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Organic Homemade Starbucks Frappuccino

Wonder why companies like Starbucks don’t list all their ingredients on their website? How many consumers are really willing to call, email and ask busy baristas about the ingredients? I don’t know too many, and Starbucks is betting on us not to ask. When a company makes a decision to release all their food product ingredients on their website, but not the major portion of their product line – their drinks, you’ve just got to wonder why. Are they purposely trying to hide things?

After repeated visits to Starbucks locations and exchanging several emails, I found out the ingredients of their famous frappuccinos and figured out why they want to make it hard for the consumer to get this information.

Just take a look at the ingredients:

Coffee Frappuccino Syrup: Sugar, Water, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Xanthan Gum (E415), Preservative: Potassium Sorbate (E202), Citric Acid (E330), Caramel Color (E150d)


Light Coffee Frappuccino Syrup: Water, sugar, Erythritol (E968), Natural Flavors, Salt, carrageenan (E407), Xanthan Gum (E415), Maltodextrin, Preservative: Potassium Sorbate (E202), Citric Acid (E330), Reb A, Color: Caramel (E150d, E150b)


Mocha Sauce: Corn Syrup, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Cocoa (processed with alkali 13%), Potassium Sorbate (preservative E202), Artificial Flavor.


Mocha Frappuccino

WATER (ICE), Milk, Coffee flavored Frappuccino Syrup (SUGAR, WATER, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, XANTHAN GUM, POTASSIUM SORBATE [PRESERVATIVE], CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR), Sweetened whip cream (Heavy cream, vanilla flavored syrup (SUGAR, WATER, NATURAL FLAVOR, POTASSIUM SORBATE [PRESERVATIVE], CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR)), Hydrated coffee (water, Frappuccino roast soluble coffee), hydrated mocha powder (Water, Sugar, Cocoa [processed with alkali], artificial flavor).


Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino

WATER (ICE), Milk, CRÈME flavored Frappuccino Syrup (WATER, SUGAR, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, XANTHAN GUM, POTASSIUM SORBATE [PRESERVATIVE], CITRIC ACID), DARK CARAMEL SAUCE (SUGAR, LIQUID INVERT SUGAR, WATER, BUTTER (CREAM, SALT), WHIPPING CREAM, SKIM MILK, NATURAL FLAVORS, SALT, SODIUM BICARBONATE), Sweetened whip cream (Heavy cream, vanilla flavored syrup (SUGAR, WATER, NATURAL FLAVOR, POTASSIUM SORBATE [PRESERVATIVE], CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR)), CARAMEL flavored Syrup (SUGAR, WATER, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, POTASSIUM SORBATE [PRESERVATIVE], CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR), caramel sauce (Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Butter (Cream, Salt), Heavy Cream, Water, Non-Fat Dry Milk, Natural Flavors, Mono & Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin), Caramel Sugar (Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Salt, Caramel Color, Annatto Color).


Cinnamon Dolce Crème Frappuccino



Vanilla Macchiato



Hot Chocolate



A Grande Mocha Frappuccino has 60 grams of nutrition-less sugar. But that’s not all. It contains a seriously alarming ingredient called caramel color.

This type of caramel isn’t the stuff you make at home by cooking sugar. The caramel color Starbucks uses is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure which creates carcinogenic compounds. The same caramel that has been proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice. The Center for Science in the Public Interest concluded earlier this year that dangerous levels of caramel coloring in soda could be contributed to thousands of cancers in the US!

2/10/2014 Update from the Consumers Union, they presented this research when reviewing caramel color in sodas:

In 2007, a federal government study concluded that 4-MeI caused cancer in mice and the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined the chemical to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 2011. There’s no federal limit for levels of 4-MeI in foods and beverages, but as of January 7, 2012 California requires manufacturers to label a product sold in the state with a cancer warning if it exposes consumers to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per day. In this case, the exposure comes from consumption.

And if you think you are saving yourself calories from sugar by getting the light version of the Frappuccino, you are replacing that sugar with yet another carcinogen called carrageenan that I’ve discussed before that is linked to intestinal inflammation.

Substances like caramel coloring & carrageenan are slowly poisoning us. Are you willing to take the risk? I am certainly not.

There is good news though. You can actually make a delicious and sweet icy coffee drink just like a frappuccino but with no carcinogens and made from nutritious natural sugars.

Make my Homemade Organic Frappuccino and you’ll never have to go on that Starbucks run again!


