What is a Frappe, thumbnail

Here’s What a Frappe is: Meaning, History, Recipes + More

Order a frappe in Greece, and you’ll get a frothy, sweetened coffee with several ice cubes. In France, you’ll get a glass of coffee, some ice and ice cream all blended together. While the American frappe consists of coffee, milk, ice, sugar and whipped cream. So many variants of the same drink that can make you wonder – what is a frappe?

A frappe is a Nescafe instant coffee-based drink made with ice, water, and sugar, served in a tall glass.

This beverage is both cold and sweet, which makes it the perfect choice for those hot summer days.

Alternatively, you can use hot chocolate, tea, or juice instead of coffee.

But is frappe the same as milkshake, iced latte, or frappuccino?

And how do you make a frappe?

We’ll tackle these questions and more below!

What Does Frappe Mean?

„Frappe” is a French word, meaning iced or frozen, which is derived from “frapper” meaning “to beat/knock”.

Loosely translated, frappe refers to a frozen drink or a drink blended with ice that has slushy consistency.

That’s where the traditional caffè frappè recipe comes from i.e. ice with coffee.

The History of Frappe

The Greeks invented frappe by accident, back in 1957, at the International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki.

One of the Nestlé company’s representatives, Dimitris Vakondios, was showing off an instant chocolate-and milk-based drink for children that’s made in a shaker.

After the presentation, the man wanted to take a break and enjoy a cup of Nescafe Classic coffee himself.

However, for some reason, he couldn’t find any hot water so instead, he decided to use cold water with some instant coffee, sugar, and ice cubes and mix it all in a shaker.

Then foreign tourists coming to Greece introduced the frappe to the rest of the world.

All of this eventually led to the various variations of this drink.

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Frappe Variations

There several main frappe variations alongside the standard frappe recipe and here they are:

1. Traditional Frappe

It consists of 2 teaspoons of Nescafe, water, ice and sugar.

Also, it has a creamy texture at the bottom that becomes foamy around the top of the glass that you serve it in.

2. Frappe with Milk

This variation consists of 2 teaspoons of Nescafe, milk, ice and sugar.

As a result, it has an even creamer texture than the traditional version.

3. Frappe with Ice Cream

This one is almost the same as a traditional frappe but with the addition of some ice cream on top.

And here’s how it’s done:

  1. Mix the ingredients well
  2. Pour the mix into a tall glass, leaving around 1 to 2 inches from the glass rim
  3. Add 1 or 2 scoops of ice cream.

4. Bulgarian Frappe

The Bulgarian version of a frappe generally uses Coca-Cola instead of water when making this drink.

What is a Frappe, a woman drinking frappe coffee at a coffee shop

How to Make a Frappe?

Here’s how to make a frappe at home, nice and easy:

You’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons of ground coffee (or Nescafe instant coffee )
  • 15 ice cubes
  • ½ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • dessert topping (optionally)


  1. Brew the coffee grounds with ½ cup of water
  2. Add ice cubes, milk, sugar, and topping in a blender
  3. Keep blending the ingredients until the mix is consistent
  4. Add coffee and blend for another 2-3 minutes

You can also add chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla syrup.

Or you can even add some alcohol (liqueurs) to make your frappes even more tasteful and different.

But if you don’t have a blender, simply add these ingredients to a shaker and shake it for 5 to 7 minutes!

Do Frappes Taste Like Coffee?

Yes, frappes generally taste like coffee although not as overwhelming as the taste of “purer” coffee drinks like espresso.

The main ingredients of frappe (water, milk, and ice cubes) dilute the drink quite a bit.

And while the coffee taste will still be present, it’ll probably be rather underwhelming for some hardcore coffee aficionados.

What is a frappe, different milkshakes

What is the Difference Between a Frappe and a Milkshake?

The biggest difference is that frappe is made with coffee, while a milkshake isn’t.

  • Frappe (traditional) – Coffee, milk, sugar and ice cubes
  • Milkshake – Milk, ice cream and flavors (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry etc.)

