What Is a Frappe

A frappe is a cold coffee drink made with instant coffee, water, ice and added sugar, depending on the taste. What makes it any different from an iced latte or frappuccino is actually coffee and sweeteners and whether milk or water is used. 

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Benefits of a Frappe

On top of the general health benefits of coffee – you know, caffeine that makes you energized boosts your metabolism and helps you lose weight, frappe is cold. It’s ice-cold served; therefore, this makes it an amazing summer drink. Also, ice is helping the coffee lose a bit of acidity; as we all know, iced mocha is less acidic. So the ice in here helps us too. 

How Does a Frappe Work

Even though the drink comes with different recipes, the main idea is basic. It’s instant coffee, water, sugar and ice. What makes it creamy -rather than the addition of creams- is the foam that instant coffee and sugar form together when shaken. On top of the simplest version, you can always customize it with different types of milk, cream, sweeteners and even syrups. 

Short History of Frappe

The name of the frappe comes from the french word “to hit.” Even though the name of the frappe comes from the French language, how the first frappe was originated is actually a little more complicated. In 1957 in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, a Nescafe representative decided to have a coffee break but couldn’t find any hot water. Therefore he decided to mix it with cold water and added a little sugar. That was how the frappe we know today was born! 

Pros and Cons of Drinking Frappe


  • Very customizable 
  • Cold! Perfect for summer days
  • Requires straightforward ingredients 


  • Might be very high in calories and caffeine 
  • You may need some equipment to mix it well 

Types of Frappes

Types of Frappes

Greek Frappe

A Greek version of frappe is the simplest form of frappe. It only consists of instant coffee, water, ice and sugar. With a good shake and lots of foam – of course-. You add a tiny bit of water to the desired amount of coffee and sugar. Then you mix it either with a cocktail shaker or a hand mixer. The foamy mixture is then diluted with cold water and served with ice cubes. 

American Frappe

Even with the same name – well, a different “e”- American frappe is completely different from the Greek version. There is no detailed information if the name of this drink comes from the Greek drink or the Boston area, a term of a thick milkshake. Even though the recipe has changed quite a few times, today’s recipe consists of coffee and ice, including milk, sugar, flavored syrups, and whipped cream. 

New England Frappe

This version seems more similar to a milkshake. The drink is simply a blend of ice cream, syrup, and milk. Even though it is also called frappe, as you can see, there is no coffee in this version.  

Instant Coffee Frappe

We can that this is the main version of the frappe. Even though the modern version is done with espresso, traditionally, a frappe is done with instant coffee. It surely gives you a smooth coffee taste and when mixed well with sugar and water, it helps you create that creamy, silky foam. 

Frappe Variations


Sugar is usually added during the whipping part in the beginning. But if you don’t like the sugar taste or want to maintain your weight. You can skip it and use sweeteners afterward. 

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The same thing goes with milk as well. As the original frappe is done with water anyway, you don’t need milk. You may replace the water with milk and replace the milk with other milk types. 

Traditional vs Modern

Frappe Variations

Traditional frappe is very simple. It also will be the base for all the changes you can make to the recipe. For example, in traditional frappe, we use instant coffee, but in the Modern version, people prefer stronger tastes, so 2 shots of espresso are shaken with sugar and ice. Then when the mixture is mixed well and foam has appeared, it is served in a tall glass with cold water. 

Replacing the Water

As frappe is traditionally done with water, it’s not necessary to use only water. Water can be replaced with milk (and different kinds of milk), evaporated milk and even ice cream. The change depends on your taste and mood. 

Frappe vs Similar Coffees

Frappe vs Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is a simple espresso mixed with cold water and ice. Even though both frappe and iced coffee have water and coffee as their main ingredient. Iced coffee doesn’t have the consistency of a frappe that comes from the whipping. There is also a newer version of iced coffee. Cold-brew is a relatively new type of coffee that requires a long-brewing time. 

Frappe vs Iced Latte

A traditional Latte is a coffee, steamed milk and a thin layer of foam. The first difference when it comes to latte and frappe is their origins. Frappe is originated in Greece and Latte in Italian. Secondly, Latte can be cold or hot; frappe is always -but always- cold. Finally, caffe latte contains espresso, whereas you can make frappe with instant coffee.

