10 Key Differences Between Frappuccino And Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is often misrepresented as iced coffee because large coffee chains advertise it that way. However, there is a lot more to the drink than just that. For example, you can make a cold brew coffee with room-temperature water; you don’t even need ice.

A Frappuccino is a line of blended iced coffee drinks from Starbucks: milky, sugary, and icy. Both are delicious summery drinks in their own right, but let’s explore ten key differences between a Frappuccino and a cold brew:

Ten Differences Between A Frappuccino And Cold Brew Coffee

1. Brewing Method

The primary difference between a Frappuccino and a cold brew is preparing these drinks. A Frappuccino involves blending room-temperature coffee with ice, among other ingredients.

In contrast, cold brew involves seeping coarse grounds in cold water for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how intense you want the coffee to taste.

Starbucks uses their own Frapp roast coffee to make Frappuccinos, and a barista pumps that coffee into the blender with ice and other ingredients.

You can make a copy-cat version of the drink at home with your preferred brewing method, but it’s best to use strong coffee to handle the drink’s sweetness.

When making a cold brew, grind the coffee beans coarsely, then combine them with water to steep overnight or for 12 to 24 hours.

2. Ingredients

The only ingredients for cold brew coffee are coarse coffee grounds with water. You can add ice after if you wish.

Frappuccino requires more ingredients, starting with strong coffee, whole milk, a flavored sauce, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and spices.

To get a better idea of the authentic ingredients you need for both drinks, consider the following recipes for both drinks:



  • 113 grams (1 cup) of whole coffee beans
  • 4 cups of water


  • Coarsely grind the coffee beans in short 1-second pulses. The grounds should resemble coarse cornmeal – this should give you just under one cup of coffee grounds.
  • Combine the coffee grounds and the cold water in a jar. Pour the water over the top and gently stir using a long-handled spoon, ensuring the grounds are thoroughly saturated.
  • Allow the coffee to steep overnight.
  • You must cover the jar with a lid or plate; the coffee can stay out on the countertop, or you can refrigerate it.
  • Strain the coffee by lining a small strainer with a cloth, placing it over a large measuring cup or bowl, and pouring the coffee through it.
  • Dilute the coffee with water or milk and serve over ice. You can warm it for a few minutes if you prefer.



  • 1 cup of strong brewed coffee at room temperature
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1/3 cup of caramel sauce
  • 3 tbsp of white sugar
  • Whipped cream

Chill your glass, this is optional, but it does add to the deliciousness of the drink. Put all the ingredients into a bender – coffee, ice, milk, sugar, and caramel sauce on high, then pour into two-16 ounce glasses.

3. Time

Extraction is the process of drawing flavor from the coffee beans, and multiple factors influence the flavor, the most notable being time.

The various flavor compounds in the beans are extracted at different rates. Therefore, the total brewing time can significantly affect the beans’ flavor.

The steeping method of cold brew coffee generally lasts between 12 to 24 hours. The grounds need to be coarsely ground since you will be leaving them in the water for so long.

If you grind the coffee beans too finely, this may result in over-extracted and bitter coffee.

Frappuccinos are made quickly, usually a few minutes. However, Frappuccinos do not rely on time as a cold brew.

A barista pumps Frapp roast coffee, which is similar to instant coffee. The drink also relies on milk, ice, and a lot of sweetness to counteract any unpleasant tastes from their coffee.

4. Temperature

A Frappuccino is generally colder than cold brew coffee. Cold-brew coffee involves steeping coarse coffee in cold water for a long time, and it is a cold drink from start to finish.

A Frappuccino requires blending room temperature coffee with ice, among other ingredients.

5. Flavor

The above factors will impact how quickly flavor can be drawn out of the coffee beans. Cold-brew uses slow temperature, low pressure, and a lot of time.

The long-drawn-out extraction period can obtain the most hidden flavor compounds inside the coffee beans, making the taste different from other brewing methods.

