What are Java Chips? Learn the Truth about Them!

Updated on: September 7, 2023
Author: Nick
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What are Java Chips

What are Java Chips? Are they just fancy words for Chocolate Chips or are they actually different? Plus, keep reading to learn a delicious recipe for the Java Chip Frappuccino!

You’re here because earlier today you were at a Starbucks ready to order your favorite drink and then you saw the Java Chip Frappuccino on their menu and wondered to yourself: What the heck are Java Chips?

Or maybe you were searching for a cookie recipe and saw Java Chips as one of the ingredients and thought: Who dis?!

In this article, we will answer all your questions about Java chips, from their origin to recipes, how versatile they are, and where to buy them.

But most importantly, we will dispel all the wrong information on the internet about these little guys...

So, let’s get chippin’! 

What are Java Chips? 

Java Chips are soft, semi-sweet chips made of chocolate and other ingredients. They blend nicely when added to iced coffee recipes such as frappuccinos so that you can slurp them through a straw. 

They've become popularized by the huge coffee shop chain, Starbucks, with their staple "Java Chip Frappuccino"!

Are Java Chips and Chocolate Chips the Same Thing?

The main difference between Java chips and chocolate chips is that Java chips contain a higher concentration of chocolate liquor than chocolate chips.

Although they both taste like chocolate, Java chips aren't the same as milk chocolate chips. Java chips contain more chocolate liquor content (35%) than the 15% in sweet chocolate chips

The FDA is not referring to chocolate liqueur, which is an alcoholic drink. Chocolate liquor is pure cocoa, made of cocoa solids or nibs and cocoa butter.

Jave chips would be comparable to semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, but not exactly the same thing.

Here are a few other ways that Java chips are different from regular milk chocolate chips:

  1. Texture: Java chips are softer, which makes them perfect for blending, crushing, and mixing with other ingredients

  2. Caffeine: Java chips have slightly more caffeine than chocolate chips because they have 20% more chocolate liquor

  3. Theobromine: This is a stimulant with similar qualities to caffeine. Java chips also have more of this stimulant than regular milk chocolate chips because, again, they have more chocolate liquor

  4. Usage: Java chips break down nicely as a topping or when blended in cold drinks and can easily pass through a straw which makes them a favorite addition to many Starbucks drinks.

Are Java Chips and Frappuccino Chips the Same Thing?

If you've been checking the ingredients and nutrition lists on the Starbucks website, you probably came across the ingredient "Frappuccino Chips", instead of "Java Chips".

Why is that? And are they the same thing?

The simple answer is: yes, they are the same thing. It's just that Starbucks trademarked the word "Frappuccino" and so they are using it instead of Java to be unique and stand out amongst the competition.

Similar to why they have a special naming system for their Starbucks cup sizes.

Is it pretentious or is it genius?! You let us know...

The Origin and History of Java Chips

Java Chip Substitutes

In the 1800s, the largest distributor of coffee was an Indonesian island called Java. As coffee became popular, the Dutch adopted the word "Java" as a synonym for coffee.

The name is simply a combination of the word Java and chocolate chips, which means coffee chips since Java chips are used mainly as a topping for coffee drinks

Java chips are tiny, semi-sweet chocolate chips added to coffee beverages for some chocolatey sweetness. These crushed pieces can easily pass through straws and melt quickly in drinks or the mouth. They have since been widely accepted as an alternative to chocolate chips. 

The origin of Java chips is a tale that traces back to the rise of second-wave coffee. The second coffee wave saw individual brands make unique coffee varieties. This type of coffee brew is also called specialty coffee, and Starbucks is a major contributor to this style of coffeehouse beverage. 

To establish dominance in the market, Starbucks created varieties of coffee with different toppings. These toppings gave customers a relaxing experience, and one of Starbucks’ favorite varieties is the Java Chip Frappuccino Blended Beverage.

What are Some Java Chips Alternatives?

It's a little hard to find Java chips in your local grocery store, or even at specialty stores. So you can either purchase it online (click here to learn where you can buy them from) or you can use a Java chips substitute.

Even though these alternatives can be convenient and easy to find, if you want the true Java chip taste and experience, then you are better off buying the actual thing! Here are some great alternatives to Java Chips:

Semisweet or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

solid chocolate chips

As we mentioned earlier, Java chips closely resemble semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips. Mainly because they both have a higher percentage of chocolate liquor than regular milk chocolate.

The main difference is that they are larger in size than Java chips and they don't tend to blend as smoothly. However, if you purchase higher-quality semisweet chocolate chips, then you have a better chance of replicating the qualities of Java chips.

Just make sure you avoid dark chocolate chips, as they will taste more bitter and have more caffeine than Java chips!