To make quality espresso, the secret is using quality ingredients. You can choose quality beans and roast them; dark roasted beans have a bittersweet or toasty taste. You may also use a premium automatic espresso machine

Frappe vs Frappuccino

As you can understand from the name as well, a frappuccino is somewhere in between a frappe and a cappuccino. Frappuccino is made with espresso, milk, sugar, ice and any choice of sweetener and aerated cream. Depending on the type of Frappuccino you want, you may also add any syrups; coffee syrups boost the taste of your coffee.  

How to Make a Frappe

Step 1 – Get your ingredients ready

You need instant coffee for a traditional frappe. Use the world’s best instant coffee for better quality. First, put the wanted amount of instant coffee; we recommended 2 tablespoons per person. Then add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Again you can make it sugarless, so it is up to your taste. Finally, add 1 tablespoon of water only! 

Step 2 – Mix it well

You may use a hand blender or a mixer to have the perfectly frothed milk. The color should change from a darker brown to a lighter brown and a creamy consistency. 

Step 3 – Add the coffee cream

Put the coffee cream you have into a tall glass and top it with ice. It is important the serve the frappe cold. You can then fill the cup with cold water and give it a little mix. Voila! There you have your homemade frappe! 

At this point, you have the base -as to say classic- frappe. From now on, you can spice it up by adding ingredients to your taste. Any syrups, creams or toppings. It is up to your taste but doesn’t forget coffee creamer will increase the calorie count of your coffee. You may even add some alcohol if you like that kick in your coffee, but remember, coffee cocktails don’t need to have alcohol in them


Do’s and Don’ts With a Frappe



  • Add too much water at the beginning.
  • Add too many ingredients if you are worried about your weight.
  • Drink multiple times a day as it may be high in both calorie content and caffeine content.

FAQ About Frappe

Does a frappe have coffee in it?

The original recipe of frappe definitely has coffee in it. Only the frappe that is known in New England has no coffee in it. 

Is frappe bad for you?

Well, not really. As we consider, the frappe only has sugar, water and coffee in it. It cannot be bad for you, but it can be filled with additional calories as the drink is very customizable. So adding too many syrups, creams and sweeteners may boost the calorie content way too much. 

Do frappes make you gain weight?

Not at all. Unless you add many ingredients that boost the calorie content of your drink, you are good to go. Plus, you can always adjust your daily calorie intake even if you drizzle some caramel on top of your frappe. 

FAQ About Frappe

How much caffeine is in a Greek frappe?

It’s a fact that some coffee beans have a higher caffeine level, but when it comes to frappe, it is quite high. Mainly because people usually use more than 2 tablespoons of coffee for 1 glass. A normal glass contains about 400mg of caffeine. 

What makes a frappe thick?

Simple! The foam you have created with the coffee and a tiny bit of water in the beginning. That foamy consistency you achieved while whipping is what makes your coffee very thick and creamy. 

How do you drink a frappe?

Most people prefer to serve frappe in a large tall drink and topped with lots of ice. Of course, with a straw! As we already mentioned, it is possible to change the recipe as we want it. So you can replace the water with milk or milk variations, you can add a big ball of ice cream on top or even add some alcohol. 

Why is my frappe watery?

You may overdo the addition of water to the coffee in the beginning. Therefore it would cause your coffee to be watery. 

How much coffee is in a McDonald’s frappe?

A regular medium-sized McDonald’s frappe has around 90-125mg of caffeine in them. As we know, a normal frappe contains 400mg of caffeine that equals two tablespoons of coffee. So it will be okay to say that a regular medium-sized McDonald’s frappe has around one tablespoon, so half the amount you would do at home. 


Frappe is an amazing cold drink customized by your own taste and definitely a classic that everybody needs to try in their lifetime. There are hardly any rules to make it and it lets you express your creativity. Better not overdo it tho, especially if you are trying to control your calorie and caffeine intake. 

Photos from: Kesu01 / depositphotos.com, xMarshallfilms / depositphotos.com, BarbaraNeveu / depositphotos.com and resnick_joshua1 / depositphotos.com.

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