Frappe vs Frappuccino

There is almost no way that you haven’t heard of a Frappuccino before, but the word frappe may sound foreign depending on where you live. Truth be told, these two drinks are as similar to each other as their names sound, and they are both delicious beverages.

Even though these two drinks are very similar to each other, there are a few subtle differences between the two that we can put into consideration to make a choice. Today we will be taking a deep dive into topics such as how these drinks originated, how they are prepared, what separates them from each other, and many more to understand the difference between a frappe and a Frappuccino.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

What Is the Difference Between a Frappe and a Frappuccino?

While there are other differences we will be talking about down the line, let’s start with the biggest difference between these two drinks.

A frappe is a Greek iced coffee drink that is made with instant coffee, water, sugar, and optionally milk. On the other hand, Frappuccino is a Starbucks trademarked iced drink that could be prepared with either coffee or crème base, milk, ice, whipped cream, and different types of flavored syrups.


A frappe is a Greek iced coffee drink prepared by blending instant coffee, sugar, and a small amount of water, which is then poured into a glass with ice cubes and cold water in it. If desired, milk can also be added to the glass.

The drink is usually served with a straw due to a layer of bitter-tasting foam that forms on top of the glass. The foam problem can be avoided altogether by using freeze-dried instant coffee or fresh coffee rather than spray-dried instant coffee as the foam is caused by the lack of oil in spray-dried instant coffee.

Traditionally, the recipe calls for instant coffee, but it’s also possible to use espresso for the frappe. While espresso introduces the problem of adding unneeded heat to the drink, it also makes for a better coffee base compared to instant coffee. Luckily, it’s possible to neutralize the heat of the espresso by adding enough ice, which is why we recommend using espresso over instant coffee.

Even though the original recipe doesn’t contain any flavored syrups, whipped cream, or topping,  it’s possible to customize the drink and add the flavors you enjoy, and top the drink with whipped cream and toppings of your choice. If you’ve never tried it before, we recommend adding vanilla syrup to the drink and adding caramel sauce on top of whipped cream as a topping.


Even though the name frappe comes from French, it was simply a word that described iced drinks. Iced coffee drinks such as regular iced coffee and slushes have been documented under the name of frappe in France, but the word itself wasn’t exactly used for the drink we know now.

The frappe we are used to seeing nowadays was invented in Greece in 1957. Dimitris Vakondios, who was a Nescafe representative at the time, was simply looking to have instant coffee on his break but couldn’t find any hot water to brew his coffee. For this reason, he decided to drink the coffee with cold water and ice cubes instead, which laid the groundwork for the creation of the frappe. The frappe became popular rather quickly in Greece, making it obvious that the drink was a success.

With Nestlè involved, frappe gained even more popularity through intensive marketing campaigns, to the point where the drink was inseparably linked with (it was even called Nescafé frappe at some point) Nestlè. Today, frappes are a cornerstone of Greek coffee culture.

New England Frappe

In New England, the word frappe has a slightly different meaning. To be able to understand the difference, let’s first take a look at the ingredients of a milkshake. You may be wondering what a milkshake has to do with all of this, and we can’t blame you for that, but hear us out.

As you know, a milkshake contains classic ingredients of milk, ice cream, and flavor syrups, which are blended to make a delicious beverage. Wherever you go, a milkshake is a milkshake, and there are no surprises when you receive your drink, except in New England.

If you order a milkshake in New England, you’ll realize that a vital component, ice cream, is missing. What you will end up with is milk and flavored syrups mixed to form a drink. While this drink is also a tasty one, it’s not exactly a milkshake. So, how do you get a regular milkshake in New England?

The answer is frappe. If you order a frappe in New England, you will receive a milkshake rather than the frappe we have been talking about all this time. If you ever make your way to New England, knowing this simple fact will surely save you some headache.

How to Make a Frappe at Home?

With a Blender

  1. Add instant coffee, sugar (or flavored syrup), and plenty of ice into your blender. If you want your frappe with milk, add milk as well.
  2. Blend on medium speed until it’s smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into your glass, and serve with a straw.

Greek Style (No Blender)

  1. Add coffee, sugar, and a small amount of water into a shaker.
  2. Shake until the mixture is foamy. It should take roughly 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Fill your glass with ice cubes and cold water. You can add milk as well if you wish to.
  4. Pour the mixture in your shaker into the glass, and serve with a straw.


A Frappuccino is a Starbucks trademarked iced drink, prepared by blending coffee or crème base, flavored syrup, milk, and ice. Almost all Frappuccinos are also topped with a layer of whipped cream and different toppings. 

Since there are a lot of options for customization at Starbucks, it’s possible to order your drink with different types of milk, sugar-free syrup, different toppings, and even different types of coffee. By default, the coffee used in a Frappuccino is called Frappuccino Roast, which is a blend created by Starbucks. The flavored syrup and toppings that are used vary from drink to drink, but you can always request different flavored syrups and toppings to be added to your drink and create a drink that consists of a whole different flavor profile.

