So, I’ve been working on making a homemade Starbucks style mocha Frappuccino, and I’ve finally hit on a winning recipe, with some help from my kid!
Cons of Starbucks frappuccino
Last summer I kind of fell in love with these frosty Starbucks drinks, but they have some major cons, such as…
- Not organic. Starbucks doesn’t use organic milk – regular or soy. They do sell drinks made with hormone-free milk, which is a plus, but no organic.
- Not Fair Trade. Starbucks has a Fair Trade policy, but it’s not across the board and it’s not an official certification from what I can tell. They’ve improved, buying more Fair Trade coffee over time, but they could do much better.
- The cost. Starbucks is expensive, as is any coffee place over homemade drinks at your place.
- The time. I hate having to drive to go get coffee. It’s a pain. I’d rather make coffee at home.
- The waste. Starbucks has quite a few green policies in place, so that’s nice. However, most people I know still get toss and go cups when they head out for coffee. It’s too bad because Starbucks sells some excellent reusable cups. We have a bunch at my house, my favorite being this one but I wish I had the stainless steel one as it’s BPA-free and mine (who knows). Still, although I use a reusable cup, I don’t like to support coffee houses much as they do produce a lot of waste.
Trial and error of my homemade frappuccino
Anyhow, there are plenty of reasons to make a homemade frap at home. My homemade organic mocha Frappuccino recipe has taken some trial and error though.
I tried making it with water ice cubes – mixed in with different amounts of milk, chocolate and coffee, and came up with some duds. Mostly my first tries were too watery, had too much coffee flavor or were WAY too foamy.
Now I’ve perfected my recipe, due to solving one very important piece of the recipe puzzle. My son, who was watching me try out different ideas suggested that I should freeze my milk and coffee and use those as the ice, not water ice. Ah, I catch on quick.
Prep-work for your homemade frappuccino
Suitable for: vegetarian or vegan, depending on your milk and chocolate choices
Makes about: two cups of frappuccino or two 1 cup servings
Taste: A light coffee flavor with a touch of chocolate goodness whipped up all frosty and smooth. I think mine tastes really close to the real deal – if you’ve had a Starbucks frap this will give you a comparison. If you haven’t had a frap, the only other thing I can compare it to is maybe a Frosty from Wendy’s (I haven’t had one in about 7 years – but I remember them). These are like a chocolate Frosty but a bit more icy, and a little less thick.
Before you get started: You need to freeze your milk and coffee. Make a pot of strong coffee or brew espresso if you like. Allow it to cool. Pour the coffee into regular old ice cube trays and freeze. Also make some milk cubes. I want a vegan drink, so I use soy milk, but you can use regular milk too or a different alternative milk (oat, almond, hemp, etc). Once you have your ice cubes, pop them out and store them in a container in your freezer – as shown above, I mixed mine in the same container, because they’re all gonna end up in the same blender anyhow.
- 12 organic milk ice cubes
- 1/2 cup liquid organic milk
- 3 Fair Trade, organic coffee ice cubes
- 2 tablespoons organic vegan chocolate syrup
Making your homemade organic mocha drink
If you have a super powerful blender, add everything all at once, and pulsate to crush the ice up some. Once you can’t hear the ice cubes bouncing around anymore, blend until smooth.
If you have a less powerful blender, like I have, don’t add all the ice cubes at once. Add about 1/2 of the ice cubes plus all the liquid milk and the chocolate and then pulsate to crush the ice up some. Once the ice cubes seem pretty crunched up, add the rest of the ice cubes and repeat until they’re all crushed then blend until smooth.
Calories and nutrition in this drink…
Technically, Starbucks fraps aren’t that bad calorie wise. A one cup serving of a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino made with soy milk and no whip cream, has about 140 calories. Below are the homemade versions:
- Made vegan with alternative milk: 80 – 145 calories per 1 cup serving, depending on type of milk
- Made with cow’s milk (2%): 182 calories per 1 cup serving
- Made with cow’s milk (skim): 131 calories per 1 cup serving
Nutrition wise, you’re better off with homemade though. If you make your homemade drink with soy milk (I use organic, plain, unsweetened) you get a lot more potassium, protein, vitamin A, iron, vitamin D, folate and more. Not to mention, your homemade drink, if made with a good soy milk will have a lot more calcium. For instance, 8 ounces of a Starbucks frap, made with soy milk offers about 7.5% of your daily value of calcium. My homemade one offers 30% of your daily calcium needs.
Costs vs. costs – homemade is the clear winner
Starbucks is crazy expensive, which isn’t really different from any other coffee place. They don’t have an 8oz frap on their menu, but a 16 oz mocha frap at Starbucks will run you $4.25 or $2.16 for an 8 oz serving.
Where they really kill you is with vegan drinks. Starbucks charges an extra $0.60 if you want soy milk instead of cow’s milk. Which brings an 8 oz serving up to $2.42.
The cost of a homemade vegan frap?: About $0.78 per 8 oz serving. AND keep in mind that I used top of the line pricing that figures you’ll use Fair Trade, organic coffee plus 100% organic chocolate and milk. AND I didn’t figure in coffee, milk or chocolate sold on sale. I used full, normal prices.
You could lower the cost of this drink even more by getting ingredients on sale or by making your own homemade vegan chocolate sauce. If you make this drink with organic cow’s milk, it’ll still be around $0.80 per 8 oz serving, so long as you get organic milk on sale.
If you factor in gas to drive to the coffee shop every day, you’ll save even more money.
Long-term savings are substantial too. Say you hit the coffee shop 3 times a week all summer long with a friend (so you can split that 16 oz frap). It’ll run you $87.12 for all those vegan drinks. If you make the same amount of drinks at home, you’ll save $59.04. I know people who get these every week all year long too. If this was you the savings would really add up.
- For kiddos or pregnant women – leave out the coffee. My son LOVES non-caffeine mocha fraps.
- For coffee flavor, but no caffeine, use decaf coffee.
- To make this more coffee flavored, simply add more coffee cubes without increasing the milk cubes used.
- Omit the chocolate syrup and try mint syrup, raspberry syrup, vanilla syrup or coconut instead.
- To make a fruit frap, freeze up some fruit cubes. For example, strawberry – blend fresh strawberries to a puree in the blender. Freeze in ice cube trays, then use in place of the coffee cubes. In this case, omit the chocolate and add a tablespoon or two of a sweetener (organic agave, organic honey or organic granulated sugar).
- For a decadent treat, add in a few organic chocolate oreo-type cookies.
- To make a green tea frap, freeze green tea cubes and use in place of coffee.