the standard cappuccino:

  • Wet Cappuccino
  • Dry Cappuccino
  • Iced Cappuccino

A wet cappuccino is basically a variation where you sacrifice the foam on top for more steamed milk.

A dry cappuccino works the opposite way, where you decrease the amount of steamed milk in order to accommodate more microfoam.

The iced cappuccino is actually the same recipe as the original but obviously iced with cold frothed milk.

Frappuccinos have many more variations to them and you can even customize each variation further to make it unique and personal to you, basically the possibilities are endless.

Here’s a list of the frappuccino variations:

  • Espresso 
  • Java Chip
  • Mocha 
  • Caffe Vanilla 
  • Coffee 
  • Mocha Cookie Crumble 
  • White Choc Mocha 
  • Caramel 
  • Caramel Ribbon Crunch 
  • Strawberry Funnel Cake 
  • Matcha Green Tea Creme 
  • Chai Creme 
  • Double Chocolaty Chip Creme 
  • Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme 
  • Caramel Ribbon Crunch Creme 
  • Strawberry 
  • Vanilla Bean Creme 
  • White Chocolate Creme

8. Where They Are Available

My Daughter Enjoying Her Frappuccino at Starbucks

The main difference here is that the frappuccino is trademarked by Starbucks and therefore the only place you can pick one up is from a Starbucks store.

The cappuccino is available at Starbucks but it’s also available at just about every single coffee shop in the US and in most countries throughout the world and especially Europe.

Have you ever been curious what country drinks the most coffee? 

Well, we have done countless hours of research and created an article that shares the Countries that consume the most coffee (and the results will surprise you)

You can see the results at our What Country Drinks The Most Coffee article here…

Origins Of The Cappuccino

As for the origins of the cappuccino, it can be traced back all the way to 16th-century Italy.

It takes its name from the “Capuchin Friars” who were basically brown-robed monks based in Italy.

There were noticeable similarities between the colors of the Capuchin Friar’s robes and the color of this new coffee and milk-based drink that was becoming popular around the streets of Italy.

Eventually, the drink was named the cappuccino after the Capuchin Friers robes and the name has followed it around the globe ever since.

Interestingly enough, the cappuccino didn’t make its way to the US until around 1980 but is now a staple on coffee menus around the Country.

If you want to learn all about the history of coffee then head over to our new guide that covers the history of coffee from its origins through to the present day…

Origins Of The Frappuccino

Its history is much shorter than the cappuccino but equally as interesting.

The frappuccino wasn’t actually invented by Starbucks even though they hold the trademark for it.

It was originally created by a guy named Andrew Frank who worked for the Coffee Connection company. 

The Coffee Connection was bought out by Starbucks in 1994 and they inherited all rights to the frappuccino name and all marketing rights.

Once Starbucks purchased the license to the frappuccino they altered the recipe and resold it under their Starbucks name in 1995 where it’s been a hit ever since.


Cappuccinos and frappuccinos are both amazing drinks in their own right, however, they don’t really bare any relation to each other.

While one drink uses very few ingredients and is very traditional in its makeup, the other is fashionable and trendy and offers lots of customization options.

Ultimately, there is a place in the world of coffee for both these drinks, and no matter which one you order next time you take a trip to your local Starbucks you won’t be disappointed!

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