I'm trying to recreate a Starbucks caramel coffee frappuccino, but it's coming out awfully watery. I've watched them make it and here is what they do, as far as I can tell:

  • half fill the blender container with ice
  • pour milk on up to half the level of the ice
  • add some (hard to see how much exactly) coffee from a tank labelled "frap", which I assume is just regular cooled coffee
  • add some squirts of caramel syrup
  • blend.

Yum, delicious. But when I do this, I get a very watery result which is not thick and creamy like theirs. How can I improve it?

  • 1
    Is your blender and ice the same size? You might be putting a higher ratio of ice if you're going by eyeball measurements on a different machine Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 12:31
  • 8
    The tank labeled "frap" likely does not contain typical coffee, but something closer to a coffee syrup. It is probably more viscous than actual water. May I suggest ice cubes made of coffee? Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 12:32
  • @Yamikuronue, my blender is a different shape / size so it is possible I'm eyeballing it wrong. Do you think if I'm putting more ice in than they do, it would give the more watery result, even though the ice hasn't had time to melt yet?
    – Vicky
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 12:47
  • 1
    @AdeleC, ah, I could be wrong in my assumption about the "frap" tank, yes. Coffee ice cubes is a good idea, thanks.
    – Vicky
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 12:48
  • 1
    @Vicky Some of the ice will melt due to friction in the blender, so that might very well do it. It's probably a combination of both assumptions (weaker coffee and more ice) Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 13:20

8 Answers 8


Aside from ingredients, you should also consider the blender. I don't know what brand of blenders Starbucks uses, but they're clearly something that's a) heavy duty and b) high speed. Blending the drink at very high speed may result in much smaller bits of ice and a drink that seems smoother than what you can produce with a consumer blender.

  • Good point - my ice was not quite as well "ground" as theirs, although it was close.
    – Vicky
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 20:00
  • 1
    Having just bought a new blender, I would agree that the biggest difference is the power of the blender. The slower powered blenders move the stuff around too much without breaking it up, giving it more time to melt. I've made a bunch of slush type drinks since getting my new blender and already have a bunch better (less watery) texture.
    – talon8
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 14:17

Aha, the article and comments on this site: http://www.squawkfox.com/2011/06/16/frappuccino-recipe/ suggest using double-strength coffee and (the secret ingredient) adding a pinch of xanthan gum. I might have to see if I can get that anywhere!


I agree that they probably use a thickener. Xanthan is a thickener which is commonly used in processed food, and you can try it. (Don't bother searching for it in supermarkets, I get it over Amazon marketplace). But for a better mouthfeel and aroma performance, I would explore a starch-thickened variant first. Adding a very small amount of starch slurry to the just-brewed coffee and waiting for it to blubb should do the trick, but you have to see if the coffee doesn't get bitter due to the prolonged heating; if it does, you will probably need a two-step process.

  • Thanks for the hint! When you say "starch slurry", do you mean like cornflour mixed with a little water, or something else?
    – Vicky
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 16:27
  • Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Use small amounts only, maybe 1% to 3% (pudding uses 10%).
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 16:51
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    @rumtscho Although you may be on to something...Puddaccino?
    – JoeFish
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 18:53
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    @JoeFish I haven't tried coffee using starch or other thickeners, but hot cocoa with starch added is good. And it shouldn't be made as thick as pudding.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 19:21

Xanthan gum gives good results.

Here is a recipe from Squawkfox

> Frappuccino ingredients: makes 2.5 cups (590 mL)
> 1 cup    double-strength Starbucks coffee 
>          OR 3/4 cup fresh espresso (cold) 
> 3/4 cup  milk (low fat, 2%, whole or whatever) 
> 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (or to taste) 
> 2 cups ice 
> Pinch of xanthan gum OR 1 teaspoon dry pectin (keeps Frapp from separating)

Put all in a blender and blend.


2 tablespoons of a non-flavored pudding powder works fantastically. I actually think that Starbucks might use that (a friend who works at Starbucks told me to try using the pudding powder).

  • What do you mean by 'non-flavored'? Vanilla?
    – Mien
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 16:50

I was able to recreate pretty closely a coffee frappacino light by making strong coffee ice cubes and blending in my lowly Oster using Land O Lakes nonfat half and half. It just took a lot longer than their 10 seconds in their Belndtec blender but it tastes pretty close and is delicious.


Starbucks actually uses a coffee/cream base for their frappes to make them blend smoothly. It tastes really sweet though.

  • Hi, welcome to SA and thank you for your contribution! Check out the tour and Help center if you get a chance. I think this answer could be greatly improved by giving some source for your info about Starbucks, as well as perhaps a way to replicate this at home.
    – LSchoon
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 7:48

I have made good frappes using vanilla ice cream for half of the milk. I add 3 tablespoons of Hershey's Dark Cocoa for the chocolate. A little maple syrup adds sweetness. Add coffee and ice and blend away! Chocolate ice cream might work as well. I use a Ninja 900 for the blender.

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