There’s no such thing as a “hot frappe.” As early as now we’re just going to get that out of the way. This is a common complaint of baristas about customers who do not bother to know the difference between frappes and lattes. 

There are a lot of drinks and concoctions that have coffee as their main base. We do not blame consumers for their confusion. So for this article, we will be discussing the main difference between two drinks that are often interchanged – frappes and lattes. 

What is a Frappe?

A frappe is basically just frozen coffee. It is composed of instant coffee that is cooled at room temperature along with milk, simple syrup, ice, and optional flavoring. The common flavors incorporated in frappes are vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. 

Frappes almost have the same consistency with a milkshake because it is often prepared with a blender. If you’re an avid coffee drinker and a fan of cold drinks, a glass of frappe can satisfy both of those cravings. 

Thanks to a Nestle employee from Greece who was looking for another way to enjoy his coffee, the frappe was invented. By combining his instant coffee drink with ice and putting it all in a shaker, he was able to come up with a new crowd favorite that has now grown to become a world-renowned coffee-based drink. 

What is a Latte?

latte

Latte is originally a hot drink. It is a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk and foam. 

Flavored lattes can also be made even though the traditional latte does not really come with flavoring. Nowadays, peppermint, hazelnut, and cinnamon are the most popular latte flavors being served in cafes. 

It wasn’t until the late 1950s that the latte became widely known to coffee drinkers. But in reality, it was invented around the same time as espresso. The name was derived from the Italian term “cafe a latte” which literally translates to “coffee and milk.” It is now being served all over the world with new flavor variants. 

Frappe Vs Latte

Frappes can have cream and ice cream content in them quite similarly to that of a milkshake while lattes, on the other hand, only have steamed milk added to the coffee base. 

Lattes are commonly hot drinks unless there is an option for iced lattes. Frappes are cold drinks with no option for a hot one. Also, lattes have espresso as a coffee base while frappes are usually prepared using instant coffee. This creates a very distinct variation in their taste. 

Below we will explain these differences in further detail.

1. Frappe is cold, latte is hot

Like we mentioned, frappes are generally cold drinks, meaning they contain ice and are better enjoyed during warmer climates. But that does not mean you can’t enjoy them at other times of the year as well. 

Because it was first invented in Greece where the weather is usually hot and humid, the frappe instantly became a summer favorite. Word spread to other parts of the world and now it has been adapted by the majority of the countries around the globe.

The latte is a coffee innovation that a lot of people love as well. It was originally intended to  be a hot drink because the main coffee base is espresso, but as time went by, cold and iced versions emerged. Coffee shops started to concoct iced lattes and a coffee-based frappe is now called a frappuccino

However, there can be no such thing as a hot frappe because the consistency and texture of the drink cannot be achieved with a hot temperature. 

Read also: Cappuccino VS Latte

2. Latte uses espresso shots, frappe has instant coffee

When you ask for a latte at your local cafe, expect that the coffee base is one shot of espresso because that is really the way it is. You can ask to add up to 3 espresso shots in your latte if you want that extra kick. 

The espresso is the simplest coffee there is compared to French press or filter. That is because only the higher notes of the coffee flavor is extracted and infused into the espresso. 

Aside from that, it is also the easiest coffee to brew to use as a base for hot drinks. 

Instant coffee is used in frappe which is one thing that makes it unique. It is not an alternative in the absence of other coffee types, it is really the conventional coffee base that is used. So it would be unusual and borderline wrong to use espresso or filtered coffee to make frappes.

To make a frappe, you have to shake the instant coffee along with some ice cubes and allow thick foam bubbles to form. It resembles the cream of an espresso but don’t be fooled because the foam from instant coffee does not have any natural coffee oils. 

3. No standard recipe for frappes, recipe is customizable

The main ingredients that should not be absent from a usual glass of frappe are instant coffee and ice – shaken together – and then sugar and water to be added up to the sufficient amount. The amount of milk you want to add is entirely up to you. You can also choose not to add any. 

Some customers also prefer to add scoops of ice cream or to top it off with whipped cream. You can even choose to have it unsweetened or add a little bit of sweetened cream depending on your preference. 

Frappes aso do not have a standard serving size to follow but many cafes usually serve them in 250 ml or 8.5 oz glasses in most parts of Europe. While in America, the serving is slightly larger at 350 mL or 12 oz.

