The Creation of the Infamous Frappuccino

The Frappuccino is a popular beverage and trademark of the Starbucks Corporation, but where did it originate? The year was 1992, and George Howell, owner of the Coffee Connection, wanted to try something different in time for summer. He flew out to Seattle, where he sampled an iced cappuccino drink that another coffee chain had blended and, well, the rest is history.

No, but really, with the help of a younger marketing manager and Starbucks, a chain that began expanding rapidly all over Boston — where Howell lived — the Frappuccino, a slushy beverage created with a soft-serve machine, changed the world of coffee and doubled Howell’s business within a year.

In 1993, Starbucks had only a handful of stores in Los Angeles and less than 300 throughout the country. In 1994, Starbucks bought they bought Howell’s Coffee Connection chain for $23 million and the rights to the Frappuccino. By 1996, the company had made over $52 million in annual frappuccino sales.

Starbucks started introducing a new flavor of Frappuccino in the spring of 2002, matching the colors of the drink to the colors that appeared on the fashion runway. Now, there are over 87,000 Frappuccino combinations, including mocha and caramel, two of the more popular flavors, and smoked butterscotch, a recent flavor launched in 2016. The Frappuccino accounts for 20 percent of the company’s annual sales, which totals over $2 million, and represents nearly two thirds of the entire frozen coffee drink market.

Want a Frappuccino? Don’t worry, you can get one at one of over 27,000 Starbucks locations worldwide. They’ve got your back.