What Is A Frappe and Is It Differ From A Frappuccino?

8 min read JAN 03, 2024

The frappe, a ubiquitous beverage in nearly every second-wave coffee shop chain, has become a popular choice for cooling down on a hot day. While it can be enjoyed in various flavors, certain characteristics define a true frappe: it must be cold, thick, and refreshing. But how did this drink achieve worldwide fame? To uncover the answer, let's delve into the following paragraphs and discover the unique qualities that set the frappe apart.

Frappé Means Served Over Ice

In modern times, when we hear the word "frappé," we often imagine a delightful and refreshing cold coffee beverage. However, the term in the 19th century encompassed a broader range of blended, iced, or semi-frozen drinks.

Rather than resembling ice cream, the traditional frappé was more akin to a snow cone. It typically consisted of fruit juice or liqueurs served over shaved ice or blended to a slushy consistency.

During that era, coffee or café frappé also existed. Some accounts described it as a regular iced coffee, while others likened it to a coffee slushie.

This connection is logical, as "frappé" loosely translates to a drink served over ice in French. It can also imply being beaten or shaken, which aligns with the drink's preparation method.

But What Is A Frappe?

The frappe, a beloved beverage, offers myriad variations depending on the barista or coffee shop. However, the Greek version, known as café frappé, encapsulates its original essence.

The authentic recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of instant coffee, ice cubes, sugar to taste and cold water. For a creamier indulgence, milk can be added if desired. These components are then vigorously shaken using a cocktail shaker or a mixer until the beverage achieves a frothy texture.

Most frappes are conveniently blended in modern times, reducing the preparation time by half. This contemporary rendition allows for experimentation with various syrups, flavorings, and even alcoholic additions.

To enhance the experience, a myriad of toppings, such as ice cream, milk foam, and whipped cream, can be generously added.

While some smaller coffee shops adhere to the traditional approach, others substitute instant coffee granules with drip coffee or espresso. Regardless of the method, the frappe remains an incredibly adaptable beverage that caters to the unique preferences of every coffee lover.

Frappuccino vs frappe

The Frappuccino, a globally renowned coffee beverage, is an incredibly versatile drink with unique characteristics. While some may mistake it for a frappé, these two beverages have distinct differences that add to their individuality.

Originating in Boston, the frappé is not your typical frothy coffee concoction. Instead, it is a delightful milkshake-like beverage made with ice cream. This treat has gained popularity beyond its birthplace, particularly in Rhode Island, where ordering a "cabinet" at any coffee shop will reward you with a milkshake topped with vanilla ice cream. A fascinating name for this frappé variation indeed!

On the other hand, it may come as a surprise that the Frappuccino is not an innovation by Starbucks, contrary to popular belief. In 1992, an employee of The Coffee Connection, a New England-based coffee retailer, created this innovative drink to gain a competitive edge. Thus, the Frappuccino was born, a clever combination of frappé and cappuccino.

Like the original frappé, this iced coffee includes milk, sugar, coffee, and ice. However, the Frappuccino undergoes a unique preparation process using a frozen yogurt machine, resulting in a distinctively creamy and smooth consistency.

The Frappuccino revolutionized Boston's coffee scene and propelled the growth of The Coffee Connection. Recognizing its potential, Starbucks acquired the New England retailer and its recipes in 1994. The original frappuccino recipe was subsequently refined, allowing for various ingredient combinations. The blending process was adapted to meet the demands of Starbucks' rapid production, resulting in a thicker texture.

Notably, the Frappuccino diverged from the frappé by incorporating espresso instead of instant coffee, lending a richer and creamier mouthfeel. Some frappuccinos even forego coffee altogether, resembling milkshakes more closely. These delectable creations are often adorned with whipped cream, caramel, or chocolate syrup.

The Frappuccino's introduction had a monumental impact on Starbucks, with an astonishing 200,000 units sold within its first week at the coffee conglomerate. It transcended cafes, entered convenience and grocery stores worldwide, and became available as bottled coffee.

Indeed, the journey of the Frappuccino showcases the ingenuity and evolution of coffee culture, captivating taste buds and expanding horizons.

How To Pronounce Frappé?

Many casual coffee enthusiasts find themselves perplexed by the pronunciation of "frappe." There are two common ways to say it, making it challenging to determine the correct one. Sometimes switch between the New England variant and the Greek pronunciation.