Food Babe’s Homemade Organic Frappucino
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 1 and ½ cup coffee
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 10 ice cubes
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend well
***Please buy all organic ingredients***


The best ingredient here is Raw Cacao Powder, one of the highest concentrated antioxidants on earth. The antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, Raw Cacao contains several amino acids that give you an overall sense of well-being, bliss, pleasure and pure happiness. I don’t think any Starbucks Frappuccino can promise that!

Navitas Naturals is my favorite brand of Raw Cacao Powder – check them out.


Food Babe

P.S. Don’t forget to read my whole investigation “Sabotaged at Starbucks” and tell them you don’t want to support Monsanto Milk anymore by visiting their facebook page here. 


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136 responses to “Organic Homemade Starbucks Frappuccino

  1. Thank you so much for all the work you do. It is not easy to find out this stuff, but I know it is so important and vital for us to know in order for us to change and get healthy. I was wondering if you know of any Chai that would be a good alternative to the Starbuck’s Chai latte…not sure if there is one. That is my very favorite beverage. (I know it is full of sugar usually, so there may not be an alternative.)

    1. Actually, it’s honey. Tazo is the one who makes the chai concentrate and there is no crap in it. I was a Barista for three years and I made sure to keep up on the ingredients. As long as you use a safe dairy or alternative (stay away from the soy if you can), you’re golden. If you find you don’t want as much sweet, ask for less of the concentrate.

      It consists of water, black tea, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, sugar and honey, ginger juice, vanilla and citric acid (crystallized lemon juice). I hope I didn’t miss anything.

      Cheers 🙂

      1. However, it’s still rediculously expensive. Sorry Starbucks, but the prices are highway robbery.

    2. I know Tazo makes an organic chai tea bag – this would be a great alternative to use at home. Add your milk of choice and a little honey/coconut palm sugar and viola! A lot less sugar than the SB version. Have fun!

      1. I’ve made my own chai concentrate – it’s inexpensive and delicious.

        After bringing a pot of water to a boil, I steeped tea bags, a chunk of ginger, several cloves, cinnamon stick, and pieces of vanilla pod (I didn’t think of using black pepper or anise). Take out the tea bags after a few minutes. The next thing to go is the ginger after maybe an hour. I leave the rest in for a few hours. Then warm slightly and stir in honey to taste. Store in fridge.

    1. Check the answer above… Also to make your own chai at home it’s super easy. I take one black english tea bag and steep it with 1 tsp grated ginger, 2 cardamon pods and add milk, a little coconut palm sugar to sweeten it and voila!

  2. I am wondering about the carageenan stuff. I just read on Choosing Raw that it is simply raw seaweed and that studies on it actually having any negative attributes are spotty at best. I have read your article on it as well, and you didn’t mention the conflicting research findings. So I’m wondering, how is a person supposed to know? Thanks!

    1. I think I answered your question on Facebook… but again, I stick by the Cornucopia study which is super comprehensive. The amount of people who have told me they have had reactions is alarming to say the least… the weird part about it is that we don’t know what these denatured substances do once they are digested… carrageenan unfortunately isn’t the raw state of the seaweed, it’s processed and refined with alcohol or potassium chloride.

      1. Yes, these two replies definitely helped. Thank you so much dear!

      2. I have a firsthand experience with Carrageenan problems…my son ate a stonyfield farms squeeze yogurt tube every day for a while and kept telling me his tummy hurt and his butt hurt down where he goes…well I read about carrageenan and saw it was in these…i stopped giving them to him and gave just regular yogurt, and he hasnt complained since! poor guy!

  3. To add insult to injury, people pay decent money for these “gourmet” drinks. Yet because they may actually taste good (can’t say personally) I wonder how many people would even care about the contents. I run into too many people for whom such revelations don’t even raise a brow.

  4. i just made the drink for an afternoon treat. the taste was great, but the consistency was not. do you have any tips? it might just be my blender, but i do have a good one. thanks!

      1. super! thanks for the tip! i did that and i used crushed ice instead. so yummy!! thanks!!!

  5. I came home from a day at the pool with my 2 daughters & saw this recipe, perfect timing! I made it right away & it totally hit the spot! I used unsweetened coconut milk instead of the almond milk and regular cocoa powder, but I will have to look into the raw one you mentioned. Thank you, it is SO yummy & blended together perfectly! The frozen banana really made it super creamy & smooth. I made my daughters the same thing, but no coffee & extra coconut milk, they LOVED it too! Thank you for all the great research you did on Starbucks, I never get frappucino’s anyway, but I was wondering about those refreshers, now i know I won’t be getting one!

