Frappe vs Latte vs Frappuccino: What’s the Difference?

What is a Frappe

A Frappe is an iced coffee drink, made with a combination of instant coffee, water, ice and sugar. The main differences between a Frappe, Iced latte and a Frappuccino is the origin, the type of coffee used, the kind of milk used and the added sweeteners.

There are lots of different kinds of iced coffee drinks with different strengths and weaknesses, but I’ve am frequently asked what is the difference between a Frappe, Iced Latte and a Frappuccino. I wanted to explain it well and in detail, so I did a little research and here’s what I found.

Some people say its a milkshake, some people say its just an abbreviation for Frappuccino,. Frappuccino’s have often been confused with Frappes and iced lattes but they are actually three very different coffee drinks. Learning that these three coffee drinks were different made me want to know why and what truly made them this way.

In this article I am going to go in depth about what it is and how it is different from the other similar (at least in name) drinks.

What is a Frappe?

Lets start by defining what Frappe means: The word frappe is a French word that, in a strict sense, means to hit but in the case of a Frappe it is loosely translated as a drink that is either starts out frozen or with ice and then is blended until it has a slushy type consistency.

Although the word Frappé originates from the French, The Frappe was created just by chance (as is the case with many inventions) in 1957 in the Greek City of Thessaloniki. A Nescafe representative named Dimitris Vakondios was at a Trade Fair show there and when he had a break he decided to have what else? Some Nescafe coffee of course!

The problem he ran into was that for whatever reason he could not find any hot water to add to his Nescafe Classic so thinking “outside of the box” he mixed it with cold water instead, inside of a shaker added a little sugar and, as they in French – Voila or better yet Greek – εδώ είναι! The Frappe was Born!

Frappe Vs Iced Latte

Frappe vs Iced Latte

Let me first explain what a Latte is and then I will go over the key differences. As I explained in another post when comparing Cappuccino versus Latte, the traditional latte is broken up into these three parts:

  • 1/3 Espresso
  • 2/3 Steamed Milk
  • A THIN layer of foam

A latte is basically made by mixing these 3 elements together accordingly. With a Latte you can substitute the milk for any milk alternative such as Soy, Almond or even Oat.

The key differences between a Latte and Frappe are:

  • A Frappe originated in Greece and a Latte in Italy
  • A Latte can be made hot or cold whereas a Frappe is only served cold
  • A Latte uses espresso and a Frappe, in the traditional method uses Nescafe Instant Coffee
  • A Frappe can use Evaporated Milk

Frappe Vs Frappuccino?

Frappucciino vs Frappe

A Frappuccino is somewhere between a Frappe and a Cappucciono (hence the name). It is made up of espresso coffee, not instant as with the Greek Frappe. It is combined with milk, sugar, ice, aerated cream and a choice of a wide array of sweeteners.

Depending on the Frappuccino you want to make you also add caramel syrup (caramel Frappuccino) or chocolate syrup (mocha Frappuccino) and so on.

Believe it or not a Frappuccino is a trademarked name that belongs to Starbucks but did not originate with Starbucks. It actually came from a very famous coffee expert George Howell who sold his Coffee Connection chain (and the rights to the Frappuccino name) to Starbucks in 1994.

How is a Frappe Different in New England

In New England, what they call a Frappe, those outside of this area would really call a milkshake. Their version is made up of milk, ice cream, and a any type flavored syrup like Chocolate, Strawberry etc. Its then mixed together in a blender similar to the Frappe.

And just to make things a bit more interesting, if you happen to find yourself in Rhode Island instead of asking for a Frappe you should ask for a “cabinet.” This is actually an abbreviation of the original name of “cabinet milkshake” as back in the day, the name is from the cabinet where the icecr stored but is essentially the same drink made in the New England area ( Well, that’s the story anyway)

How to make the Classic Greek Frappe

I think part of the reason for the Frappe’s continued popularity and why its been able to stand the test of time is due to easy it is to make as well as versatile or that is to say how many different ways their are to make.

To make the Frappe in its original form, is a simple process, (that I probably broke down into too many steps) and that doesn’t need any special equipment and can modify or adjusted for whatever taste you are looking for.

  1. Grab anything that you feel comfortable shaking without spilling. You could use a jar, the standard drink shaker, handheld frother or even a blender (if you don’t want to do the work yourself).
  2. Then you will want to put in your coffee, Nescafe instant, (if you want to be purest) and then add cold water and sugar but NOT the ice. For a 12 oz glass, The amount of coffee you would use is 2 teaspoons and the same amount of sugar and just 2 tablespoons of water Of course, this is a general guideline, you can add more or less coffee depending on how strong you like it.
  3. One you have that all together in one place, cover your container and shake for about 30 seconds. If you decide to go the blender or frother route, cut that time in half and mix for about 15 seconds. When you are done you will have a nice foam mixture.
  4. Once that’s done, grab you glass and put some ice cubes in it and take the coffee foam and slowly add it to the glass.
  5. Add water until the glass is full. At this point you could leave some space to add milk . Evaporated is usually the milk used but experiment with the others or milk alternatives, if you want, and see which one you like the best.
  6. Put in a straw and umbrella(optional!) and enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, I have been able to properly explain what a Frappe is and how it is different from the other drinks that it is often confused with. If you have any Frappe Recipes that you have tried or made yourself, let us know!