Although the term "frappe" originates from Greek, its name is derived from French. As mentioned, "frappé" means chilled or partly frozen and is pronounced as "fruit-pay," emphasizing the last syllable. While it can refer to various beverages, it is usually associated with the original shaken variations.

In contrast to the French pronunciation, the New England version is pronounced as a single syllable, "frap." These frappe drinks are typically blended and include milk as a primary ingredient.

To simplify things, remember that if you order a milkshake, it is pronounced "frap." However, if you choose a slushy drink with water as its base, it is a "free-pay."

Frappé Origins

The roots of contemporary frappe coffee can be traced back to a powdered chocolate beverage initially created for children. During the 1957 Thessaloniki International Fair in Greece, a Nestle representative showcased this drink by blending a chocolate base with milk.

However, it was Dimitris Vakondios, another representative, who, in need of a quick caffeine boost but lacking access to hot water, exhibited resourcefulness. In a cocktail shaker, he combined his usual instant coffee with cold water, sugar, and ice cubes. And thus began a remarkable journey.

This innovation paved the way for various frappe variations that have gained worldwide popularity. While the Greeks still embrace instant coffee as their base, other countries prefer espresso. Conversely, Bulgaria takes a unique approach by replacing water with Coca-Cola in its frappe recipe. Combining cola and coffee can yield favorable results when the right ratios are employed.

For those seeking a more indulgent coffee experience, Denmark offers frappes made with cold milk instead of water. This substitution lends a creamy taste and mouthfeel to the beverage. Meanwhile, ordering a frappe in Serbia will treat you to a glass comprising milk, ice cream, and whipped cream reminiscent of the beloved Starbucks frappuccino.

While the specific ingredients may vary, preparing a frappe remains the same. All components are combined in a blender or shaker and thoroughly mixed until the desired foam and texture are achieved.


In essence, what sets the frappe apart from other cold coffees is its exquisite flavor and velvety texture. Whether you prefer the classic shaken recipe, indulge in a milkshake-like treat, or savor a cafe-style frappuccino, each option promises a delightful respite on a scorching day. Feel free to unleash your creativity and experiment with different flavor combinations to craft your unique frappe. Enjoy the journey of creating your very own delectable masterpiece!

Frequently asked questions

What is a frappe?

A frappe is an iced coffee-based beverage made with instant coffee, sugar, and water or milk. It can also include other ingredients such as ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and flavored syrups. Its name originated in Greece and has since gained worldwide popularity for its refreshing taste.

What is the difference between a frappe and iced latte?

The ingredients are the main difference between an iced latte and a frappe. Iced latte uses espresso, whereas a frappe is made with instant coffee. Iced latte also does not contain ice cream or other ingredients commonly found in frappes. Thus, an iced latte's texture and flavor profile differs from that of a frappe. Ultimately, it depends on personal preference when choosing between an iced latte and a frappe.

What are some of the variations of frappe?

Depending on the ingredients used, a frappe can have many different variations. For instance, an Oreo Frappe is made from instant coffee, milk, and crushed Oreos. Other popular combinations include frozen caramel mocha, white chocolate raspberry, peanut butter and jelly. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to experiment and create your frappe flavor!

What is the best way to enjoy a frappe?

Frappes can be enjoyed in various ways depending on personal preference. For instance, it can be served over ice for a refreshing summer treat or blended with ice cream for a more decadent flavor. Frappes can also be served as frappe floats with a scoop of ice cream or blended into a milkshake. No matter how you choose to enjoy your frappe, it will surely bring an exciting twist to your coffee-drinking experience!

What are the health benefits of drinking frappe?

Although frappes are typically high in sugar and calories, they can still provide health benefits. The coffee beans used to make frappe offer an energy boost due to the caffeine they contain. Some frappe variations made with natural ingredients such as fresh fruits or nuts may also provide other important nutrients. Of course, it is always best to consume in moderation and be mindful of sugar intake.

What other beverages can be enjoyed similarly to a frappe?

If you want to try something different, many other cold beverages can be enjoyed similarly to a frappe. For instance, an iced macchiato is made with espresso, steamed milk, and sugar. A cafe latte or cappuccino can also be enjoyed with ice for a creamy winter treat. Smoothies are another favorite beverage with fruit and dairy for a delicious combination. With so many options, you will surely find the perfect drink to suit your taste buds!

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