What Is A Frappe?

You will have heard the term Frappe before, or maybe even it’s sister term, the Frappuccino.

But what exactly is a frappe, and why is it one of the most popular drinks you can buy in the likes of Starbucks coffee chains?

A modern-day frappe is simply a chilled drink that has been blended. The term means “beaten” in French. It does not have to be made with coffee but it usually is, so will commonly consist of brewed coffee, ice, and other additives such as milk, sugar, flavoured syrups, and whipped cream.

It is a popular drink at chains such as McDonald’s, where different flavours are usually available, such as the Caramel Iced Frappe.

What Is The Difference Between A Frappe And A Frappuccino?

A Frappuccino is a portmanteau of words “lait frappé” and cappuccino. The former is the New England name from the French for a milkshake with ice cream, and a cappuccino, of course, is an espresso coffee with frothed milk.

So, frappuccino traditionally refers to when a cappuccino is mixed with a milkshake. Thanks to the milky coffee and use of milkshake, it is often creamier than a frappe, which will usually just use plain brewed coffee and add things such as milk or cream.

Takeaway Frappuccino

If you go to a coffee shop which isn’t Starbucks however, the menu will likely only be able to offer you a frappe. Why? Starbucks trademarked the name and now the milkshake is usually at the forefront, with added flavours such as coffee. However, there are a number of offerings now that do not contain any coffee.

You can buy decaf versions or ones with particular syrups and additions such as chocolate chips. The chain also sells frappuccinos in bottles, which are available from stores and supermarkets. You may also remember the Unicorn Frappuccino, which went viral in 2017.

How To Make A Frappe

First of all, frappes are usually made with a blender, so it is essential you have one of these to hand in order to get the right consistency.

You will also need really good quality black coffee as a base. Using a coffee blend (not single-origin) is usually best for a non-bitter taste, and making it in a 

But the good news is that there is no technical recipe for it. It’s technically just a cold blended drink, like a slushie. Because it doesn’t need to contain coffee, you can also just have a fruit frappe (although of course, that is not something we condone…)

The recipe can vary around the world, too. In Greece you may be served a sweetened coffee, shaken until frothy and poured over ice cubes; France usually serves coffee, ice cream and ice whizzed together in a blender; America takes it up a notch, with coffee blended with milk, sugar and ice, topped with whipped cream.

Mocha frappes are also popular, with added chocolate or chocolate powder.

How To Make A Frappe
Credit: BBC Good Food

Our favourite recipe for a coffee frappe comes from BBC Good Food, who keep things nice and simple, so you can experiment with the base:

  • 200ml strong coffee, chilled
  • 50ml whole milk
  • 1-3 tsp sugar syrup
  • 2-3 handfuls ice cubes
  • Ice cream or whipped cream to serve (optional)


  1. Pour the coffee into a blender with the milk and 2 to 3 handfuls of ice cubes. Add some of the sugar syrup, but not too much as you can always add more at the end to make it sweeter
  2. Blend until the ice is broken into an icy slush and is foamy. Pour into a tall glass, and add the ice or whipped cream to serve

The sugar syrup can be made really easily using one of the recipes online, or you can keep a flavoured coffee syrup to hand for when the frappe mood takes you.

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