Dark Chocolate Bars

chocolate bar

If you are a baker or enjoy baking, then you would know that chocolate bars are commonly used in many chocolate recipes, and for good reason! It is generally of high quality and it can be very versatile.

To use it as a substitute, you can shave or cut the bar into small pieces and add it to your drinks or as a topping. Make sure you choose a low percentage of dark chocolate in order to closely resemble the qualities of Java chips.

The darker the chocolate, the more bitter and higher in caffeine, and the less resemblance to Java chips!

Cocoa Nibs

Substitute java chips gluten free

Cocoa nibs are a great alternative to Java chips! Even though they are smaller than regular chocolate chips, they have a harder texture, which means you would need to blend them for longer to ensure a smoother texture.

They are also not sweetened, which means that you would have to add some sugar to make up for the lack of it. Or you can choose to opt out of adding sugar if you're trying to have a healthier drink!

Most recipes that use cocoa nibs instead of Java chips do so in order to avoid unnecessary added sugar.

Dark Chocolate Sauce

sweet and chocolatey flavor

Dark chocolate sauce is another great fantastic alternative to Java chips! Especially if you are using it as a topping or in drinks.

You will not get the same crunchy texture that you would get from Java chips, but if you ensure that the sauce is not made of a high percentage of dark chocolate, then you can closely resemble the taste!

Dark Cocoa Powder

cocoa content

Last but not least, is dark cocoa powder. Similar to cocoa nibs, cocoa powder is not sweetened and would need to have sugar added to it in order to resemble the semisweet flavor of Java chips.

But then again, one can opt out of adding sugar for a healthier beverage or snack!

Also, cocoa powder is similar to chocolate sauce, in the sense that the final texture will not have a crunchy feel like Java chips would.

What is the Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino?

The Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino is a blended iced coffee drink that contains mocha sauce, and java chips. It's a delightful combination of coffee and chocolate flavors.

The Starbucks Frappuccino has been around for a while and is one of the coffee house’s most popular blended drinks. They're just perfect on a hot summer day!

Keep reading to learn the ingredients and the costs of the Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino. Then we will share a delicious copycat recipe for you to try at home for a fraction of the price!

What are the Ingredients in the Starbucks Java Chip?

Starbucks Java Chips Frappe

The ingredients of the Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino differ from the Starbucks Chocolate Chip Frappe. The Java Chip contains a blend of mocha sauce, Frappuccino chips, coffee, milk, coffee Frappuccino syrup, ice, and whipped cream.

Of course, the quantity of each ingredient differs between the 3 cups sizes available: Tall, Grande, and Venti.

For example, in a Tall Java Chip Frappuccino, there are 2 pumps of mocha sauce, 2 scoops of Frappuccino chips, and 2 pumps of Frappuccino Roast.

In a Grande Java Chips Frappuccino, adds 1 extra to each ingredient and 2 extra for the Venti!

How Much is a Java Chip Frappuccino at Starbucks?

As we mentioned earlier, Starbucks makes three sizes of the Java Chips Frappuccino. They have the Tall, Grande, and Venti sizes. 

Each cup size has a different price starting at $4 to $6. Keep in mind, that these prices differ from one region to another and even from one city to another!

The Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino prices below are from New York City stores (and as of the time of writing this article):

Java chip frappuccino - Tall (12 oz or 355 mL)$4.99
Java chip frappuccino - Grande (16 oz or 473 mL)$5.49
Java chip Frappuccino - Venti (24 oz or 710 mL)$5.79

Copycat Java Chip Frappuccino Recipe

Java Chips Blended Beverage

Starbucks charges top dollar for their Java Chip Frappuccino, but you can make a copycat recipe at home for a fraction of the cost to enjoy any time you feel like a cool, refreshing beverage. 

All you need is a powerful blender and the following ingredients to make one serving.

Ingredients List

  • 2 shots of espresso 
  • 1/2 cup of milk (you can use oat milk, almond milk, or cow’s milk)
  • 2 tablespoons of mocha sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Java chips 
  • Whipped cream (as a topping) 
  • 1 cup of ice


  1. Add the espresso shots, milk, mocha sauce, Java chips, and ice to the blender. Then turn it on high power for 30 to 45 seconds.
  2. Once the ingredients appear to be blended evenly, turn off the blender and pour the drink into a tall glass.
  3. Add the whipped cream and top it all off with some chocolate drizzle.
  4. Enjoy!

You can tweak the recipe to make as little or as much as you want and you can even make substitutions like replacing the mocha sauce with peanut butter sauce or replacing the milk and ice with chocolate ice cream... Yummmmm!

