Frappe Vs Frappuccino – Famous Iced Coffee Drinks Explained

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frappuccino with a green straw

Frappe vs Frappuccino – ever wondered what the difference is?

They’re both coffee drinks.

They’re both iced.

And, they’re both incredibly delicious.

Still, they’re not the same drink. Although the names sound similar, there are actually quite a few key differences between them.

In this article, I’m going to tell you all about them. We’ll take a close look at both drinks, and compare them side by side to see exactly how they differ from each other.

Let’s get started!

The Frappe

frappe with a beach backdrop

A traditional frappe is an iced coffee drink that originated in Greece. Today, it’s popular all over the world. Still – it’s especially popular in Europe, particularly in Southern European countries.

It’s made using instant coffee, whipped together with water, sugar, and milk. This concoction is typically served over ice. In some cases, you might even get a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it.

It isn’t officially trademarked, although you might sometimes hear it referred to as a Nescafe frappé. But, that’s only because Nescafe is the most common brand of instant coffee used to make a frappé in most cafes throughout Europe.

how to make a frappe recipe

Making an authentic Greek frappe at home couldn’t be easier.

All you need is a handheld frappe mixer or milk frother (same thing, different name), and the following ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of instant coffee
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • A splash of milk (or evaporated milk)
  • A few ice cubes
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar (to taste)

To make this refreshing iced coffee drink, just put the instant coffee, sugar, and a few teaspoons of cold water in a tall glass. Then, use your handheld milk frother to whiz it together until it forms a thick, creamy foam. 

Next, throw in the ice cubes and milk, and fill the glass to the top with cold water. 

If you’re feeling extra decadent, you can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sub the cold water for cold milk. That way, your frappe will be extra creamy – sort of like an iced latte.

And that’s all there is to it! 

Quick, easy, refreshing and delicious. 

What more could you ask for?

The Frappuccino

frappuccino on a wooden table

A Frappuccino is a blended iced coffee drink, usually topped with whipped cream and syrup.

This drink is made using freshly brewed black coffee from ground coffee beans. The coffee is blended with milk, cream, ice, and syrup. What you end up with is a sweet, creamy iced coffee drink with a thick consistency. 

An Espresso Frappuccino is made using both freshly brewed black coffee, and a shot of freshly brewed espresso.

It may or may not also have additional flavoring, like caramel, chocolate, or pumpkin spice, to name a few.

Actually, a Frappuccino doesn’t actually have to have coffee in it at all. Some Frappuccino variants are just blended ice, milk, and flavored syrup. Kind of like a milkshake, but not quite as thick since milkshakes have ice cream in them, which a Frappuccino does not.

Unlike the frappe, the Frappuccino is actually a brand – trademarked by Starbucks.

how to make a frappuccino recipe

Why go through the hassle of venturing out and waiting in line for a Starbucks Frappuccino, when you can make one at home that tastes just as good?

As far as equipment goes, all you need is a blender. 

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to gather:

  • 1 cup of freshly brewed black coffee or a double espresso
  • 1 cup of milk or heavy cream
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 3 tablespoons of Frappuccino base syrup
  • 1 dash of flavored syrup (optional)
  • Whipped cream for topping (optional)

So, how do you make one exactly?

Easy peasy!

Just throw the coffee, Frappuccino syrup, flavored syrup, ice, and milk (or cream, or both – heck, why not?) into the blender and blend until smooth. If you’re using espresso instead of black coffee, add an extra ⅔ of a cup of milk or water. 

To serve, pour it into a glass, and top with whipped cream and a drizzle of syrup.

You might be wondering what a Frappuccino base syrup is.

Well, here’s the deal:

If you really want to go all out and make a Frappuccino that has that perfect consistency you get every time at Starbucks, you’ll need to use a base syrup. 

You can make one at home by simmering 3 quarters of a cup of sugar and half a cup of water on low heat to create a simple syrup. Then, pour the simple syrup into a blender and blend with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a teaspoon of xanthan gum powder. 

When you’re making a Frappuccino, just add some base syrup into the mix and blend it in with the rest of the ingredients. It’ll make your blended coffee drink so smooth and creamy you’ll be drooling all over it.

Note: you should use around 3 tablespoons of base syrup for a 16 oz Frappuccino.

Frappe Vs Frappuccino: 5 Key Differences

frappes in plastic cups

Now that we’ve looked at what a frappe is and what a Frappuccino is, let’s compare them side by side to see what the main differences are.

The Origin

For starters, the frappe originates in Greece, and is much more of a European iced coffee drink than it is an American one.

The frappe isn’t trademarked, while the Frappuccino is a trademarked Starbucks brand. 

So, being a trademarked Starbucks drink, the Frappuccino originated right here in the US. The term was actually first coined in Boston in 1995, by crossing over the words frappe and cappuccino. 

And not because it’s a mix between the two, but because the word frappe actually has an entirely different meaning in Boston.  

Fun fact: In Boston, a frappe is a milkshake made with ice cream. So, nothing to do with coffee.

The Equipment

Another thing that’s very different is the hardware you need to whip up each of these iced coffee drinks. 

Both iced coffee drinks only require one tool. However, it’s an entirely different tool in question.

See, to make a Frappuccino, you need a blender. 

To make a frappe, on the other hand, you’ll need a handheld frappe mixer. 

