Frappé coffee is an iconic cold beverage made with a fluffy coffee base and served over a lot of ice.
Originating from the sun-soaked shores of Greece, this chilled concoction has transcended borders to become a beloved global trend. With so many customization options and similarities with other coffee drinks, the frappé topic can quickly become confusing.
In this article, we embark on a journey to uncover the humble frappé’s origins, variations, and preparation methods.
What is Frappé Coffee?
Frappé is an iconic Greek cold coffee drink served nice and frothy over a whole lot of ice. The name for this Greek drink comes from the French word meaning “chilled over ice.”
This tall glass of comfort is made by shaking coffee powder with sugar and water to create a frothy coffee base. Ice cubes go into the bitter & sweet coffee base, followed by water and milk.
Around the world, frappé is made with slightly different ingredients. The Bulgarians add soda instead of water for a tangy mouth feel, the Danes skip the water in favor of whole milk, and the Serbians like their frappé with whipped cream on top.
Regardless of how you enjoy your frappé, just know that you always want it – shaken, not stirred.
What is a Frappé Coffee Made Of?
Traditional Greek frappé is made with instant coffee, water, sugar, and ice. Milk is an optional but common ingredient.
However, modern iterations of the beloved frappé often use a shot of espresso. Instant powdered coffee in the US lacks the strong punch of European brands.
American frappé also tends to lean to the sweet side of the coffee spectrum, with lots of sweeter options like chocolate, caramel, and milk syrup.
Why is a Frappé Coffee Layered?
Shaking coffee powder with a bit of water results in an extraordinarily thick, foamy texture. As you add ice, milk, and water to the frap, the dense liquid settles at the bottom, the naturally buoyant ice floats to the middle, and the light fluffy foam gets pushed to the top.
Creating the iconic layered look of frappé.
The History of Frappé Coffee
The history of the frappé starts from a 1957 World Fair exhibition in Thessaloniki, Greece. Here, a representative of Nescafe, the instant packaged coffee brand, would accidentally invent the frappé.
Actual narrative reasons differ from historian to historian, but the general story remains the same. Nestle, the parent company of Nescafe, was promoting a new shaker and cocoa drink for the summer.
Vakondios wanted a cup of coffee and added instant powdered coffee and sugar to the shaker. As it was summer, the new and intriguing drink was served cold on ice. The coffee concoction became an instant hit, and the Nescafe company took notice.
By the 1980s, Nescafe was heavily marketing the drink, now called frappé, using radio, TV, and billboards. Cafe frappé was already a popular term for cold coffee beverages, but none as popular as the Greek frappé.
Today coffee drinkers see greek frappé as a classic and timeless beverage.
How Much Caffeine is in a Frappé Coffee?
A standard 12 oz. glass of frappé contains 2-3 teaspoons of instant coffee. According to the USDA, coffee powder sold nationwide contains ~30 mg of caffeine per teaspoon. So your nice cold glass of frappé has a caffeine content of 60-90 mg per serving.
How Many Calories Are in a Frappé Coffee?
Frappé leans on the heavier side of the calorie count. The actual calorie content varies from recipe to recipe, but the general range is 200-300 calories per serving.
Additives like cream or caramel shoot the calorie content much higher.
How to Make Delicious Frappé Coffee? – 5 Short Steps
Making frappé coffee is as simple as pouring all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. From its very origins, the frappé has been a quick and easy-to-prepare coffee drink for those warm summer afternoons.
Let’s take a look at the simple process of making delicious frappé.
Step 1: Prepare your Frothing Vessel
Frappé requires a lot of mechanical force to froth the coffee to a fluffy consistency. A coffee shop may use a dedicated frappé machine, but you can get away with a handheld coffee frother, a blender, or even a cocktail shaker.
The goal is to introduce as much air into the coffee as possible.
Step 2: Combine Coffee, Sugar, and Water
Add coffee powder and sugar to a vessel of your choice and a few tablespoons of water, just enough to cover the dry ingredients.
You can substitute a shot of espresso for the coffee and simple syrup for sugar for a more Americanized flavor.
Step 3: Shake Vigorously until it Froths
Now, shake the mixture until the mixture doubles in volume. For frappé machines or a blender, the process takes about 30 seconds, and handheld frothers and cocktail shakers take over a minute to froth up.