All of this means you need no coffee to make a milkshake and no ice cream to make a regular cup of frappe, although some baristas use ice cream and ice cream toppings when making frappes.

Moreover, frappe lets you cut down some extra calories if you’re on a diet.

A milkshake on the other hand is rich in calories, fats, and sugars, making it much more calorie-dense than a frappe.

Not only that but a caffe frappe is thick and creamy while a milkshake is more forthy.

What is the Difference Between Frappe and Frappuccino?

Frappe is a coffee-based iced drink that’s sometimes served with toppings/whipped cream.

While frappuccino is a mix of milkshake and cappuccino (espresso+foamed+steamed milk), which is a Starbucks trademark.

Starbucks also has other similar drinks on offer (besides the espresso-based frappuccino) and several flavors, such as Mocha and Vanilla.

What is the Difference Between Latte and Frappe?

Frappe is an icy drink, while latte is a hot beverage (although you can make a cold latte as well).

To make a latte you need hot espresso, while a frappe is made with room-temperature instant coffee.

Frappes have 65-125 mg of caffeine per cup, and lattes have 75-150 mg of caffeine per serving.

Also, the latte has a smoother texture and more intense flavor, while the frappe is sweeter.

Additionally, the milk helps with achieving the thick consistency of a frappe while you can use skimmed milk to make a latte.

What is a frappe, smoothie variations

Frappe vs Smoothie

The main difference between the two is that you don’t use coffee to make smoothies.

And you don’t use fruits and/or veggies to make frappes.

The smoothie drink is a healthier version of a frappe made of fresh ingredients, seeds, protein powder, ice cubes, and plant-based milk.

This means no artificial sugars or sweeteners that typically find their way into frappes.

What is a McDonald’s Frappe?

McDonald’s frappe is a creamy and thick icy drink with a hint of coffee, caramel and mocha flavor, and whipped cream on top.

This particular beverage was introduced by the popular fast-food chain back in 2009.

Their frappe comes with loads of sugar and offers a high dose of caffeine (125 mg), while the medium mocha frappe has 13 grams of fats, 510 calories, and 66 grams of sugar.

McDonald’s partnered with Coca-Cola and the two companies launched a bottled version of the frappe without any whipped cream.

Originally, they were selling small, 13.7-oz. bottles of the stuff.

But then McD’s went for supersized (40-oz.) bottles that counted 270 more calories, 45 grams of sugar, and 3.5 grams of saturated fat.

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How Long Does a Frappe Last?

Frappe is only good for around 10 to 20 minutes after it’s served.

If you don’t consume it within this timeframe, the ice cubes will melt.

This will dilute your drink even further and it won’t be as cold at the same time.

Can You Keep Frappe in the Fridge?

You definitely can if you consume bottled frappes.

However, if you make frappes at home, we wouldn’t recommend keeping them in the fridge or freezing them.

Once you freeze a frappe, it turns into ice, and then, when you unfreeze it, the ice starts melting.

This makes the beverage lose its original flavor, texture and simply becomes – blah.

Are Frappes Bad for You?

Although we mentioned that a frappe has fewer calories than a milkshake, it can have more calories than a latte if prepared with high-fat milk.

Consuming several glasses of frappe a day can certainly make you gain some weight if you’re adding plenty of high-fat milk!

But hey – you can try a healthier version of the regular frappe.

Here’s how:

  1. Freeze a banana
  2. Add some leftover, cold coffee, ice cubes, skimmed milk and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  3. Blend it all in a blender


The Frappe – a cold, dessert-like beverage that’s ideal for summers, that’s still way different than frappuccinos or iced latte drinks.

Sure, it might not be the cup of tea for many coffee snobs.

But caffe frappe is still undeniably tasty and a true revelation during those scorching hot summer days, especially if you’re on the beach!

Now, do you prefer frappes or frappuccinos?

And have you tried the Bulgarian version of a frappe?

Leave a comment in the section below!

Last update on 2023-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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