What Are Java Chips? Everything You Need To Know

People have been using chocolate flavors to enhance coffee for a long time. After Starbucks launched the Java Chip Frappuccino, however, the coffee and chocolate partnership soared into a new trajectory. This tasty drink honors the island of Java, which is part of Indonesia and is an area well known for coffee harvesting. The use of “Java Chip” gives credit to this coffee-infused island and sounds better than calling the drink a more generic “Chocolate Chip” Frappuccino.

What Are Java Chips?

Java chips are similar to chocolate chips but their ingredients are not identical. Java chips’ composition gives them a lower melting point than chocolate, which is perfect for adding them to coffee to enhance coffee flavor. Chocolate, of course, can be used in a variety of recipes or eaten on its own.

Java chips and Frappuccino chips are synonymous. Starbucks received a trademark on the word “Frappuccino” for certain coffee products, so coffees from other companies that use the same type of chips often refer to them as java chips instead. Many coffee connoisseurs use these words interchangeably, however, without focusing on the location where they bought their coffee.

Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks
Java chips are a staple ingredient of the Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks. (© amytrippmyers | Creative Commons)

What Ingredients Are Found in Java Chips?

Although there may be slight variations for other brands of java chips, the Frappuccino chips at Starbucks contain five main ingredients:

  • Chocolate mass: a chocolate paste that enhances the flavor
  • Cocoa: a version with lower acidity due to alkali processing
  • Confectionary sugar: a great sweetener
  • Cookie crumbs: made of palm oils, wheat flour, and other ingredients
  • Salt

Although chocolate is used to create java chips, java chips do not qualify for the official designation of being chocolate chips for another reason, aside from their slightly different taste: To receive the designation of chocolate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that an item have at least 15 per cent chocolate liquor composition in the cocoa used to create the chips. Starbucks chips have approximately 12 per cent composition, an amount lower than the threshold. Some coffee houses may craft their chips above the 15 per cent limit, allowing them to refer to their chips as chocolate.

Man holding up container and scoop of Java Chip Frappuccino ice cream from Starbucks after learning what java chips are
Java Chip Frappuccino even comes in ice cream form! (© marcus nunes | Creative Commons)

The taste of java chips varies by how they are produced. The more cocoa content, the more chocolate taste these chips will have. When sampling a Starbucks Frappuccino chip, think about the taste of chocolate flavor covering cookie crumbs with a texture that has them melt or crumble shortly after you take them into your mouth.

Are Java Chips Vegan?

Most java chips contain milk, so they cannot be considered vegan unless they are created from vegan chocolate brands. With Frappuccino chips created for Starbucks coffee, one cannot claim they are dairy-free or gluten-free because they contain both milk and wheat. 

Popular Starbucks Drinks With Frappuccino Chips

The Frappuccino chips branded by Starbucks are a popular java chip used in many drinks at that popular coffee destination.

Many Starbucks blended drinks with java chips also have some combination of milk, ice, syrups and coffee. Below are some popular drinks to consider during your next visit to Starbucks if you want to try Frappuccino chips:

Java Chip Frappuccino

Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks
(© Hrish ‘dhempe’ Thota | Creative Commons)

The Java Chip Frappuccino brought widespread attention to java chips when it was first introduced. The drink combines the chips with a base syrup, frap roast, mocha sauce, and milk. Additional mocha sauce and whipped cream serve as the topping.

Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino

The Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino unites ice, milk, java chips and mocha sauce to satisfy your sweet tooth. Although there is no frap roast in this version, the additional mocha sauce and whipped cream add a pleasant flavor to an already delicious beverage.

Molten Hot Chocolate

Some stores began offering a Molten Hot Chocolate a few years ago, and it remains available in some areas. To get this, ask them to cover the quickly melting Frappuccino chips with steamed milk infused with mocha. A little ristretto drizzle and a special version of whipped cream finish this intense hot chocolate. 

Peanut Butter Frappe

The seasonal Peanut Butter Frappe combines chips, peanut butter sauce, and a thick whipped cream topping. According to Starbucks, the peanut butter sauce used at franchises comes from sunflower seeds and is allergen free.

Other Starbucks Frappuccino drinks, including seasonal and special drinks, also have these chips added. Check your local Starbucks or the company’s website to learn about other brews containing java chips.

Difference Between Java Chips and Java Chip Frappuccino

Novice coffee drinkers may sometimes confuse java chips and the Java Chip Frappuccino. The chips are the toppings used in a variety of coffees, including in the Java Chip Frappuccino. The Frappuccino itself is one of many popular coffee-based drinks sold at Starbucks.

How To Make Your Own Java Chips

Although getting your hands on Starbucks Frappuccino chips on the open market may be difficult, other alternatives exist. One possibility for those who crave a dark, dense chocolate experience is the Callebaut Chocolate Callets product available from some food stores and online providers.

CALLEBAUT Milk Chocolate Callets, 2.2 Pound Check availability

This Belgian chocolate quickly melts when placed in a variety of coffees, espressos, and various hot drinks that benefit from a chocolate infusion.

A less expensive alternative involves replacing the java chips with traditional chocolate chips. Although these chips have a more chocolate-intense taste than java chips, many people are willing to use them as a substitute for java chips in home-based brews. The best chocolate chips for coffee are the smaller or mini-sized versions rather than regular chips.

To moderate the sweetness of real chocolate chips, you may also select semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of regular ones. Generally, solid chocolate chips maintain their form at higher temperatures better than java chips do, so they probably will not mix as well as java or Frappuccino chips do.

Others have successfully tried cocoa powder as an alternative to java chips. With its rich flavor, cocoa powder does make for a good java chip substitute. Keep in mind that cocoa powder, similar to many powdered products on the market, may leave small bits or clumps in the cup where it did not fully mix with the coffee.

Bowl of cocoa powder prepared after barista learned what java chips are
Cocoa powder

There are other alternatives. Cacao nibs have less sugar, a crunchy textile, and high levels of antioxidants. Chocolate syrup may also be used. Just be sure to stir vigorously. A chocolate bar may serve as a substitute, as long as you have cut the bar into very small pieces. Just be aware that a candy bar will boost the already high caffeine content of coffee.

Try Java Chips in Other Items

Whether you have authentic Frappuccino chips or a suitable alternative, you can try adding a java chip boost to other drinks and desserts. Remember that authentic java chips work best in hot drinks. For cold drinks, you should either blend them to spread their effect throughout the drink or add some steam or espresso to give them the full effect.

Coffee drink made with java chips after barista learned what java chips are
You can get pretty creative when making your own Frappuccino-style drink.

You can find a variety of innovative recipes that incorporate java chips. There are different takes on creating a chocolate cookie crumble frappe by combining java chips, milk, chocolate syrup, some crushed chocolate-based cookies and strong coffee. After blending with ice, consider adding a whipped topping and more cookie crumbs.

Another sweet option is a s’mores frappe. The toppings define this drink, with the mini java chips, warmed marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs creating a delicious taste. 

Java chips also add a tasty boost to smoothies and ice cream. Less sweet than chocolate, they provide a subtle chocolate enhancement. If you want to sample a product already on the market, consider the Häagen-Dazs Coffee Chip Ice Cream available at many grocery stores.

Haagen-Dazs, Coffee Chip Ice Cream, Pint (8 count) Check availability

Some bakers even prefer java chips over chocolate chips when baking cakes, brownies, and cookies. Java chips offer a subtle—rather than overwhelming—sweetness to these baked goods.