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Every Starbucks Frappuccino On The Menu, Re-Tasted And Power Ranked

The Starbucks Frappuccino is almost at the age where it’s ready for an existential crisis — closing in on 30 years old. 29 years ago, Starbucks first blended coffee beverage was tested at a single store in LA’s San Fernando Valley. It was a hit. By the next year, a whole district of SoCal Starbucks were making it. By ’95 the whole nation was sucking the icy, sugary-as-shit drinks down.

The Frappuccino was a wild success. It has spawned more spin-offs and imitators than any fast food invention ever.

Starbucks didn’t invent the blended coffee drink. In fact, they didn’t even name it — they took the name from The Coffee Connection, a Boston coffee house that Starbucks acquired in the ‘90s. But here in 2022, the word “Frappuccino’” has essentially become shorthand for any icey blended coffee drink at any coffee shop. Ask for a ‘”Frappuccino” and every barista is going to know what you’re asking for, even if they call their drink by another name.

During the Frappuccino’s inaugural week of wide distribution, 200,000 drinks were sold. 400,000 drinks moved the next. 800,000 by the third week. That’s pretty astounding when you consider that in ’95 Starbucks had two flavors — Mocha, and Coffee. Today there are 17.

So to celebrate the drink that turned Starbucks into the global icon it is today, we decided to order every single Frappuccino on the menu and rank and review them from least essential to best tasting. We suffered a lot of brain freeze to put this article together and our big takeaway is this — Starbucks has too many fucking Frappuccinos. It’s not as bad as the redundant and bloated menu of iced coffee drinks that they have, but nearly half of these could leave the menu and you wouldn’t miss them. Probably wouldn’t even notice.

Here is what’s worth your money and what isn’t.

17. Vanilla Bean Crème

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

Ahh the Vanilla Bean Crème, a drink that by all measures is explicitly for kids. There is just nothing here, no flavors to grasp on to, sure it’s called a “Vanilla Bean Crème,” but it doesn’t give you much vanilla. It’s more icy than creamy, tasting like little more than sweetened ice.

Who Is It For?

Kids. It’s clearly designed to satiate the children of the parents that can’t function without their morning Starbucks run. If this is your favorite Starbucks drink you’re probably like a child — basic as f*ck.

The Bottom Line:

Don’t let the little black granules of vanilla bean fool you, you have to strain your taste buds (is that a thing?) to taste anything other than milk here. If you want to make it palatable, mix in your whipped cream to the drink to give it some flavor.

16. Coffee

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

I get that the Coffee Frappuccino was one of Starbucks’ debut flavors but, does anyone actually order this drink? I ask that because when I ordered one I was met with the longest pause to ever occur in a busy Starbucks drive-thru. I imagine the conversation between two baristas went something like this:

“This guy is asking for a coffee Frappuccino?”

“What flavor though?”

“He just said ‘coffee…’ do we have that?”

“Yea, we have an Espresso flavor?”

“Sir, did you mean an Espresso Frappuccino?” the barista finally asked over the crackling speaker.

“No, Coffee flavored please.”

“… well, hold let me ask the manager.”

Anyway, this flavor tastes like a botched Frappuccino. Like the barista forgot to add the flavor. It’s still sweet, in fact, it’s sweetened with what Starbucks calls “Frappuccino Roast Syrup,” but it tastes… incomplete.

Who Is It For?

No one. I’d like to see some hard numbers from Starbucks about how many of these they actually sell.

The Bottom Line:

Imagine what a 7/11 coffee Slurpee might taste like and you’re in the ballpark of this thing.

15. Double Chocolatey Chip

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

It’s like slightly thick chocolate milk with tiny granules of sweet blended chocolate-covered espresso beans. It doesn’t have the luxurious consistency of a milkshake — it’s airier and icey — but flavor-wise it’s in the ballpark. There isn’t a lot to like about this drink, but we can’t say we dislike it either. It’s middling and probably only exists because Starbucks has the ingredients for it.

Who Is It For?

Kids.

The Bottom Line:

It’s like really cold poorly mixed Nesquik.

14. Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crème

Frap Frank
Starbucks

Tasting Notes:

It’s a step up from the Double Chocolaty Chip Crème thanks to the chocolate cookie crumble mixed in and on top of the whipped cream. But the flavor is still the same, it’s just chocolate milk.

Who Is It For?

People who like their Nesquik chunky.

The Bottom Line:

Starbucks’ best chocolate-based non-coffee blended beverage. Which isn’t saying a whole lot.

13. Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème

Frap Frank
Starbucks

Tasting Notes:

Despite having three different sources of caramel here (caramel syrup, dark caramel sauce, and crunchy caramel sugar) there is something noticeably lacking about this flavor. It tastes like caramel, but it’s lacking something that pulls the different iterations of the flavor together, leaving each sip tasting like it’s missing something.

