Frappé Vs. Frappuccino: The Major Differences You Need To Know

Coffee lovers around the world know that there are countless ways to enjoy their favorite drink. Two of the most popular coffee options available are the frappé and the frappuccino. Though they sound similar, there are some key differences between these two frosty beverages.

Chances are, Starbucks is the first coffee chain that comes to mind when you think of frappuccinos. And for good reason, too, because the chain trademarked the drink in 1995, and it has been a mainstay on its menu boards ever since. Today, you can grab a frappuccino at Starbucks locations around the world in a variety of flavors and sizes. Frappés, on the other hand, are the more generic (or at least not trademarked) term for a blended iced coffee drink. You're more likely to see frappés advertised when such a drink is sold at an independent coffee shop, though many likely may be in breach of trademark law because of the common conflation of the two. But there is, indeed a difference, and it comes down to the ingredients that are placed in the blender. 

What are frappés?

Frappés are cold, blended coffee drinks that originated at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair in Greece in 1957. A representative from Nestlé was promoting a children's chocolate drink meant to be shaken up, but he was shorthanded and used cold water and coffee instead. But the flubbed drink caught on and soon became the way Greeks enjoyed coffee in the late-day heat. Frappés are typically served in a tall glass with a straw and spoon and are a popular summertime drink in many Mediterranean countries. 

It is worth noting, however, that true frappé coffees are most commonly found in Europe rather than the U.S. That's because a classic frappé is made with instant coffee, sugar, and water, all of which are blended together with ice until it's smooth and frothy. Some variations may include milk or cream, but frappés are always coffee-based. While you could add flavors or syrups to frappés if you like, frappés are not traditionally flavored beyond their coffee base.

What are frappuccinos?

Frappuccinos, on the other hand, are a blend of milk, ice, and flavored syrups and have either a coffee or crème base. The recipe for a frappuccino can vary widely depending on the kind you're getting, but they are typically much sweeter than frappés because of the added syrups and whipped cream. Popular frappuccino flavors include mocha, caramel, and vanilla. A frappuccino is different from a frappé in that it either uses strong brewed coffee rather than instant or it doesn't include any at all, as is the case with the Starbucks' Creme Frappuccino line. 

While the two blended frozen coffee drinks — the frappé and frappuccino — sound similar, they can be quite different. If you're picking up a cup late, go for Starbucks' coffee-free crème base frap, but if it's early, a European-style frappé or coffee-laden frappuccino can really hit the spot — and not just in the summer!