Cold-brew coffee is smooth, mellow, and complex with sweet chocolatey notes. It is a famous drink for its indulgent and naturally sweet taste.

The coffee flavor in a Frappuccino is nothing special; the Frapp roast from Starbucks is more like an instant coffee and tastes somewhat bitter on its own.

A Frappuccino is full of artificial sweeteners and often topped with whipped cream; it isn’t a complex drink like a cold brew.

6. Acidity

One study revealed that cold brew has 50 to 67% less acidity than regular brewed coffee, and it’s a better option for individuals with gastrointestinal problems and acid reflux.

In addition, there are no deprotonated molecules in cold brew, making it a smoother beverage for most people.

Cold-brew coffee extracts flavors at room temperature or colder; it doesn’t extract all the acids like a hot brew. Hot brew coffee has a higher acid concentration which can be unpleasant for some people.

A Frappuccino is highly acidic; the coffee used by Starbucks is acidic, not to mention all the sweeteners and dairy in the drink – not ideal for those with acid reflux.

7. Health

It is well known that green coffee beans have more antioxidants than roast coffee; high-temperature exposure destroys numerous antioxidants.

Many of the coffee beans benefits are lost between the roasting process and the hot water used for brewing. Thankfully, cold brewing does not eliminate these antioxidants, making it a healthier beverage.

The Frapp roast that Starbucks uses is explicitly designed for Frappuccinos, and it comes in powder form.

However, it is formulated for cold water use, and the taste is far from ideal. In addition, the beans for the Frapp roast undergo a drying procedure; it’s uncertain whether the roasters freeze-dry or spray-dry the beans; nevertheless, Frappuccinos are not a healthy drink, and that is mostly due to the addition of whole milk, cream, and sweeteners.

8. Sweetness

Cold brew coffee has a natural sweetness compared to many hot brewed coffees due to the low acidity levels.

You have the option of not adding a sweetener, as this drink is naturally sweet – cold brew is a lighter and healthier beverage.

Frappuccino is all about sweetness and not much else; it relies on artificial sweeteners for flavors, such as sugar and syrups. As a result, it’s a heavier and not-so-healthy drink.

9. Convenience

Cold-brew coffee takes a long time to brew; however, if you make a batch, it can remain in the fridge for up to ten days and still taste fresh if you like your coffee without having to go through the whole brewing process every day. Brew it before the start of the week, and you’re all set.

If you were making a Frappuccino at home, you would need to brew strong coffee every time and add numerous ingredients to your blender, making sure you have ice, or there wouldn’t be much point.

Otherwise, you could pick up a bottle of the stuff at any supermarket vending machine or have it made at any Starbucks.

10. Versatility

One of the nicest things about cold brew is its dependability in body and flavor; it can be added to many recipes like ice cream, cakes, cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks.

Frappuccinos can be included in recipes too. You can add vodka to a Frappuccino to make a hard Frappuccino; you can also add it to ice cream, cheesecakes, and other cold desserts.



Starbucks has a line of bottled Frappuccino coffee with a “splash of cold brew,” skim milk, reduced-fat milk, and sugar that come in three flavors – Toasted White Chocolate, Salted White Chocolate, and Caramelized Vanilla honey.

However, traditional Frappuccinos are made with Starbucks’ Frappuccino roast coffee, an instant blend of Italian and signature espresso roasts with water.

The coffee is at room temperature, and it is blended with whole milk, ice, and a Frappuccino base syrup.


Starbucks Frappuccino cold brew contains 8.03 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce. A 13.7 fluid ounce bottle contains 110 mg of caffeine.

Final Thoughts

As you can see from the ten differences listed above, Frappuccino and cold brew are nothing like each other – they are two very different drinks.

Nevertheless, both are a welcoming and refreshing treat in warm weather. It’s helpful to understand their differences to know what exactly you are ordering.

Recent Posts