These are small, light and cheap. What’s neat about that is that you can take one with you wherever you go and enjoy frappes on the road.

person holding a frappuccino with whipped cream

The Coffee 

Next – and this might very well be the most important difference – the coffee.

A Frappuccino is made using either black filter coffee, or espresso. A frappe, however, is made using instant coffee. 

Now, this is a pretty huge difference.

Filter coffee and espresso, both made using real ground coffee, are both going to produce a much better quality base than instant coffee. That’s just facts, right there. 

That’s why I personally prefer a freddo cappuccino over a caffe frappe. The freddo cappuccino is another popular Greek iced coffee beverage – it’s made with espresso and topped with a thick milk cream. 

The Ice

Moving on to the ice.

The main difference here is that a Frappuccino has the ice blended into it. Because of this, it has a thick, slushy consistency.

A frappe is simply poured over ice cubes – which aren’t blended into the drink. So, unlike a Frappuccino, a caffe frappe is completely liquid. That is, unless it has a scoop of ice cream in it.

The Syrup

And to finish up – let’s talk syrup.

Both drinks might have a drizzle of flavored syrup – chocolate or caramel, for instance. 

Admittedly, it’s more commonly found in a Frappuccino than a frappe. A frappe usually hasn’t got any additional flavoring.

But that’s not the syrup I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is something called Frappuccino base syrup.

It’s a syrup made of sugar, water, and xanthan gum. They use a base syrup to make the Frappuccinos at Starbucks, and it’s essential to getting the right consistency when you try to recreate them at home.

If you’ve been trying to make the perfect Frap, and you’re just not satisfied with the results – it’s probably because you haven’t been using a base syrup.

Like I said earlier, you can make one at home really easily. Just make a simple syrup with ¾ of a cup of sugar and ½ a cup of water, and mix it in the blender with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a teaspoon of xanthan powder.

frappe vs frappuccino table


So, now you know the difference. 

But, you might still have some questions about these drinks that we didn’t cover. If that’s the case, don’t worry – we’ve still got some more info coming your way.

Here are some of the most common frap questions, answered.

Does a Frappuccino contain caffeine?

So, the deal with Frappuccinos is that they sometimes do have coffee in them, and then again they sometimes don’t.

There are coffee based Frappuccinos, and Creme Frappuccinos. A Creme Frappuccino usually doesn’t contain any caffeine – just milk, cream, and flavored syrup.

Coffee based Frappuccinos, however, do contain caffeine. 

That being said, they don’t always actually contain coffee.

What do I mean?

Well, the Coffee Frappuccino and the Espresso Frappuccino do feature actual coffee. However, all the other coffee based Frappuccinos on the Starbucks menu don’t actually have any coffee in  them. 

Instead, they have a few pumps of what’s called a Frappuccino roast. It’s like a kind of instant coffee dissolved in water at room temperature, and that’s where those drinks get their caffeine.

How many calories are there in a frappe vs Frappuccino?

frappe from above

The amount of calories in a Frappuccino depends on which flavor you get. 

Here’s the deal when it comes to coffee based Frappuccinos:

A grande Espresso Frappuccino only has 210 calories – less than any other flavor. It’s followed closely by the Coffee Frappuccino, which only has 230.

Then you’ve got the Mocha Frappuccino and the Caramel Frappuccino – they’ve each got more calories. A grande Mocha has 370, while a grande Caramel has 380.

On the high end of the scale, you have flavors like the White Chocolate Mocha, Java Chip and Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccinos. These have 420, 440 and 480 calories in the grande size.

So, how does a frappe compare?

Well, a classic Greek frappe made with 2 teaspoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of evaporated milk will have around 75 calories all up. So yeah – definitely a lot less than any Starbucks Frappuccino, to put it lightly. 

And get this –

If you make a frappe without adding sugar or milk, it can have as little as 7 calories!

What’s the difference between a latte and a frappe?

There are 3 main differences between a latte and a frappe:

  • The temperature they’re served at
  • The type of coffee used to make them
  • The amount of milk

While there is such a thing as an iced latte, if you order a latte without specifying that you want it iced – your drink will be served warm. A frappe, however, is a beverage that is always served cold.

But, even if you were to order an iced latte, it would still be different to a frappe.

How so?

Well, take the type of coffee used to make these drinks. A latte is made using freshly brewed espresso. A frappe, like I said earlier, is made using instant coffee.

What’s more, a frappe is made using only a splash of milk, and around a cup of cold water. On the other hand, a latte is made without any water – except the water used to brew the espresso. Instead, it has a whole lot of milk in it.

latte vs frappe comparison table

The Bottom Line

As you can see, other than a similar name, the Frappuccino and the frappe have very little in common. 

In fact, they’re about as different as iced coffee drinks can get from each other.

A Frappuccino is a blended drink with coffee, milk and ice. It’s usually flavored with syrup and topped with whipped cream and more syrup.

A frappe is a whipped instant coffee drink served over ice, topped with milk and cold water.

And to think – all that confusion just because the Frappuccino got its name in Boston, where a frappe is an ice cream milkshake.

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Viktorija Jovanovic
Viktorija is a trained barista and chronic iced coffee addict. Aside from great coffee, she loves photography, road trips, and spending time in nature with her dog, Bane.