Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino: What To Know Before Ordering

It is hard to imagine a world of blended cold coffees without dreaming about a sweet Frappuccino with ice chips floating around. A Frappuccino, in turn, is pretty much synonymous with Starbucks, and rightly so. Starbucks has a trademark on the term Frappuccino and so, you'll find everything from fraps and frappes to iced and cold coffees at other coffee shops, but if it's a Frappuccino you want, it is Starbucks that you'll want to go to.

Besides, if you're a Frappuccino fan, you know that a Starbucks Frappuccino just tastes...different. It might have something to do with the base syrup that Starbucks uses in all its Frappuccinos. According to Delishably, a regular base syrup is made from sugar and tastes similar to maple syrup. This base syrup happens to be the magic ingredient that gives Frappuccinos their signature thickness and sweetness.

Starbucks Frappuccinos may have been the next best invention since the discovery of coffee itself, however, there's great debate as to which Frappuccino ranks the best. Although Java Chip is a Frappuccino favorite for some, the Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino has a loyal caramel-loving fan base of its own (via Eat This, Not That).

What is a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino?

As with all Starbucks Frappuccinos, the Caramel Frappuccino, too, is a frozen, blended coffee. The Caramel Frap is made by blending caramel syrup with the chain's Frappuccino Roast, milk, ice, and caramel syrup till it turns into a chunky, icy drink (via Starbucks). A swirl of whipped cream goes on top, along with some more caramel goodness in the form of a caramel sauce drizzle.

A 12-oz tall cup of Caramel Frap will usually have three pumps of Frappuccino Roast (the coffee base for all Frappuccinos), three pumps of caramel syrup, ice, whole milk, whipped cream, and caramel drizzle. As with most Starbucks drinks, you can customize your Caramel Frap by choosing different milk options and by adding additional toppings and sweeteners, though a Caramel Frap is sweet enough as is.

Additionally, the Caramel Frap is one of three Frappuccinos that are a part of Starbucks' Affogato-style Frappuccinos. This means, you can ask your barista to pour a shot of espresso over a finished Caramel Frap which, they say, will "create creamy pockets of coffee" in the ice-filled drink (via Starbucks Stories & News).

When did Starbucks come out with the Caramel Frappuccino?

Starbucks first came out with its line of Frappuccinos two decades ago. On a particularly hot summer of 1993, Dina Campion, who managed 10 Starbucks outlets in Southern California at the time, realized that several smaller coffee shops across Los Angeles were selling blended coffees that offered a cold and caffeinated alternative to hot coffee in the sweltering heat (via Starbucks Stories & News). Sensing a market for blended coffees, Campion had a team fly out from Starbucks' Seattle headquarters to try and test blended coffees on its customers in Santa Monica.

Meanwhile, Starbucks took over a Boston-based coffee company called The Coffee Connection in 1994. Along with the company, Starbucks gained rights to the now-famous term Frappuccino which, at the time, belonged to The Coffee Connection's founder, George Howell. The Coffee Connection's Frappuccino was a blended beverage made using a soft-serve machine and had the consistency of a slushie. Starbucks then decided to roll out their new blended beverages under the name Frappuccino, and in 1995 came out with two flavors in the U.S. and Canada — Mocha and Coffee.

After its quick success with skyrocketing sales, Starbucks decided to add more flavors to the Frappuccino line, and so, the Caramel Frappuccino came to be. In 1999, Starbucks served its first Caramel Frappuccino, and along with it, came out with its signature green straws and dome lids for the very first time.

What does a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino taste like?

Most Frappuccinos that Starbucks comes out with are seasonal or festive and tend to be available at the chain for a limited period of time. The good thing about the Caramel Frap is that it happens to be one of Starbucks' classic range of Frappuccinos and one that is available all year round.

Considering its name, Caramel Frap has an obvious caramel-like taste. CheatSheet describes the taste of a Caramel Frap to be "the perfect blend of sweet and salty," thanks to the mix of sweet Frappuccino Roast syrup and salty caramel syrup. However, for many, this caramel-like taste translates into a sugar overdose. According to a taste-test conducted by Eat This, Not That!, the consensus was that the Caramel Frap was only for people who had a soft spot for extremely sweet beverages. They found that the drink tasted more like sugar and less like coffee, and for anyone who likes the taste of coffee, this Frappuccino would be a disappointment. If you do want to try a Caramel Frap but without its excessive sweetness, the website recommends requesting your barista to add fewer pumps of caramel sauce.

Is a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino nutritious?

Since a general consensus about the Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino is that the drink is not for people who don't like sweet beverages, it comes as no surprise that a Caramel Frap has A LOT of sugar. It may not be the drink with the most sugar on a Starbucks menu, but it still contains a high amount of sweet substance.

According to Live Strong, a tall Caramel Frap contains 46 grams of sugar, which comes to 184 calories. A grande size contains 264 calories from sugar, and venti has a whopping 336 calories from sugar. This means that even a tall Caramel Frap contains considerably more calories from sugar than the 150 calories for men and 100 calories for women that the American Heart Association recommends per day (via Healthline). Apart from the sugar and calorie content, Live Strong adds that the whipped cream that goes on top of the drink easily adds another 100 calories and about 8.5 to 11.5 grams of fat.

If you do want to watch your calorie, fat, and sugar intake while still enjoying a cold Caramel Frap, order a light version of the drink instead. Swap the 2% milk for soy, skim, or coconut milk creamer and skip the whipped cream completely (via Spoon University).

Starbucks has an Ultra Caramel Frappuccino, too

If you swear by Caramel Frappuccinos, you might want to try the bigger, badder, and caramelier version the next time you're at a Starbucks. The company came out with the Ultra Caramel Frappuccino back in 2018, and there's a lot more to this drink than just heaps of caramel. The Ultra Caramel Frap is made by layering dark caramel coffee Frappuccino, dark caramel sauce, and whipped cream (via Starbucks). Now, this isn't just any whipped cream. This whipped cream is infused with more dark caramel, white chocolate, and cold brew.

While a Caramel Frap simply blends all the caramel, milk, ice, and coffee into one giant drink, the Ultra Caramel Frap has five layers of cold brew whipped cream, caramel sauce, and coffee Frap. This is why, Elite Daily claims that the Ultra Caramel Frap is "10 times creamier" than its original version and has a stronger flavor, too. The price that you pay for an elite version of the original Caramel Frap? Less caffeine. A grande Ultra Caramel Frap is short by 10 milligrams of caffeine, and so if it's a caffeine boost you want, you might want to stick to the original.

How much does a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino cost?

The prices on a Starbucks menu vary depending on where you are in the world, or even which state you are in the U.S. On average, the price of a Starbucks drink in the U.S. is about $2.75, however, when you go to New York, a tall cappuccino can cost as much as $3.25 (via Spruce Eats). The same goes for the Starbucks Caramel Frap, which ranges from $3.75 to $4.95 depending on the size of your order.

A 16-ounce Ultra Caramel Frap can cost between $5.24 to $5.45. If you'd like to modify your drink by adding toppings, espresso shots, and syrups or swapping one milk for another, that'll be a few additional cents on top. You can also find bottled Caramel Frappuccino at grocery stores. A pack of four 9.5-ounce bottles costs about $6.79 or an individual bottle is $2.69. Keep in mind that although the bottled version is cheaper than a regular Caramel Frap, you won't get the whipped cream with caramel drizzle either.