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Frappuccino vs. Cappuccino: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 11, 2023
A Frappuccino is a trademarked, blended ice beverage by Starbucks, often sweet and flavored, while a cappuccino is a traditional Italian espresso-based coffee with steamed milk and foam.

Key Differences

Frappuccino is a trademarked brand of Starbucks, representing a range of blended, iced coffee drinks, often flavored with syrups and topped with whipped cream, whereas cappuccino is a classic Italian coffee drink, consisting of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. Both are popular coffee-based beverages but differ significantly in preparation and presentation.
Cappuccino is known for its rich, bold espresso flavor and is often enjoyed in the mornings in Italy, traditionally without any added flavors or syrups. In contrast, Frappuccino is a more dessert-like beverage, frequently sweetened and customizable with various syrups, toppings, and even non-coffee versions. Each offers a unique coffee experience, with cappuccino focusing on the espresso's purity and frappuccino on a more indulgent, varied taste profile.
When it comes to texture, Frappuccinos are icy and blended, often resembling a milkshake or smoothie, making them a popular choice in warmer weather or for those preferring a cold coffee treat. On the other hand, cappuccinos are characterized by their warm, creamy texture, with a significant portion of the drink being the velvety milk foam that sits atop the steamed milk and espresso. The texture difference highlights the distinct experiences each beverage offers, with frappuccinos being more about refreshment and cappuccinos about savoring the coffee.
In terms of caffeine content, cappuccinos typically have a higher concentration due to the espresso base, providing a robust coffee flavor and a stronger caffeine kick. Frappuccinos, while containing coffee, often have less caffeine overall, diluted by the addition of milk, ice, and flavorings. This difference makes cappuccinos a popular choice for those seeking a strong coffee flavor and caffeine boost, while frappuccinos cater to those desiring a sweeter, more varied flavor experience.
Nutritionally, cappuccinos are lighter, especially if enjoyed without sugar, consisting mainly of espresso and a moderate amount of milk. In contrast, Frappuccinos can be high in calories, sugar, and fat, depending on the ingredients and additions like whipped cream and flavored syrups. The choice between the two can depend on one's dietary preferences or restrictions, with cappuccinos being a more health-conscious option and frappuccinos a treat.

Comparison Chart


Starbucks creation
Traditional Italian


Cold, iced


Blended, smoothie-like
Creamy with frothed milk

Flavor Profile

Sweet, customizable
Bold espresso, lightly sweetened

Nutritional Value

Often high in calories and sugar
Generally lower in calories

Frappuccino and Cappuccino Definitions


Can include a variety of flavors and toppings.
She chose a vanilla bean frappuccino with extra whipped cream.


Traditionally consumed in the morning in Italy.
In Italy, it's common to have a cappuccino for breakfast.


Often more dessert-like than traditional coffee.
For dessert, I'll have a mocha frappuccino instead of cake.


Often lightly sweetened or enjoyed plain.
I prefer my cappuccino without sugar to savor the espresso.


Available in coffee and non-coffee versions.
He opted for a green tea frappuccino, avoiding caffeine.


Served hot, emphasizing the espresso's flavor.
On a chilly morning, nothing beats a hot cappuccino.


A blended, iced coffee drink trademarked by Starbucks.
I ordered a caramel frappuccino for a refreshing afternoon treat.


An Italian coffee drink made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth.
My morning started with a freshly brewed cappuccino.


Popular for its cold, refreshing quality.
On this hot day, a strawberry frappuccino is perfect.


Known for its distinct layers of coffee, milk, and foam.
The layers in my cappuccino looked like art.


An iced cappuccino.


Espresso coffee mixed or topped with steamed milk or cream.


A serving of this beverage.


(uncountable) An Italian coffee-based beverage made from espresso to which milk that has been steamed and/or frothed is added; (countable) a cup of this beverage.


Any of various similar drinks.


A medium- to dark-brown colour like that of the coffee drink (sense 1) or the habit of a Capuchin monk.


What is a Frappuccino?

A Frappuccino is a Starbucks trademarked blended coffee beverage, often sweet and iced.

Are Frappuccinos always coffee-based?

No, Frappuccinos can be made with or without coffee, offering a range of flavors.

What defines a cappuccino?

A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk.

Can Frappuccinos be customized?

Yes, Frappuccinos are highly customizable with various flavors and toppings.

What is the best time to drink a cappuccino?

In Italian culture, cappuccinos are typically enjoyed in the morning.

Are Frappuccinos served hot or cold?

Frappuccinos are generally served cold and iced.

Is cappuccino suitable for those who prefer stronger coffee taste?

Cappuccino can be suitable for those who prefer a stronger coffee taste with less milk than other espresso-based drinks.

How is the milk prepared in a cappuccino?

In a cappuccino, milk is steamed and then frothed to create a creamy top layer.

Is a Frappuccino a good choice for a coffee purist?

Not typically, as it's more of a dessert-like beverage than a traditional coffee.

How does a cappuccino differ from a latte?

A cappuccino has more froth and less milk than a latte.

How does the caffeine content of a Frappuccino compare to a cappuccino?

Generally, cappuccinos have a higher caffeine content than Frappuccinos, especially if the latter contains non-coffee ingredients.

Can you make a cappuccino at home without a machine?

Making a traditional cappuccino at home typically requires an espresso machine for the best results.

Is cappuccino considered a strong coffee?

Yes, due to its espresso base, cappuccinos are strong in flavor and caffeine.

What makes the froth in a cappuccino?

The froth in a cappuccino comes from steamed milk that is aerated.

Are there non-dairy options for Frappuccinos and cappuccinos?

Yes, most coffee shops, including Starbucks, offer non-dairy milk alternatives for both Frappuccinos and cappuccinos.

Can you get a decaffeinated Frappuccino?

Yes, Starbucks offers decaffeinated versions of Frappuccinos.

Are Frappuccinos considered a dessert?

Many people consider Frappuccinos more of a dessert due to their sweet, indulgent nature.

What's the ideal time to enjoy a Frappuccino?

Frappuccinos are perfect for warm weather or when you're craving a sweet, cold beverage.

What flavors are popular in Frappuccinos?

Popular Frappuccino flavors include caramel, mocha, and vanilla.

Can a cappuccino be iced?

While traditionally hot, some coffee shops do offer iced cappuccinos.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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