      1. How about also using liquid Stevia (NON Alcoholic brand) in place of the dates?

      2. Just watch ALL of the milk/dairy replacements; there are VERY FEW that do NOT contain Carrageenan. If they are flavored and sweetened, they ALL contain Carrageenan. Very few Organic ones, either.

  6. Homemade Organic Frappuccino without pesticides, carcinogens and refined sugars? Sorry to disappoint you, but (1) also in organics certain pesticides are used, incl. a limited range of synthetic ones, (2) in organics carcinogens like mycotoxins are found at higher levels than in conventional produce (because the pesticides that can be used are not so effective and on organic produce fungi infestations occur more easily), and (3) refined sugars are just empty calories, so they do not really bring any benefits but as long as your diet is balanced and you don’t eat too much it doesn’t do any harm, either. But feel free to disregard this information and continue to peddle ***all organic ingredients*** if it makes you feel happy or a better person… This is a free country. (I do not go to Starbucks very often but if people like it…)

    1. Jack, enjoy your McCoffee from your desk at Monsanto’s while we all embrace a healthier America. Keep up the good work Food Babe!

      1. @Bob: I wrote that my post can be disregarded if it makes people feel uneasy… But now that you brought such a powerful argument as an obviously unfounded claim that I work for Monsanto, I must admit that you won, you simply must be right! I’m overwhelmed by the logic of your reasoning and awestruck in the face of your brilliant intellect. Or does this simply reflect upon your own personality that apparently you yourself can be bought that easily?! Or do you suggest that Food Babe works for Whole Foods or may have any commercial interest in this organics business?! As for myself, I’m working in the public sector, no commercial links or conflicts of interest on my side. (This is not me, but a good blog entry on your argument nevertheless: )

      2. @Jack Do you propose a solution? The problem is we are ingesting nominal amounts of chemicals in almost everything. Hmm…add it all up at the end of the day and now I have eaten the equivalent of a meal of pesticides in a day. Taking the ‘in moderation’ approach doesnt work anymore. It’s killing us softly in the form of cancers and autoimmune diseases. We need people like Food Babe and we need to spend more time trying to discredit the powers that be who are poisoning us rather than the truth seekers who are on our side. Cheers.

    2. Thanks for wasting your time… In fact I think Food Babe’s website can also be disregarded if it makes YOU feel uneasy. Pretty sure she isn’t going anywhere, and for that I am very grateful.

      Peace & blessings.

      1. Nope. Not going anywhere. And I’m just getting started 🙂

        Thanks Mary Beth!

  7. Love your blog! Completely and utterly shocked that the oatmeal still has all that junk in it…gross. That just blows my mind and another reason I love people like you who research and inform us all. I will now pack my own oatmeal when traveling to guarantee that its 100% rolled oats! Thanks again! 🙂

  8. How well would with work without the cacao,( I cant eat chocolate at all unless I feel like having hives for a week )?

    1. Probably great – I would try it! Also if you like other flavors like mint, you could use mint extract, or vanilla extract would be nice too! Good Luck.

      1. Foodbabe, honestly, why is it you feel so comfortable commenting on things you clearly have no idea of. You do a complete disservice to the mindless zombies that hang on your every word. Pathetic!

      2. Bruce- before you lump everyone into the mindless zombie category, did it ever occur to you that those of us “hanging on” Vani’s every word have been doing our own research? I look up any food/company/product that I’m interested in, read endless reviews, talk to friends, and take all that I’ve learned into consideration. This is key. I’m glad that Vani does all this and puts it out there for everyone, but this doesn’t mean I won’t stop looking into things on my own- and I’m sure there are others out there who do the same.

  9. Dear Vani,

    What a great website! SO cool that you are working with 100 Days too — another awesome site! I love your visuals, like the way you showed the ingredients for this recipe, and the way you showed the unhealthy Starbucks ingredients in an image! You have a bunch of delicious looking recipes here that I want to try! You probably saw my comment over on Lisa’s blog, but anyway, to say it again, your research and attention to detail is very impressive! The time you must spend on your posts! Thank you! I do not exclusively eat organically, but I admire the dedication you put into what you’re eating to maintain such a diet. I will be frequenting your blog for sure! Keep up the good work! Oh, and I thought I would show you the post I did after reading your Starbucks post — I was so excited about those darn refreshers, and the ingredients list is so depressing! At least I know 🙂 Thanks again and have a great weekend!!