Step 4: Pour the Coffee Base over the Ice
Now, pour your airy coffee base over some large ice cubes. Like with any coffee drink, the ice will dilute the coffee taste. We recommend three large cubes for a good balance.
Alternatively, you can shake the ice with the coffee and sugar using a blender or cocktail shaker. However, it should be noted that a blender will crush the ice and lead to a milkshake-like texture.
Step 5: Add Water and Milk
You can now pour water and milk into your glass and watch the layered frappé take shape. Traditional Greek frappé only uses water, but milk is also a very common ingredient.
Whether you enjoy your frappé black or with milk is a personal preference. In contrast, American frappé always contains milk, cream, or dairy alternatives.
Coffee lovers should customize their drink as they see fit and enjoy it their way.
Frappé Coffee Recipe
- Handheld Coffee Frother
- Tall Glass
- Coffee (Instant): 2 Teaspoons (~10 gm)
- Sugar: 2 Tablespoons (~30 gm)
- Milk: ⅓ Cup (80 ml)
- Water: ⅓ Cup (80 ml)
- Ice: 3 Large Cubes
- Add the coffee, sugar, and a dash of water to the tall glass.
- Use the handheld frother to whip up the ingredients until fluffy.
- Add the ice cubes to the glass.
- Gently pour the remaining water into the glass.
- Add milk until the glass is full.
What Is the Difference Between a Frappé and a Frappuccino?
Frappé is a Greek drink and a cultural cornerstone made with instant coffee and varies according to the recipe. Frappuccino is a Starbucks-trademarked drink that is a hybrid of frappé and cappuccino made with brewed coffee, espresso shot, or occasionally tea.
Both drinks share an airy and creamy texture, but the frappuccino is more like a milkshake. Additionally, the frappé has a layered aesthetic compared to the more uniform frappuccino.
Both drinks share a general aesthetic but are two completely different coffee beverages.
A proper coffee frappuccino requires an investment into an espresso machine and some sweet syrups.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Coffee is Frappé?
Frappé is a cold coffee drink made with instant coffee powder and served chilled over ice.
What is the Difference Between Frappé and Iced Coffee?
Iced coffee involves pre-brewing coffee grounds and chilling the drink with ice or cold milk. Frappé involves beating instant coffee with water until frothy and serving it over ice.
The results in the frappé having a lighter, airy, and more creamy taste.
Is a Frappé just Frozen Coffee?
No. Frappé is a whipped coffee drink made with instant dry coffee (sometimes espresso) that is served over ice.
How Do You Drink Frappe Coffee?
The best way to enjoy frappé coffee is with a tall glass filled with ice and a wide metal straw.
What are the Benefits of Frappé?
Frappé has a sweetness to it, even without the added sugar. The frothy coffee is smooth, light, and refreshing compared to traditional cold or iced coffee.
What Makes a Frappé Thick?
The heaving, shaking, and whipping of the coffee with sugar introduces air bubbles to the drink. Resulting in a more viscous liquid.
What Does a Frappé Taste Like?
Frappé has a rich and creamy milkshake texture with a subtle coffee flavor. It has a complex blend of bitterness and sweetness accented by a smooth mouthfeel.
How Unhealthy is a Frappé?
Traditional Greek frappé is as healthy as any milk or iced coffee. However, modern iterations that use ice cream, syrups, or whipped cream have much higher sugar and calorie levels.
While Greek frappé can be consumed daily, health-conscious coffee drinkers should avoid daily consumption of syrup and cream.
Is a Frappe better than a Latte?
Frappé and latte are completely different drinks that can't be directly compared. Latte requires an espresso machine and fresh coffee grounds. While enjoying frappé only requires a cocktail shaker.
The cold frappé is a summer treat and the warm latte is a morning ritual.
What Milk is Best for Frappé?
Frappé can be enjoyed with any type of milk. You can even use milk alternatives like coconut and almond milk.
Frappé is a simple coffee drink that can be customized to your heart’s content. It uses simple, universally available ingredients to make a rich, wonderful cold tall of goodness. While a frappé machine might seem like a good idea, it’s not necessary.
While modern iterations of the drink have their merit, nothing beats the classic.