Now for the latte, there is a standard recipe to follow with specific measurements. 

First thing’s first, pour in one shot of espresso. Then add 6 parts of steamed milk and top it off with milk foam. Some baristas like to add a slight excess of it sometimes. 

If you want more than one shot of espresso, you will have to decrease the amount of milk by one part for every shot of espresso that is added. So to be specific, a latte with double shot espresso should only contain 5 parts of steamed milk, which is nearing the cappuccino type already. And also, the remarkable characteristic of a latte is that it has unique designs on the milk foam made by baristas.

4. Caffeine content 

For every 1-oz or 30 mL shot of espresso, there is an estimated 63 mg of caffeine if we calculate it according to the standard average of 212 mg per 100 mL espresso. Since lattes contain 1 shot of espresso, that is the amount of caffeine that it contains as well. 

However when it comes to instant coffee, the caffeine content is hard to determine. If we base it on approximate estimates, an instant coffee drink with a volume of 8 oz or 236 mL may contain around 93 mg of caffeine. Depending on the kind of coffee beans, it can range from a minimum of 27 mg up to 173 mg.

If we’re only looking at those calculations, we can safely say that a frappe contains more caffeine than a latte and is therefore much stronger. However, you can always modify that by adding more coffee to your drink of choice. 

The kind of coffee beans that are extracted and brewed also determine the amount of caffeine content since the coffee species vary in caffeine content. Beans from the Arabica plant are generally weaker compared to Robusta. 

5. Lattes are milk-based, frappes often aren’t

Milk is a vital component of a latte. So if you’re someone who likes their lactose as well as coffee, a latte would be perfect for you. Majority of the content of a latte is steamed milk plus the milk foam at the top. There is a shot of espresso at the bottom for the caffeine dose but it is mostly milk. 

A frappe does not really have milk because that would just be a milkshake so you won’t be getting your milk fix from that. So if you’re into the milk foam or whipped cream, we suggest going for a latte. You can also ask for an iced one if you like cold drinks. 

On the other hand, if you are unable to digest milk, it’s best to steer clear of lattes. You can also ask the barista to add milk to your frappe if you want but as far as we know, coffee shops that serve frappes have their own unique recipe and method of preparation. They usually serve it with or without milk, topped with whipped or ice cream, or none at all. But the usual recipe is just shaken instant coffee added with sugar and water. 

6. The bitter coffee taste is much more noticeable in frappes compared to lattes

Another thing about the taste, the latte does not exhibit the strong taste of coffee as much as a frappe. You can sense the hint of espresso aroma but it won’t be that distinct because of the presence of a large amount of milk. The fat and protein content of the kind of milk used in the concoction determines the extent of its ability to mask the taste of the espresso.

Crema combined with the milk foam is a very good way to lessen the acidity as well. As a result, you will achieve a smooth consistency of your latte that feels good in the mouth especially if you make it yourself and put in a lot of milk foam. 

For the frappe, you can expect it to have a strong bitter coffee taste. The presence of coffee is very much distinctly noticeable. Add that to the fact that most instant coffees used in frappes are from the Robusta variant. Like we mentioned before, Robusta has more caffeine content and therefore will have the strongest coffee taste with only a hint of sweetness. Even with the addition of milk or cream, the coffee taste would still stand out.

7. Art and presentation

latte

The simple yet fascinating artworks made on the latte foam have always been a favorite of avid drinkers. Baristas are able to exercise their creativity through the art they make on the latte foam which is made possible by the interaction of the milk and crema of the espresso. It adds to the blissful experience of enjoying the warm cup of latte. There are also simpler designs that aren’t very intricate yet still pleasing to the eyes like cinnamon sprinkled on top or topping swirls. 

But for frappes, it is quite difficult to make the same kind of art that can be made on lattes because it is a cold drink. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add some decorations in a frappe. Syrup flavors can be smeared on the side of the glass or sprinkles can be added on to the whipped cream on top. Each drink has their own unique embellishments that make them fascinating and appealing to consumers.

8. Different ingredients

Instant coffee at room temperature is the kind used in frappes because it does not melt the ice prior to blending. It also contributes to giving the frappe a thicker consistency as opposed to hot coffee or espresso. Milk with a high fat content can also be used. 