    Colleen Grossner Here is the post:

    1. Colleen – This is great! Thank you so much for sharing with me. I am always glad to have someone like yourself with high qualifications following along.

      Those refreshers make me so mad, I tell ya!

      Take Care!

      1. Hi! Thank you so much for what you said — made my day! I just left a post on one of your posts from Koh Samui — I CAN’T believe we both went there!! So far across the world! What an amazing experience! You are so lucky to travel so much! Thanks for sharing all of your detailed research! Also, I love your new years habits posts! Good night, Vani!

    1. Not all real fruit. White grape concentrate is the main ingredient in the “puree.” Also in their chocolate smoothies they use mocha sauce that contains high fructose corn syrup. I don’t think any of their smoothies are worth consuming.

      Good Luck!

  10. Hi Food Babe!
    Poor Starbucks – just goes to show you about everything can be corrupted. I am not at all surprised though. I haven’t watched the special about the “natural flavoring” yet but I plan to. I have been following Lisa’s blog 100 Days for a while now and love it, and thanks to her featuring you I will now keep track of what you are up to. And here’s a huge shout out to being Democrat! Woo-hoo!!!

    Thanks for the research you do and possessing the computer skills to put this stuff out there. We are a very political family and believe strongly in voting, including with our food dollars. When my family gathers we all sit around sharing the latest we’ve learned about how disgusting and depressing the US food industry is getting. Beaver Butt Juice aka natural flavoring is our latest gross out 🙂

    Since I’ve gotten serious about eliminating the crap from mine and my 14 year old son’s diet I’ve noticed an inability to properly digest food I don’t make myself. I have a severe tree nut allergy so the real food transition began a while ago but it’s just getting more and more intense. I probably have the only teenage boy who gets pissed at the number of foods with HFCS and/or natural flavoring in them. Cracks. Me. Up.

    Thanks for all you do – looking forward to following you!


  11. How disappointing that it’s impossible to go to a restaurant and eat real food. The options are few and far between…makes me sad!
    Can you tell me what brand of almond milk you use, or do you make your own? I’m kinda new to this blog so if you’ve discussed this in the past, sorry!
    thanks 🙂

  12. I read your recent post about starbucks and this article as well and as an avid coffee drinker I am very alarmed! Could you recommend a brand of coffee that doesn’t have as many harmful pestacides as the Starbucks brand?

  13. The mocha powder actually does not contain any kind of corn syrup. It is sweetened with sugar only. I work at Starbucks and make it all the time. I’m also not denying that this stuff is bad for you.. it definitely is. but I at least want it to be represented truthfully.

  14. This recipe is so good, and it’s become my daily afternoon treat. Almond milk and dates weren’t even on my radar until reading your blog. I did make a few modifications for a thicker 1 portion smoothie. I use 1 cup of the vanilla almond milk, 2 teaspoons of organic instant coffee (Mount Hagen), 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of cacao powder, 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs, 1 frozen banana, 2 dates, and 5 or 6 ice cubes.

  15. I’m not a fan of dates or raisin tasting things. What could I sub for them or can I just leave them out? I’ve seen loads and loads of “healthy chocolate snacks” that have tons of dates in them. But to me it taste like eating a big handful of raisins and called it a brownie? I get my chocolate fix with some organic chocolate bars with almond pieces in it but would love to make this for those hot texas days!

  16. Food Babe~~I left a praise report here earlier about giving me reasons to give up Star Bucks. I am back to ask if you have done any research about Bolt House drinks, in particular: Mocha Cappuccino? The questionable ingredient that I notice is: Dipotassium Phosphate…and others.
    Thanks for al your hard & diligent work♥

  17. I am surprised buy what is in the fraps… I have been a big fan of Starbucks fraps. and I was excited to see your recipe.. but I am allergic to bananas and nuts.. is there a substitute for those ingredients?

  18. Love your posts! I am not a fan of bananas, any recommendations for altering the recipe?

    1. The banana is hard to replace in this recipe – it gives it some sweetness and thickens it. I think you should try it – it is not going to taste much like banana. If not, you could add a few more dates or another sweetener of your choice and leave out the banana. Good luck!

      1. Also, another post above used Chia seeds for thickness, and Liquid Stevia (NON Alcohol) could replace the banana, although you won’t taste banana in this.

      2. Thanks for the idea! I asked the same question and had initially missed this response!

  19. Hi!,, if I were to make a few cups to keep in freezer how many days would you recommend? I love my iced and frap coffees and have everyday. Love your website!

