Frappe Coffee Guide

frappe coffee guide

There are a few things as refreshing on a warm afternoon as a cold, creamy frappe. Many coffee enthusiasts enjoy frappes, but have you ever wondered what this beverage is and how it came to be? The frappe has a long and exciting history in the world of coffee lovers. Keep reading if you want to find out more about this satisfying drink.

The frappe originated in Greece. Its ingredients include ice or water, sugar, instant coffee, and often milk, but not always. All components are added to a shaker, blender, or beater and mixed to create a rich, foamy beverage. 

What is a Frappe?

frappe coffee guide

Typically when people think of frappes today, what comes to mind is a frozen, blended coffee drink. It’s usually topped with whipped cream and loaded with any number of sweet syrups and flavoring. This isn’t always the case, however. A frappe does not have to be blended, as long as it includes cold water and coffee that is shaken, blended, or stirred. 

There are plenty of ways to customize a frappe, such as syrups and toppings. Over the years, loading this drink with extra ingredients and fillers has become increasingly popular. This drink is smooth in texture, and some prefer to sweeten it with their desired flavoring. These may include sugar and milk for some, while others enjoy chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, or vanilla. 


To find out where the frappe came from, we must look back to 1957. Its creation was a bit of an accident and took place at the Thessaloniki International Fair. The company Nestlé was attending to showcase their new product marketed to children. While they were introducing the new additive that would turn any milk into chocolate milk with just a few stirs, Dimitris Vakondios took a break to make himself a cup of coffee.

He reached for his typical Nescafé but couldn’t get his hands on any hot water to make it with. Instead, he made do with cold water and a shaker meant for Nestlé’s new drink and unwittingly created the first frappe. His vigorous shaking turned his coffee thick and foamy.

This beverage was so popular among the people, but it became the official coffee drink of Greece in 1979. Although the word frappe is French, it should not be mistaken for the French frappe, which is not always coffee, but milk or juice.

How are Frappes Made?

Since its creation, the frappe has taken on a life of its own. The word itself has become vague and includes several different coffee drinks that aren’t authentic frappe. Nearly every coffee shop and coffee chain in the United States serves its own version. 

Some prefer the old standby of a shaken, instant coffee with ice, but most people have branched out. When you order one today, you’ll likely receive a blended drink, no matter where you order, although some still differentiate between iced and blended.

Frappe vs. Frappucinno

In recent history, the Frappuccino has taken over as the mascot for frappes, although it’s not quite the same. Starbucks invented the term for their specialty blended cappuccino drinks. The cappuccino is a particular type of coffee drink that must follow a specific ratio to qualify. To make a cappuccino, you need equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam.

Starbucks blends their Frappuccinos with cream or milk base, ice, and espresso. Many would argue that this is just a marketing tactic since it’s essentially just a frappe. The coffee added to the drink is an instant coffee mixture rather than espresso, so it doesn’t qualify as a cappuccino. The ratios don’t add up since a Frappuccino is mostly ice and milk.

In any case, the most significant difference between the two is Starbucks’ signature. This ownership is why you won’t find Frappuccinos on the menu anywhere else.

Frappe vs. Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is another vague term, but this one is as simple as it sounds. This drink is brewed coffee served over ice, sometimes with milk, sugar, or flavored syrups.

Iced coffee has no specific ratios and doesn’t include espresso. To make it, you can brew coffee and leave it in a fridge for a few hours or brew it using a special cold-coffee brewer. “Kyoto style” iced coffee is brewed with room temperature water over several hours. In any case, it is usually brewed at a higher strength because the ice dilutes it.

Most people add sugar or syrup while it’s still hot to ensure the sugars dissolve evenly throughout. 

Unlike a frappe, iced coffee is not shaken, stirred, or blended. You can even buy it at most grocery stores without ice and pre-made. This is how many coffee chains make theirs.

How to Make a Frappe at Home

frappe coffee guide

Making a frappe at home isn’t difficult. If you want to keep it simple, all you need is cold water and instant coffee, but feel free to customize it to your preferences. Here is a step-by-step guide to making a frappe right in your own kitchen.

  1. First, you need to prepare your instant coffee. You can mix it hot and then let it cool. Or, you can make it the way Dimitris Vakondios initially prepared it. Shaking it in a shaker is best if you prefer to go this route.
  2. Once you have half a cup of cool coffee, combine your coffee and ice or cold water in a blender or shaker. If you want it frozen, you’ll need ice and a blender. 
  3. Add ¼ to ½ cup of milk if desired.
  4. If you prefer your frappe to be flavored, add any preferred syrups or sugar at this point. If you want to use just plain sugar, try to find it in liquid or syrup form. Because we do not brew the coffee in frappes, it cannot dissolve granulated sugar.
  5. Blend or shake the mixture until it is smooth. If you shake it, you’ll know it’s adequately blended when it has a thick foam layer, and the color is even throughout the liquid. 
  6. For best results, serve over ice if it hasn’t been blended, and drink promptly. Frappes don’t keep for long.

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