Where to Buy Java Chips

Unlike regular coffee, you can't buy Java Chips at random stores. There are select specialty coffee brands and businesses that have them in store. If you want to buy Java chips for home or other uses, you can find them at:

  1. Some Starbucks locations
  2. Walmart (see below link)
  3. Amazon (see below link)

Different Ways to Use Java Chips

We already know that Java chips are used in the Java Chip Frappuccino and it tastes delicious. Below are a few other ways you can enjoy them other than in this Starbucks drink: 

In Other Blended Drinks

Since they are a main ingredient in the Java Chip Frappe, why can't they be a secondary ingredient in other blended beverages?

For example, what if you made a peanut butter frappe at home by replacing the chocolate sauce with peanut butter-flavored sauce and adding Java chips to it?

The sky's the limit to what you can try mixing Java chips with!

As Toppings

You can use Java chips as toppings for coffee drinks or even caffeine-free drinks, like hot chocolate, which is perfect for kids!

Also, it's one of the best options for cream-based desserts like ice cream, parfaits, and puddings. You can use it in your homemade banana pudding for added texture and sweetness.

As a Snack

One of the beauties of Java chips is their versatility. Not only can you use it as toppings, but you can also eat it as a snack. It's the best choice if you want a sweet, soft alternative to chocolate chips. 

Just make sure you don't overdo it... Too much sugar is never good for you!

In Baking

Whether baking cookies, cakes, or brownies, Java chips are an excellent alternative ingredient. You can use it to replace chocolate chips to give your baking a unique bittersweetness. 

Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino

Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Creme Frappe

A Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino is a caffeine-free version of the Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino. The key difference is that, unlike the Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino, the Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino contains no coffee. However, expresso shots are an option! 

The blended beverage is made with milk, Frappuccino chips, mocha sauce, crème Frappuccino syrup, ice, and topped with sweetened whipped cream, and mocha drizzle.

Does Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino have Coffee in it?

The Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino does not contain coffee. This version of the Java Chip Frappuccino does not include the coffee and instead of the coffee Frappuccino syrup, they use creme Frappuccino syrup.

Does the Double Chocolatey Chip Crème Frappuccino have Caffeine?

Although the Double Chocolatey Chip Crème Frappuccino doesn't have coffee, it still has traces of caffeine. The caffeine quantity ranges between 10 mg to 20 mg depending on the size and this is because of the chocolate, which has traces of caffeine in it!

The Double Chocolatey Chip Crème Frappuccino caffeine content is as follows:

  • Tall - 10 mg
  • Grande - 15 mg
  • Venti - 20 mg

The caffeine content is safe enough but can have adverse health effects if consumed in excess. Do not exceed 400 mg of caffeine per day.

java chip substitutes

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Frequently Asked Question

What are Java chips alternatives?

Here are some great alternatives to Java Chips: semi-sweet chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate bars, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate syrup.

Is the Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino Gluten-free?

The Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino isn't gluten-free. This is because wheat flour is one of its main ingredients.

How do Java Chips Taste?

While Java chip got its name from coffee, it does not taste like coffee; rather, it gives the expected gooey, rich flavor of chocolate. When served alone, Java chips have a distinct chocolatey taste.

Is the Java Chip Frappuccino Sweet?

Yes, it is. The Java Chip Frappuccino is a Starbucks trademarked name for Java chips blended coffee. It's made with Java chips, mocha sauce, and coffee Frappuccino syrup, which all contain sugar.

What does the Java Chip have?

The Java Chip ingredients vary depending on the manufacturer. However, Starbucks' recipe is top-rated. The Starbucks Java Chips are made from a mixture of cocoa, sugar, oil, and additives.

Does the Java Chip Frap have Caffeine?

The Java Chip Frappuccino contains two pumps of Frappuccino roast, two pumps of mocha sauce, and Frappuccino (Java) chips. It has a moderate quantity of caffeine, between 75 mg - 150 mg.

This is relatively healthy for consumption. However, daily consumption might have adverse health effects. So, it would be best if you kept it moderate.

How Much Caffeine is in a Java Chip Frappuccino?

The Starbucks Java chip Frappuccino comes in three different sizes. The caffeine content in each varies, as seen below.

  • Tall (12 oz or 355 mL): 75 mg
  • Grande (12 oz or 355 mL): 105 mg
  • Venti (24 oz or 710 mL): 145 mg

Is the Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino Good?

Yes. The Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino is just as good as the Java Chips Frappuccino. It has a decadent chocolate taste that lingers in your mouth for a lasting experience. 

Java Chips

Final Thoughts

Java chips provide a sweet (but not overpowering) taste to any beverage. The subtle flavor of the chips blends perfectly with the unique undertones of specialty coffee drinks. If you are seeking a unique addition to your frappe then we encourage you to try Java chips!

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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