    1. Hi Viv- I think it would be fine in the freezer for several weeks at least but it may freeze solid. You will probably have to let it thaw out some. It could change the texture. I would let it thaw a little and they try putting it back in the blender to get a good texture back. (maybe add a couple more ice cubes) That is how I do it with leftover smoothies.

  20. Do you know if this is true of their non-coffee frappucinos as well? I.e. vanilla bean, strawberries n cream, chocolate chip….

    1. I would bet they are all terrible but we encourage you to contact Starbucks and ask for a list of their ingredients for specific products.

  21. Wow tried this drink this morning without the dates and it definitely needed sweetener! Love the idea of it though…organic dried pitted dates are hard to find in our little town…but I will keep looking and ask for someone to order it if I cannot locate it. Who knew these would be hard to find! 🙂

  22. This looks good but unfortunatey I dont have dates. Could I replace them with raisins? If so, how many?

    1. Raisins should work fine. I think about 2 heaping tablespoons would equal 2 dates. Let us know how it turns out.

  23. Hi, love your site!!! But did you know there is ” natural flavors” in almond milk? Which almond and coconut milk do you suggest?
    Thanks so much 🙂
    Best Regards,

  24. what brand of coffee do you recommend and what should I look for. I usually drink Spanish coffee “bustelo” which has expresso so something similar would be great!!

    thanks for all you do.

  25. We have developed communication networks to the point where billions of people can communicate
    knowledge to billions of other people. Any kind of teaa – green tea, black tea, oolong
    tea, they all are effective for weight control as long as
    they are not taken without any sugawr or cream.
    Froom a study in China, one of tthe world’s best tea plantation, found that a dailyy consumption of
    a cup of tea, either the Black or Green tea, during a 6-month
    period can reduce risk of lung cancer, gastronomic diseases, liver annd skin cancer.

  26. I hear about coconut oil so much but isn’t that really full of Sat. fat?
    What is the best oil to cook with, Bake With?

    1. Avocado, the taste doesn’t show up as much as the bananas, but you still get the creaminess

  27. Shouldn’t coffee be one of the ingredients in their fraps? That is what I was more alarmed of!

  28. I swear you must have been listening to my conversation with my husband this weekend about finding a way to make this drink in a healthier way. Thank you a million times over for finding a better way to enjoy my once sinful joy. I love your site and keep up the fight!

  29. I probably would substitute brewed espresso for the coffee to give it that rich coffee flavor.

  30. This is a great substitute. Not only is Starbucks drinks poison they’re highly addictive. I would love suggestions to replace the almond milk. My daughter is peanut/tree nut allergic so any nut derived milk alternatives and coconut milk are out in my house. Thanks!!

  31. I have been making a very similar recipe for a few years now. I use coconut milk instead of almond milk and a tsp of stevia instead of dates. Yummy!

  32. So yummy! And getting me through my finals this morning :))

    I strive to be as informed as possible on health and nutrition and can only hope that when I speak to people about what to consume and what not to I am as clear and convincing as you!

    You’re rad!

  33. Anything to use instead of dates? They make me itch, literally I feel like I am being poked all over and get itchy.

  34. This is great!! Thank you FB 🙂
    But…the mocha is made from a powder (mixed with water) and it contains…

    Sugar, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Chocolate Liquor, Potassium Sorbate, Vanillin. Water is added to make the syrup.

    no HFCS in that stuff!

  35. A heads up about SUGAR. If it is not listed as ‘cane sugar’ it can be beet sugar which is no doubt GMO. I found this out when I contacted Nestle about their “Outshine” fruit bars. They said that their sugar could be cane or beet, they did not know which. A word to the wise, as they say.

  36. This sounds great as far as drinks go but is there a way to get the creaminess without the banana? I love bananas (in fact have a frozen one ready to go in this morning) for what they bring but the taste is so strong it overpowers everything else and no longer tastes like a coffee drink.

  37. Recipe sound great, can’t wait to try it! I’m just wondering why you are still promoting Nutiva Natural Cocoa Powder after it was found to contain very high levels of the heavy metal Cadmium. I won’t be using this brand any more.

  38. I appreciate all the work you do. I am wondering if there is a list you have of the most important ingredients that are bad. It’s confusing when you’re at a store reading a label and see so many ingredients to know which ones are the worst. It would be helpful to have a purse list to refer to on the go!

    1. I would love this too and have wondered so many times if such a thing exists. Thanks for asking!

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