What It Means To Order An Affogato-Style Frappuccino At Starbucks

When Starbucks introduced its now-iconic Frappuccino beverages in 1995, they were available in two flavors: coffee and mocha. Today, countless variations have come and gone, and customers can even order their own custom Fraps, leading to over 36,000(!) ways to make these frozen drinks. The chain's menu has seen flavors like white chocolate, matcha, strawberry, and even the (in)famous Unicorn Frappuccino, a vanilla crème Frappuccino with pink and blue sour powders, mango syrup, and not a drop of coffee. 

Fortunately, for the java lovers out there, there's an easy way to return a Frappuccino to its coffee-based roots. You can add a strong boost of coffee flavor and caffeine to any Frap by asking for it affogato-style. You may already know about Italian affogato, a sweet treat of vanilla gelato or ice cream drowned in freshly-brewed espresso. The two ingredients melt together to make a deliciously strong and creamy confection that is just as much of a beverage as it is a dessert. 

The same idea applies to an affogato-inspired Frappuccino: Order a Frap of your choice, asking your barista to make it affogato-style, and they will pour a shot of espresso over your drink, which you can stir in thoroughly or allow to melt down into your drink. Whether you need a caffeine kick or just want the flavor of a bold espresso to cut the sweetness, it's a tasty way to customize your Frap and take advantage of what Starbucks is really famous for: coffee.

How affogatos inspired Frappuccinos

Affogato-style Frappuccinos got their start as a specially-featured menu item. In the summer of 2016, Starbucks released the affogato-style drinks in three flavors: Vanilla Bean, Caramel, and Mocha. While these options are no longer written out on the chain's menu, it's a style you can still ask for any time. An affogato-style twist plays deliciously with several Frappuccino favorites, such as Pistachio Crème, White Chocolate Crème, Java Chip, and Sugar Cookie Almondmilk.

What makes this ordering option even more fitting is the fact that affogatos inspired Frappuccinos in the first place. While the exact origin of the affogato is disputed, it gained popularity in Italy in the 1950s, when ice cream became easier to make and store en masse. It is still a beloved dessert in the European country, but not wildly popular in countries such as United States. 

However, in 1992, inventor George Howell is said to have made the first frappuccinos in an effort to create a drink reminiscent of the affogato. He essentially blended ice cream and coffee into a milkshake, as a sort of mixed-up version of the dessert. In 1994, Starbucks purchased a coffee chain owned by Howell, along with his recipes, including the soon-to-be-famous Frappuccino (copyrighted with a capital "F" by Starbucks).

Shots all around

If you can't get enough of that affogato flavor, you can savor it in more ways than a Frappuccino. Thinking beyond what's available at Starbucks, you can float a shot of espresso on top of any flavor of milkshake, like cookies and cream or coffee. In the morning, blend up a protein-packed peanut butter and banana smoothie and top it off with a shot of espresso, creating a treat that's like a filling smoothie and your morning cup of joe all in one.

Grown-ups can float more than just plain espresso on their shakes and Fraps. Take a cue from another Italian classic, the caffe corretto, and add a little booze to your espresso shot first, then pour over your milkshake or ice cream. Amaretto, Frangelico, brandy, Sambuca, or Irish Cream all make great additions to the strong coffee. You can also create an affogato-style espresso martini by shaking the cocktail up as normal, but before you strain it into your glass, place a small scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream inside first. Pour the martini over the frozen treat for a decadent dessert in a glass.