So, what is a Frappe exactly? Well, it consists of four simple ingredients: instant coffee, water, sugar, and milk. Essentially, the frappe is a cold coffee drink. It can be made using either cold water or ice cubes. As long as a result is a chilled coffee, everything’s fair.

The one defining characteristic of a frappe, however, is the thick foam that forms on top. This is achieved by preparing the drink in a shaker or otherwise whipping the drink before serving. Because of the foam, the frappe is served with a straw— that’s the most telling sign of the frappe. The same is true for frappe-inspired drinks, like the frappuccino.

History of Frappe Coffee

Frappe is a french term referring to chilled drinks. “Iced” drinks would be “á la glace,” so they shortened it to just one word in most cases: frappe.

These drinks were not uncommon in Europe starting the 19th century. This is when ice became more available for the general population. But the real explosion of cold coffee came about in Greece in the 1950s.

Athens Greece In the 1950s - Coffee Explosion

The inventor of this drink was promoting a cold version of hot cocoa. He would use powdered cocoa, milk, and cold water. He made it in front of potential clients and then presented them with the innovative drink. However, whenever he had a break, he would make it with a twist. He’d add instant coffee instead of cocoa to give him an energy boost.

The drink took the entire country by storm. In no time, it started appearing all over the world.

Nowadays, this drink is one of the coffee drinks favored by Greek people. They are generally biased towards cold coffee. This just a few decades after the invention of the Fredo Espresso.

The Freddo Espresso is somewhat of a more gourmet version of the frappe. Instead of using instant coffee, a shot of espresso is used. It is then sweetened and chilled simultaneously by adding a scoop of ice cream. Yummy!

How to Make a Frappe

Luckily for all of us, preparing a refreshing and energizing frappe is quite simple and can be done in a minute or two.


  • 1.7 oz (very) cold water
  • 1 oz of instant coffee (less/more to taste)
  • 7 oz cold milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Ice cubes (optional)

How to make:

  1. Mix water with instant coffee and sugar. Shake vigorously using a shaker or an electrical whip.
  2. Once evenly mixed, pour milk and ice cubes. Shake again for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Pour. A thick foam should rest on top of the drink.
  4. Enjoy!

You can also watch this awesome video below.

What is a Frappe vs Frappuccino?

More known outside of Europe, particularly in recent times, is the frappuccino. A frappuccino is a drink inspired by the frappe, but that has adapted itself to the tastes of newer, younger coffee drinkers.

The frappuccino is actually a Starbucks registered trademark, meaning it’s technically an exclusive Starbucks drink. By merging frappe with a cappuccino, you get the frappuccino: a drink with all the refreshing qualities of the frappe with the delicious foamy milk of the cappuccino.

Over the years, the frappuccino has shapeshifted enough to be quite far from being just a mix between frappe and cappuccino. Nowadays, frappuccinos are sweetened and flavored with caramel and chocolate syrup and use whipped cream instead of foam.

A frappe, a simple drink sweetened with just a couple spoonfuls of sugar, seems almost contrary to the frappuccino.

Greek-Style Frappe Recipe

Even traditions change. Here, we’ll teach you a couple of ways of making this drink that is also common in its homeland of Greece.


  • 1.7 oz cold water
  • (Nestlé is the brand traditionally used in Greece) 1 oz instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp condensed milk
  • 7 oz milk
  • 2 ice cubes

How to make:

  1. Start by mixing sugar, instant coffee, and water. Whip or shake thoroughly until completely dissolved.
  2. Add milk and ice cubes; shake vigorously again.
  3. Pour into a tall glass.
  4. Now, add condensed milk and stir carefully in a circular motion.
  5. Enjoy!

Frappe vs. Latte

The original recipe is quite similar to the latte. It is a concentrated coffee in a drink that is mostly milk. And since we shake the frappe, it becomes frothy. Even the foamy layer on top of both drinks is similar!

The main difference, of course, is that frappe uses instant coffee, and a latte uses espresso!

Frappe Mocha

A frappe mocha or mocha frappe uses chocolate syrup and/or whipped cream. It makes for a sweeter, dessert-like coffee beverage.

Mocha coffee is essentially the same. So, what’s the difference? It is prepared with brewed coffee or espresso instead of instant coffee. Mocha is one of the most popular coffee shop menu items.

To make this drink:

  • Prepare a frappe as usual
  • Add chocolate or cocoa into the mix
  • Add whipped cream on top
  • Drizzle generously with chocolate syrup

Caramel Frappe

The caramel frappe is a caramel-flavored version. This drink is also prepared by adding whipped cream on top. This extra step is mostly done by fast-food chains. However, a hipster coffee shop will probably skip the whipped cream.

Caramel Frappe

To prepare a caramel frappe, add caramel sauce to the mix and shake. Pour and add whipped cream on top of your coffee. Now drizzle with caramel sauce, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, refreshing caramel frappe!

Further Reading

Are Frappes Unhealthy?

It all depends on what kind you’re drinking. The most basic of frappes will only have milk and sugar. These two ingredients can potentially be unhealthy. However, you can easily substitute for healthier foods.

For example, whole milk can be substituted for skimmed milk. Vegetable milk can be equally low in fat. Also, by reducing fat, you are crafting a much healthier beverage. The other issue is sugar, which is one of the most straightforward ingredients to replace. Use any sugar-free sweetener to make for a lighter, healthier coffee.

If those two conditions are met, then you can enjoy frappe without giving it a second thought. However, the amount of sugar and milk in a regular frappe is low enough for one to enjoy it once in a while without it being unhealthy! Enjoy yourself!

Do Frappes Make you Gain Weight?

Sugar and fat contain quite a few calories. An excess of calories will translate into excess weight. However, as we mentioned before, the amount of these two ingredients in a frappe is unlikely to contribute to weight gain. This is as long as it’s consumed in moderation!

A cup of whole milk has 146 calories, and two tablespoons of sugar contain around 100 calories. All in all, a tall glass of frappe has under 300 calories!

What’s more, if you swap whole milk for skimmed and sugar for artificial sweetener, you have a beverage under 100 calories.

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Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris, a bonafide coffee brewing and tasting enthusiast, is the founder of Coffee Shop Lady. She writes for regular coffee drinkers who like being informed about the best coffee beans from around the world, espresso machines, coffee makers, grinders, and delicious coffee drinks and recipes.