Even a simple drizzle of chocolate sauce around the cup might be enough to make these different caramel notes taste distinct from one another.

Who Is It For?

Parents to give to their kids so that they can feel included in the Starbucks run.

The Bottom Line:

It’s the same price as the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino with coffee, but tastes significantly worse, and uses fewer ingredients.

In other words, a rip-off.

12. White Chocolate Crème

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

If you tasted the White Chocolate Crème Frappuccino without knowing what it was, you’d just think it was vanilla bean. It doesn’t really have that chalky light chocolate taste characteristic of white chocolate, it tastes heavy on the vanilla notes with a mostly creamy body and finish.

White chocolate vanilla fans are probably fuming but before you come for me in the comments let me just say that yes, I do know that white chocolate is made by mixing cocoa butter with sugar, milk solids, and vanilla. So white chocolate should taste somewhat like vanilla in the first place, but this straight-up comes across like vanilla soft serve. No cocoa to be found!

Who Is It For?

Confusingly, this is the coffee-free blended drink you should order if you want something that tastes like vanilla. Not the Vanilla Bean.

The Bottom Line:

It’s Starbucks’ best vanilla-flavored coffee-free drink. But if you love White Chocolate, you’d be better served by ordering one of Starbucks’ white chocolate iced coffees, which for whatever reason, deliver more on that white chocolate promise.

11. Strawberry Crème

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

In 2018, Starbucks changed its Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino to the Strawberry Crème flavor. It’s the sort of menu change that only fans of the OG noticed, if you have no interest in this drink you probably don’t even know they changed it. For those who did notice, this much is clear — that change was for the worse.

This thing used to taste sweet, creamy, and decadent, like a strawberry shake, now it’s much more tart (so Starbucks could include ribbons of strawberry syrup, which end up separating from the drink and make it generally more watery) less creamy, and more refreshing than it is indulgent. It can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be a smoothie or a milkshake and as a result, doesn’t succeed at being either.

Who Is It For?

It’s a slap in the face to fans of the original.

The Bottom Line:

It tastes halfway between a strawberry milkshake (creamy and sweet) and a strawberry smoothie (tart and light), which is to say — it sucks.

10. Caffè Vanilla

Frap Frank
Starbucks

Tasting Notes:

It’s the weakest of the main three Frappuccino flavors. Sweet vanilla bean notes dominate with a floral character on the backend and the subtlest notes of toffee and brown sugar on the aftertaste. It tastes good, but it hardly comes across as tasting like coffee, which is a problem if you actually like coffee.

Who Is It For?

People who don’t like flavors that stray away from sweetness, coffee included.

The Bottom Line:

Tasty, delicious even, but lacking in coffee flavor. It’s another Starbucks drink that is in desperate need of a shot of espresso.

9. Mocha

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

It’s the drink that started it all — we’re assuming it was the Mocha Frappuccino that first captured the public’s imagination, not the boring Coffee Frappuccino flavor that debuted alongside it — and for that reason alone we think it deserves permanent menu status, even though Starbucks has since reiterated upon this flavor to much better results.

The mocha has a rich milk chocolate flavor that pairs excellently with whipped cream. There isn’t a lot to it, though — it’s good but not great.

Who Is It For?

People who love chocolate-flavored coffee drinks but hate texture (more on this later).

The Bottom Line:

It’s never going to leave the menu and that’s okay with us. Still, you should never bother ordering it.

8. Espresso

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

I think what bothers me most about the Coffee Frappuccino is that in addition to it tasting like a drink that’s missing ingredients, it’s totally redundant because of the similar, but much better, Espresso Frappuccino.

The Espresso Frappuccino is the Coffee Frappuccino, only it has an added shot of espresso which makes all of the difference. Not only does this frap deliver a strong kick of caffeine, it has much more pronounced coffee flavors imparting a toffee-like body with a distinct roasted after taste. It actually has layers of flavor.

The Coffee Frappuccino is missing ingredients and it turns out that ingredient is espresso.

Who Is It For?

Espresso fiends on a hot day and people who don’t like the overly sweetened flavors of the average Frappuccino.

The Bottom Line:

When you want that bitter kick of espresso in a more palatable sweetened and frozen form, this is the best Frappuccino on the menu.

7. Caramel

Frap Frank
Starbucks

Tasting Notes:

If people weren’t convinced of the power of the Frappuccino when it first launched in the mid 90s, then by the time the Caramel Frappuccino was added to the menu, it was clear that the word (and drink) “Frappuccino” was here to stay, forever a part of the American cultural canon.

As a drink, this still tastes remarkably solid. It’s creamy, with a sweet vanilla and buttery caramel flavor, accentuated by ribbons of caramel right on the cup that slowly leeches into your frappe for a bit of extra flavor. The more you drink it the more it disturbs the caramel and the better it tastes.

