The number of possible coffee beverages is enough to make anyone’s head spin. It’s easy to tell the distinction between drinks that carry a similar name but are visually very different. What are the differences between the beverages that can seem and sound similar at the same time?
You may have gone to different places and ordered a frappe or frappuccino, sometimes randomly, without even thinking about the differences between those two refreshments. Maybe you compared one store’s frappe to other store’s frappuccino and found no notable difference. Why are they called differently then? What’s the catch?
Let’s dive in and try to find out what makes these drinks distinct.
Frappe used to mean frozen juice made of fruit. It is a type of ice coffee drink. It’s usually made out of Nescafe and water, perhaps also with sugar. It was invented accidentally in 1975 in Thessaloniki fair and it’s popular in Greece. It can be found in almost every Greek menu. The word itself originates from France, meaning “Chilled in crushed ice”.
Many drinks that have “Frappe” in their names had started emerging during the 19th century. The original Frappe was invented on a fair that showcased a product that mixes chocolate and milk. An employer that worked at that fair had wanted to make his coffee but couldn’t find hot water, so he used cold water and ice instead. That’s the story of how Frappe was born.
This type of drink can be produced by the usage of a cocktail shaker or mixer. The typical measure of instant coffee is 1-2 spoons, and the sugar is optional. When a small amount of water is added, the blend of those ingredients is then mixed to a foam. Cold water, ice cubes, and milk are added afterwards.
Since instant coffee doesn’t contain any oil, when it’s dissolved in water it forms a very stable colloid. This trait of frappe drink is what makes the froth on the top possible. The froth is thick and its texture is different than other cremes that characterize coffees other than frappe. Since there isn’t any oil present, the froth can survive over a longer period and doesn’t collapse as easily.
When you add sugar, the froth on the top will be more satisfying because, without it, the high viscosity will start decomposing the froth quicker. If you use a hand mixer, you will create many miniature bubbles. This is a property that enables the froth to stay up more as well. The tinier the bubbles, the better the frappe.
There are many variations of the drink in Greece itself, but many other variations can be found in nearby countries. Sometimes, it can contain baileys or other liqueurs, it can be served with a lot – or with a small amount of sugar.
Furthermore, the drink is sometimes made without using the mixer but stirring the drink with the spoon – Greek sailors used to make it this way while they were sailing and the name of this variation of a drink in Greek means “of the ship”. In Serbia, they might sometimes add whipped cream on top and make it with milk or ice-cream, while in Bulgaria it’s made with Coca-Cola.
It’s a drink that’s originally made by Starbucks Coffee. The coffee is blended with ice and some more ingredients. The whipped cream and flavored syrups often decorate the top of a drink.
Starbucks sells Frappuccino as a bottled coffee. They can be found in grocery stores or vending machines much like coca-cola, water bottles or some snacks.
The name of Frappuccino was made in Boston and comes from the combination of the french “lait frappe” and cappuccino – a milkshake and an espresso coffee with frothed milk, respectively.
The drink itself was made and perfected by George Howell’s coffee shop chain “The Coffee Connection”, by an employee Andrew Frank. Starbucks had bought the above-mentioned coffee shop chain in 1994. They changed a Frappuccino recipe and it became available for purchase in 1995. The recipe that is used to make a Frappe coffee today includes brewed coffee, ice and, optionally, flavored syrups or sugar.
Those beverages may look and smell similar, but even to a non-trained person, the differences in taste will be noticeable.
Frappe is made with coffee and cold water. It’s usually topped with whipped cream and toppings like caramel or chocolate.
Frappuccino is a drink that’s made with cold water and it’s made similar to a milkshake or blended with it. Its particularly significant characteristic is that’s it’s produced and trademarked by Starbucks.
Similarities and Differences
Both drinks are coffee-based and they are made with cold water and/or ice. This is why you can often see them served at the beach bars or why the sale goes up in the summer months. In Greece, almost every cafe or bar serves frappe. Another similarity is that they are served in big glasses, which is also another positive feature when you are looking for the summer drink – it will cool you down, there’s a lot of it, it will last and you will be able to enjoy it for a longer time because of ice, all while giving you the shot of caffeine to keep you alert and awake.
Frappe is originally made with instant coffee, most often Nescafe. It can be blended with coffee and milk, sometimes with a milkshake. If you add the toppings, you will have a very sweet mixture.
The taste also depends on the way that Frappe is made – it can be hand-stirred or blended with mixer, which is the most common way. Hand-stirred Frappe is usually made at home conditions or in the conditions where mixers aren’t available – like on the boat. The sailors used to make this beverage in this particular way, and consequently, the Frappe made this way got a nickname that means “of the ship”, specifically because sailors used to make it this way.
All of this applies if we are talking about frappe that is made with coffee. Frappe itself doesn’t have to contain the coffee. If it does, the taste of coffee is usually diluted with the other ingredients, but it has the same overtones. It’s not a drink for someone who doesn’t love sweet and light coffee. Also, if you are lactose intolerant, you should avoid this drink since it can contain many additives like toppings, but first and foremost, the milk or ice cream.
Frappuccino can be quite similar to a milkshake, but it’s almost always made with coffee. Starbucks offers many variations of this drink, like Mocca Frappuccino or Vanilla Frappuccino.
Those drinks are also cold, and they are made by blending creme base with ice and coffee. Usually, the Frappuccino is sweeter, it has a lot of sugar, toppings, whipped cream, syrups, and similar additives.
Frappe is mostly made in Europe. It’s invented in Greece and the people from the countries next door took the drink to their home country. Some made variations, some kept it the same, but the most important part is that it’s most popular in southeastern Europe.
Starbucks’ Frappuccino is much more known in the U.S. People sometimes order Frappe at Starbucks, but employees bring them Frappuccino – they want that drink, they just got used to calling it Frappe.
Frequently asked questions
What is Frappe Short For?
Frappe isn’t a word that’s short for some longer drink. It’s a drink for itself, that originates from Greece and it’s made with cold water, ice, and instant coffee.
Frappuccino might be referred to as Frappe sometimes at the Starbuck’s coffee places, but it’s just the habit that’s not used widely.
Does Coffee Wake up People?
Caffeine increases alertness. It’s a stimulant that affects the central nervous system and makes it release adrenaline.
Is Frappe a Cold Drink?
Yes, and this is the whole point.
Is Frappe too Diluted?
Hardcore coffee lovers and espresso die-hard fans probably won’t like most frappes. They are sweet, light, and long, everything an espresso lover would despise!
How often do you buy frappe or frappuccino without thinking about its origin, name, and story? Coffee beverage origin stories are often very entertaining and insightful. From a practical side, knowing what you are ordering might help you be more decisive when a waiter or cashier nervously waits, along with other people in line. It may also help you determine what’s making you feel shaky – it may be caffeine or milk. Ordering decaf frappuccino might be the solution to your dizziness or stomach symptoms. This is merely a suggestion – if you have problems, make sure to consult a health practitioner.
Another practical side to knowing what you are ordering is that it can come in handy if you are trying to reduce the weight or are simply tracking your calorie intake.
While it may seem confusing, demystifying frappe and frappuccino can come down only to a few things: Frappe is a drink that’s made with Nes and it originates from Greece, while Frappuccino is a drink that is produced by Starbucks and can be bought in markets and from vending machines.
Whichever you choose, if you like sweet cold drinks, you will enjoy it.