What is a Frappé?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A frappé or frappe is a cold blended drink, which may contain different ingredients depending on the region where it is made. The beverage has become especially popular in Europe and the United States, especially since many coffeehouses offer frappés with coffee as a crucial ingredient. As a general rule, a frappé is designed to be refreshing and enjoyable in hot weather. In addition to being available as a counter drink in many establishments, frappes can also be made at home relatively easily.

A frappé can be topped with whipped cream.
A frappé can be topped with whipped cream.

The word literally means “to chill” in French, and the fundamental rule of frappé making is that the drink must be chilled before it is served or made with cold ingredients. Ice is often involved as well, either in cubed or ground form. In many cases, a frappé is also whipped in a blender or with a hand tool. In addition to evenly distributing the ingredients, this often generates a layer of foam or froth on the top which some consumers find enjoyable. The beverage may also be topped with whipped cream or syrup.

Blenders are used in the creation of frappes.
Blenders are used in the creation of frappes.

In the American Northeast, a frappé is any type of milkshake which is deliberately blended so that it will be thin, rather than thick. These frappés may be made with ice cream and milk or ice cream and coffee, with coffee and vanilla ice cream being a favorite pairing. Several establishments on the Eastern Seaboard are well known for their frappés.

In other parts of the United States and Europe, a frappé is a coffee drink. It is most often made with chilled coffee, cream, sugar, and ice, blended so that the ice breaks up into small chunks. The blended coffee drink is especially popular on the West Coast of the United States. Adventurous cooks may add ingredients like tapioca pearls or chocolate syrup to a coffee frappé for additional flavor and texture.

The term is also used to refer to a beverage made with instant coffee which happens to be very popular in Greece. This type of frappé is made by shaking or blending cold water, instant coffee, and sweetener to make a foamy mixture which is cut slightly with water before serving. A strong traditional frappé made in this style will end up being about half foam, and it may be served over ice or plain, depending on personal taste. Inside Greece, a request for a frappé will produce this type of drink, and many neighboring nations have adopted it as well.

In the United States and Europe, a Frappe is a coffee-based frozen drink.
In the United States and Europe, a Frappe is a coffee-based frozen drink.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


It doesn't have to be made with cold ingredients; it does need ice though.


A frappe in New England is mixed so that it is thicker than a milkshake, not thinner. You have to eat it with a spoon, it won't go through a straw. just had one today here in Maine!


It's really easy to make a Frappe at home.

First, you will need to brew double strength coffee and chill it for a while. You can brew the coffee stronger or weaker, depending on your preferences.

Next, mix a half cup of the chilled coffee with a half cup of milk or half and half. Add one or two cups of ice. You can add a couple tablespoons of sugar and flavor to sweeten it as well.

Finally, just blend it all up and enjoy!


The Frappe was accidentally invented in Greece in 1957. The Nestle company was there demonstrating a new chocolate drink for children which could be made instantly in a shaker.

One of the Nestle employees was taking a coffee break, but could not find any hot water to make his instant coffee. Instead of go without, he tried mixing his coffee with cold water and the shaker, thus creating the Frappe.


"The word literally means “to chill” in French."

No it doesn't. It means "to strike" or "to knock."

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