Who Is It For?

People who want something a little bit different than chocolate or vanilla, but not so different that it makes you miss either of those flavors. It’s the Lawry’s season to chocolate and vanilla’s salt and pepper.

The Bottom Line:

At one point it was probably Starbucks’ most interesting drink. In 2022, it’s still good, if a little played out.

6. Java Chip

Frap Frank
Starbucks

Tasting Notes:

You get double the chocolate notes here, rich roasted chocolate tones with sweeter bursts of chocolate flavor via the blended chocolate chips, with a nice robust roasted coffee finish. It’s good and a significant improvement over the coffee-free version but unfortunately a much better iteration of this drink now exists, so this one will have to live closer tot he middle of our ranking.

Who Is It For?

Chocoholics.

The Bottom Line:

If you love chocolate, this drink does not disappoint.

5. Chai Crème

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

Cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla forward, like drinkable Christmas. That said, it doesn’t have any of the earthy, nutty, or bold qualities of black tea like chai should and that’s kind of a letdown if you love the spicy journey of flavors characteristic of a good chai tea.

Luckily, adding a single shot of espresso gets you sort of in that ballpark. It adds some bitterness and muddies the vanilla a bit, giving the overall drink a more complex and robust flavor. As is, this is a bit too sweet for its own good.

Who Is It For?

Fans of milk tea and people who want to pretend it’s Christmas in June.

The Bottom Line:

Add a shot of espresso and you have a way better tasting drink.

4. White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

I can’t for the life of me figure out why Starbucks’ White Chocolate drinks with coffee taste more like actual white chocolate than the coffee-free crème based varieties, but they do. The only thing differentiating this drink from the crème version is the inclusion of a coffee base, and yet it has more pronounced cocoa notes and an overall chalky mouthfeel that is characteristic of white chocolate.

Having said that, it doesn’t really taste all that much like coffee so if you want to fix this drink, add a shot of espresso.

Who Is It For?

People who want a great tasting blended white chocolate drink, whether they like coffee or not.

The Bottom Line:

White Chocolate isn’t everyone’s vibe, but if you like it, this is very very solid.

3. Matcha Crème

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

I feel really conflicted over this drink. On the one hand, I really do feel like it’s Starbucks’ best-tasting Frappuccino. It’s grassy, sweet, and even a bit creamy, but as a fan of Matcha… this is a far cry.

I realize that a lot of matcha-based drinks on the market lean on the people-pleasing sweet side. Ordering a matcha smoothie, latte, or milk tea will rarely get you something that truly captures the delicate and complex flavors of good quality matcha, but at least those drinks still taste reminiscent of the ground tea.

Starbucks’ Matcha Creme on the other hand tastes more like some sort of grassy vanilla milkshake than anything resembling the nutty vegetal bittersweet-bordering-on-savory quality of real matcha.

Who Is It For?

People who like milk tea and tea-based lattes and had to compromise because their basic ass friends wanted to go to Starbucks instead of the delicious boba spot or one of the many independent coffee shops that undoubtedly surround you.

The Bottom Line:

It’s Starbucks’ best non-coffee blended drink but if you’re ordering this because you love the flavor of matcha you’re going to be disappointed.

2. Mocha Cookie Crumble

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

The Mocha Cookie Crumble is what the Java Chip should be. It’s the exact same flavor blended with cookie crumbles and topped with whipped cream and an additional dusting of cookie crumbles. Together, the cookie crumbles and blended chocolate chips add a lot of texture to the mouthfeel and even provide a chewable crunch.

If you don’t feel like chewing your drink, you don’t have to, the crumbles will absorb the drink’s base, get soggy and practically dissolve on your tongue if you savor the drink in your mouth for a full second. Not ideal for a person with sensitive teeth but hey, we can’t pander to them — they should have flossed more!

Who Is It For?

Fans of the Java Chip who want something even sweeter.

The Bottom Line:

It’s the evolution of the Java Chip. Cookie crumbles add a crispy mouthfeel to this already textured frappe.

1. Caramel Ribbon Crunch

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

Starbucks took what was once one of their best-selling flavors, tweaked the recipe just a little bit, and managed to actually make something significantly better tasting.

You get three different flavors of caramel here, the familiar buttery and light caramel syrup of the stock Caramel Frappuccino topped with a layer of richer dark caramel sauce, which has molasses undertones, plus a salty crunchy caramel sugar on top of your whipped cream which you should promptly mix into your drink with your straw.

Who Is It For?

People who want to drink Starbucks’ best Frappuccino.

The Bottom Line:

It’s sweet, salty, rich, creamy, and textural. Everything a great Frappuccino should strive to be. If you’re drinking one Frappuccino from Starbucks this year, make it this one.

Find your nearest Starbucks here.

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