On the other hand, skim milk, 2% whole milk, or other milk alternatives is used in the preparation of lattes to give it its unique consistency and smoothness. 

9. Calorie content

Because frappe has more content compared to latte, it only makes sense that it contains more calories as well. An 8-oz serving of frappe can have as much as two times the caloric content of a latte. Most of the frappes served by cafes have one-third of the recommended daily calorie intake. Lattes have less calories because of the less ingredients used in its preparation. 

Frappe Calories

  • Starbucks: 380 cals (Grande, Caramel Frappuccino)
  • McDonalds: 510 cals (Medium, Caramel Frappe)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: 590 cals (Medium, Frozen Coffee)

Latte Calories

  • Starbucks: 190 cals (Grande)
  • McDonalds: 190 cals (Medium)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: 170 cals (Medium, Whole Milk)

10. Appearance

You will usually find frappes served in tall glasses with a straw. They also often come topped with whipped cream, drizzled with flavored syrups, or a scoop of ice cream. A latte is served in a coffee mug with a wide rim with light milk foam on top with latte art. 

Similarities between a latte and a frappe

We have already discussed their differences, now let’s talk about the things that these two drinks have in common considering they are often interchanged. 

First of all, they may be similar in color. Because of her coffee content, they can have a light brown coffee color but the latte may be a tad bit lighter due to the addition of the milk. 

Iced lattes and frappes have almost the same large serving size. But hot lattes may have a lesser serving size because they are served in smaller mugs or coffee cups. The customizability of both drinks is also one thing that they share. You can add in different flavors or toppings to both. 

Conclusion

It’s important that you know the differences between coffee drinks that are being served in cafes so you can have a clear choice about what you prefer and what suits your diet. Having the knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions. Below are a few more questions about frappes and lattes and the best answers we can give. 

FAQs

Do frappes contain caffeine?

The original recipe of a frappe is two tablespoons of instant coffee which contain around the same amount of caffeine as four shots of espresso. But the sweetness of the frappe brought by sugar or additional flavoring can mask the taste of the coffee. Depending on your preference, you can reduce or enhance the caffeine content.

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

An iced latte is basically an espresso shot poured over ice inside a tall glass. The milk added is also shaken with ice with the option of having a sweetener as well. A frappe on the other hand is not prepared using espresso. The ingredients used in the preparation of a frappe are blended and served at room temperature. 

What’s the difference between a frappe and frappuccino?

Both of these are blended and coffee-based drinks. The Frappuccino is a trademark drink owned by Starbucks. It’s like they have a patent on that drink and they are the only ones allowed to use the name. It is prepared the same way as a conventional frappe. The term “frappe” is the common name that is used worldwide derived from a Greek word. 

Is instant coffee necessary to prepare frappes?

A frappe is traditionally prepared using freeze-dried instant coffee. It is mixed with cold water and then poured over ice. As of today, some modern cafes are starting to use espresso as a coffee base for frappes. It is intended to be a thirst-quenching cold coffee drink. Instant coffee is soluble in water and has a mild coffee kick. 

But when brewed coffee is used, it would have a stronger caffeine kick. Though instant coffee is not really mandatory to be used in frappes, it helps a lot if you want to enjoy both the caffeine and the refreshment brought by a cold drink in a single glass. 

Can instant coffee be used in making a latte?

It is unusual but there’s no law against it. It does take more time to prepare espresso to be used in the latte so if you do not have enough time, you can use instant coffee to make a latte. A latte is originally espresso and steamed milk which can be time-consuming to do and inconvenient when you’re in a morning rush. 

You just need a teaspoon of instant coffee powder or instant espresso and dissolve it in warm milk completely. You can also use a milk frother to make milk froth to add into your quick latte with instant coffee. 

Is there a standard recipe for a frappe?

A frappe is a blended cold drink. It does not really have a standard recipe that you need to follow in order to prepare it. There are a lot of ways to make it and you can also use a variety of ingredients. 

Aside from the coffee, water, and ice as the main base, you can modify the ingredients by adding flavoring like vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and many others. You can also add syrup with some cherry on top. The versatility of frappes is one thing that makes it popular among customers. 

You can combine coffee with caramel or chocolate and even cinnamon – or a combination of all.