Frappuccino Roast is a powder that is meant to be mixed with cold water, which allows the drink to be prepared without adding any hot coffee to it. While this is beneficial as hot coffee melts the ice, which results in the drink losing its texture, a lot of people prefer the taste of espresso over Frappuccino Roast. Compared to espresso, Frappuccino Roast is often considered to be more bitter, having a similar taste to instant coffee. 

Luckily, you can always ask for espresso to be used in your drink instead if you wish to. Since there is no decaf Frappuccino Roast, you’re forced to go with espresso if you’re looking for a decaf option. We feel like espresso is all around a better choice, so make sure to try your Frappuccino with an espresso shot if you haven’t yet.

If you prefer to have your Frappuccino without coffee, you can choose the crème base instead and enjoy a beverage that contains zero caffeine. Since flavors are added with flavored syrups and powders, the base you choose for your drink isn’t a limiting factor when it comes to choosing the flavor of your drink. Crème Frappuccinos are known for being sweeter and having a thicker consistency that is similar to a milkshake, but they also come with a larger amount of calories.


The word Frappuccino originates from the combination of cappuccino, an espresso-based coffee drink that we are all familiar with, and the New England version of frappe, which is a milkshake.

The Frappuccino drink was first created in New England, Massachusetts, by a coffee shop chain called The Coffee Connection.  When the franchise was sold to Starbucks later on, Starbucks also acquired the rights for Frappuccino. Eventually, the Frappuccino recipe was completely renewed to the version we are familiar with today.

Starbucks Frappuccino vs McDonald’s Frappe

Since the origin of frappe isn’t something that is widely known, most people think about the very popular McDonald’s Frappe when the word frappe gets thrown around. If you’ve been looking for a comparison between the Starbucks Frappuccino and the Mcdonald’s Frappe, we will be discussing it in this section.

Truth be told, both of these drinks are more or less the same in terms of taste, with the McDonald’s Frappe being slightly sweeter. As for the consistency of the drinks, there isn’t a lot to separate one from another. If we compare the McDonald’s Caramel Frappe and the Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino in terms of ingredients, they both contain whipped cream, caramel sauce, milk, ice, coffee, and caramel-flavored syrup. Considering that they contain the same ingredients, there is no surprise that they are quite alike in terms of taste and mouthfeel.

With that being said, the McDonalds Caramel Frappe has 140 more calories compared to the Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino, and it contains high fructose corn syrup, whereas the Starbucks Frappuccino doesn’t. By putting these facts into consideration, we can deduce that the Starbucks Frappuccino is most likely a better choice.

Choosing Between a Frappuccino and a Frappe

While a frappe can be customized in a way that makes it pretty similar to a Frappuccino by adding ingredients such as flavored syrups, whipped cream, and toppings, there are noticeable differences between the traditional Greek version of frappe and a Frappuccino. For this section, we will be comparing a traditional Frappe to a default Frappuccino.

The first difference is that while a frappe can’t be prepared without coffee, it’s possible to have a Frappuccino that contains cream instead of coffee. If you don’t enjoy the taste of coffee in your cold beverage, a Frappuccino can prove to be a good alternative to a frappe.

Even though the coffee used both in frappe and Frappuccino are similar, they aren’t the same. The original frappe recipe calls for instant coffee to be used, while a Starbucks-specific blend called Frappuccino Roast is used in Frappuccinos. 

While the original recipe of a frappe doesn’t require milk, a default Frappuccino is largely made up of milk. Milk adds a nice texture to the drink, but it also brings extra calories, meaning that there is a choice to be made.

In general, frappuccinos are extremely sweet due to the amount of flavored syrup, whipped cream, and toppings that are used. On the other hand, a frappe doesn’t have any of these things, making it a lighter option that is less sweet.

Putting it all together, we can say that frappe is a drink that is closer to an iced coffee where the drink tastes mostly of coffee, whereas a Frappuccino is more like a dessert that is prepared with coffee where the taste of coffee isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can frappes and Frappuccinos be hot?

Both frappes and Frappucinos are exclusively cold drinks, and they don’t have any hot variations.

Can you make a frappe without coffee?

Frappe is exclusively a coffee-based drink, which is why it’s not possible to prepare it without coffee.


Frappe is a confusing word due to being used for drinks that are completely different from each other, which is why we thought it would be a good idea to take a deep dive into its origins and clear the confusion surrounding it.

On the other hand, Frappuccino is a word that we are familiar with, but the origins of the drink and how it relates to a frappe is surely an interesting topic.

We hope that you enjoyed going on this journey with us and learned something new that will help you the next time you’re at the coffee shop.

Have a great day!