The Inventor of the Frappuccino along with an easy recipe

James Patrick
Frappuccino knock-off recipes show that the different ingredients you can use are endless. Only thing that limits you is your imagination.Photo byCredit: Elena Veselova, Shutterstock

Starbucks did not invent the Frappuccino.

Now before Starbucks apologists go crazy let’s look at a little history. According to Wikipedia, coffee houses were first seen in the 15th century. All over the world, they became popular places to hang out, do meetings or share forms of art.

The most famous era in recent history was probably the role it played in the “Beat Generation” or the Beatnik movement of the 50s and 60s. Young people would stay up all night in coffee bars, listening to bands, dancing and often sharing poems and readings. They also discussed politics and were considered the counterculture of it's day. The coffeehouse signified a place where they felt comfortable being happy and not cherishing material things but cherishing moments with one another.
The Original coupons given to customers, especially Harvard Students in 1992 marketing the first FrappuccinoPhoto bycourtesy of George Howell

Starbucks Originally didn’t sell coffee;

According to a USC education page, Starbucks opened in 1971 in Seattle and sold coffee beans, tea and spices. It wasn’t until the early 80’s when Howard Schultz came on board as director of retail and marketing that things really took off. He took a trip to Milan, Italy, and realized the potential of selling coffee due to the popularity of people buying espressos. He then came back and they started their coffee shops and the rest is history.

The Concept:

According to an interview he did on the Today show, George Howell the former owner of the Coffee Connection coffeehouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts explains the history of the Frappuccino. The concept was created by Starbucks but they did not perfect it or name it. In 1989, Howell took a trip to Starbucks in Seattle to explore his trade. "A frozen cappuccino was being made in a granita machine. The second I tasted it, it was just a fantastic, simple drink. I knew it was going to be big."
The fun and passionate George Howell is an expert in coffee and a purist who has mixed emotions about his famous drink.Photo byghowellcoffee instagram page

Howell's tour guide provided the recipe, which consisted of three simple ingredients: "very strong coffee, sugar, and milk." Howell headed home to his coffee house where he and his right-hand man, Andrew Frank, perfected the mix. Frank was the one that coined the name “frappuccino” and people loved it immediately.

Howell tweaked the ingredients and created an amazing drink that didn’t have crystals and had a soft mouth feel almost like ice cream. He used a soft-serve ice cream machine instead of a granita machine. He also insisted that every batch be made fresh.

In the summer of 1992, George Howell distributed coupons for his new frozen drink called the frappuccino. The Coffee Connection in Cambridge, Massachusetts would be the first to ever sell it. The drink was so popular among Harvard students that they would line up out the door to get it.

Some I’m sure are saying then how can Starbucks use the name frappuccino if they didn’t invent it? In 1994 Starbucks bought out the Coffee Connection along with the very important trademark name, frappuccino.

George Howell's Regret:

In past interviews, George Howell has mixed emotions about the frappuccino. He is an old-school coffee purist and he's discouraged at how coffee houses have lost the art of just serving a great cup of coffee. In the below interview he did with, he says how making the frappuccino was not "his life's goal".

Below is a very simple and foundational recipe by Robyn Stone from to make a knock off frappuccino. What makes it fun is that you can add pretty much anything you'd like to make the recipe your own.

Frappuccino Recipe

Frappuccino makes a delicious drink that you can easily make at home! With just four ingredients, and a couple of optional toppings, this frappuccino recipe will be a favorite!5 from 12 votes


  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 1 cup espresso or very strong coffee
  • 3/4 cup half and half or your preferred milk, soy, or almond
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or sugar substitute
  • whipped cream optional
  • chocolate syrup optional


  • Blend together crushed ice, espresso, half and half, and sugar until well-blended. Pour into glass and top with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup, if desired.
  • Serve immediately.

So the next time you get a frozen Starbucks frappuccino, don’t forget to thank an ambitious small business owner George Howell and his great assistant Andrew Frank.

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Writer & Host of The Forum Celebrity Podcast. I conduct Celebrity Interviews and cover Pop Culture & Trending News Stories! I've been a featured guest on several radio shows & podcasts. Twitter: @realjamespat

Fairfield, CA

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