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The Truth About the Frappuccino


I already wrote a post about how to make your coffee stop healthier, but now I’m going to tell you some uncomfortable truths about the Frappuccino. I may as well admit that I’m not much of a Frappuccino junkie. To me they’re too sweet and don’t have enough caffeine. There are, however, a lot of misconceptions about the Frap and other brands’ blended counterparts that should be put to rest.

Firstly, Fraps are not healthy. They are barely coffee. They are primarily fat and sugar. There are between 2 and 4 pumps of Frap Roast, which is a liquid we make from an instant coffee powder that we mix with water. I have no idea what is in that powder, but it dissolves to make a coffee-like liquid. I don’t know how much caffeine is in the Frap Roast, but it isn’t as much as a real shot, I’m sure.

Then we put a little whole milk in, between 1/4 cup and 1 full cup, depending on the Frap and not including any alterations. After that we add 2-4 pumps of flavor, or 2-4 scoops of flavor, or 1-2 pumps of chocolate/white chocolate. One pump of caramel is 50 calories. Then half the drink is ice, and then we add 2-4 pumps of Frap base, Cream base, or Light base. All three bases are basically sugar and corn syrup concentrate to give the Frap its texture after it is blended.

A way to get more caffeine is to ask for shots instead of the Frap Roast. Depending on the size the drinks can be made with 1, 2, or 3 shots of espresso. You can also add more caffeine by adding shots on top of the Frap roast, which lower the calorie content by reducing the amount of milk that is put in (Frap Roast, shots, and milk should all add up to the bottom line of your cup or else the other measurements don’t add up, so more shots = less milk). There is also this thing called a Float shot, which is where we put the shot on top of the Frap after it is made, which in terms of caffeine is better because you get the whole shot. When the shots are blended in the coffee flavor in enhanced throughout the drink, but there is always a little that doesn’t fit in the cup and is thrown away, which doesn’t happen on a float shot. There is also an Afrogato  shot, which I may be misspelling. This is basically a float shot with a little caramel or chocolate drizzle. It has a few more calories than the other add shots, but it costs less!

You can also reduce calories by asking for sugar free syrups, but sugar free isn’t necessarily any better for you as it tends to have addictive fake sugars that your body treats just like regular sugar as well as three times the salt. In fact, if you get a Light Frap, it isn’t sugar free, just reduced sugar. You can also ask for less syrup and base, which will reduce sugar intake and bring out more of the coffee flavor. Adding flavors just adds more calories and makes an already sweet drink even sweeter – just a warning.

Now… ice. Getting your Frap extra thick just means that your barista is going to add a little more ice. Getting it thinner means that there is going to be a little less ice. We don’t altar the rest of the recipe for it because the amount of ice that is added or removed is really a small amount. In fact, less ice usually means less waste at the end of the blending!

But, ultimately, what you do with your Frap is your choice. To me, as a barista who works in a café that is often understaffed (so, clearly I don’t work at a Starbucks, since they are a lovely company that never lets their stores have fewer than 3 baristas at any given moment), Frappuccino’s are the biggest pain to make as they have the most parts, and people tend to want to customize them. But, if you are looking for that perfect dessert or snack in the heat of the day, they certainly fit the bill!


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