The words frappe and latte may sound similar, but they are actually quite different. Yes, a latte and frappe both are milk coffee drinks, but the similarities pretty much end there.
If you're interested in learning the difference between a frappe vs latte, keep reading. Here we'll cover the basics of each beverage and the main differences between them.
Frappe Vs Latte: Why They Aren't The Same Drink
So what’s the difference between a latte and frappe? There are several differences that are worth noting and we've given the full breakdown below:
1. Taste & Texture
In terms of texture, a frappe is thicker and creamier than a latte. It often has a “chewy” consistency due to the small (or even large) ice chips in the drink.
A frappe tastes very sweet. Most frappes are made with white sugar or another sweetener, so this is definitely a drink for anyone with a sweet tooth.
A latte has a velvety smooth texture. The steamed milk makes it smoother than a frappe and even easier to drink.
A traditional latte tastes mild and slightly sweet. Lattes have no added sweetener or sugar, but many people do choose to add a flavored syrup. This makes it taste sweeter, but still not as sweet as a frappe.
Both milk coffee drinks are smooth and sweet. A latte is smoother but you can taste the espresso shots more, whereas a frappe is thicker and sweeter - more like a coffee milkshake.
The temperature a frappe and latte are served at is the main difference between them.
A traditional latte is a hot coffee drink made with one or two freshly brewed espresso shots. If you'd rather not have a hot beverage you can order iced lattes in most coffee shops instead. These are made with cold milk and poured over ice.
In contrast, a frappe is always served cold. Frappes are iced coffee drinks which can be blended, shaken, or beaten with ice - but they are never served hot.
The choice of having a latte coffee as a hot beverage or an iced coffee makes it a better year-round drink, whereas a frappe is more of a refreshing summer beverage.
3. Coffee Content
A key difference between a frappe and latte is the coffee used to make them.
A frappe is made with instant coffee. It is possible to use one shot of espresso instead, but it's not the modern recipe and you have to wait for the hot coffee to cool down.
A latte uses espresso coffee made from finely ground coffee beans. It can have one espresso shot, but most coffee shops use two shots of espresso instead.
The instant coffee used within a frappe doesn't have as much flavor as the hot espresso in a latte, and it's why lattes have a stronger coffee flavor.
4. Caffeine Amounts
Frappes are made with instant coffee and lattes are made with espresso shots, so their caffeine content levels are different.
A standard caffe latte has 120-140mg of caffeine from the double shot of espresso. Another espresso shot is added for the largest sizes, so it may be even stronger.
Frappe drinks contain about 60-120mg of caffeine. The caffeine content varies more depending on the amount of instant coffee used, and if you make your own frappe you can make it with more coffee and more caffeine.
When it comes to frappe vs latte, a latte has a higher caffeine content, and is better suited for those who like strong coffee.
5. Milk Ratios
Both of these coffee based drinks feature a lot of milk, but the type of milk to coffee ratio in the recipe can vary.
A caffé latte is made up of 2/3 steamed milk with a little milk foam on top. If your latte is 12oz then 2oz will be espresso and 10oz will be whole milk.
A standard recipe for a frappe is less rigid, but a frappe is generally about 1/5 milk. Frappe drinks work with a lot less milk content because they have the instant brewed coffee to make up the liquid. Some people even add different flavors of ice cream to make the drink richer and sweeter.
A latte has a lot more steamed milk and foamed milk layer and it's best for those who enjoy a smooth, velvety texture.
You can exchange the whole milk in either drink for low calorie skim milk, or milk alternatives. Almond milk, oat milk, or coconut all work well as dairy-free alternatives, and have fewer calories.
6. Calorie Counts
Espresso and coffee don't have any calories really, and the calorie content is usually influenced by the quantity of milk, and the added sugar.
A frappe usually have 450-550 calories. This is because the cold blended drink has whole milk, 50-60 grams of sugar, whipped cream and potentially other additions. Some frappes even include ice cream, which pushes the calorie count even higher.
A latte usually has 180-250 calories. These calories tend to come from the high quantity of steamed milk and foamed milk, but extra syrups and sauces will add calories too.
By switching either of the two drinks to a low-fat or dairy free milk alternative you can reduce the calorie intake, but neither coffee drink is particularly healthy. However, a frappe is noticeably more indulgent, so health conscious coffee drinkers are better off with a latte.
7. Preparation & Art
When you're choosing between a frappe and latte it isn't just about the coffee taste, it's about how a drink looks and how complicated it is to prepare.
A frappe is a fairly simple drink to prepare. It involves combining milk, brewed coffee, sweet sauces, and ice cubes, with whipped cream on top. You should be able to make it in a few minutes, but there's no latte art style decoration on top.
A caffe latte is a little bit more complicated to prepare. You need an espresso machine to make the espresso base, and you have to steam the milk separately before layering it on top. The plus side is that you can use the foamed milk layer to create latte art, and many baristas can create stunning designs.
If you want a simple drink then go for a frappe. If you want something a bit more artistic, but complicated, go for a latte. It is worth noting that there's no latte art on an iced latte!
8. Variations & Extras
It's great to customise your coffee drink to make it suit your tastes, and every coffee shop will have a few variations of a frappe and latte choose from.
Popular frappe variatons include:
- Classic greek frappe - this traditional frappe is made with instant coffee, ice, and sugar, all hand shaken to give it a thick consistency
- Chocolate mocha frappe - this summer drink is made by pouring milk over chocolate sauce and adding chocolate chips on top
- Caramel frappe - the caramel frappe is very similar to a caramel Frappuccino, and it made by pouring caramel syrup on top
- Green tea frappe - this cold drink is made with matcha and vanilla and topped with whipped cream
- Vanilla ice cream frappe - this version has a sweet vanilla ice cream base and is much closer to a milkshake than a coffee drink
Popular latte variations include:
- Caramel latte - made with caramel syrup to give it a sweeter taste
- Vanilla latte - made with french vanilla flavors to make it light and sweet
- Mocha latte - made with chocolate sauce and whipped cream with a creamy consistency
- Pumpkin spiced latte - made with spices and pumpkin flavoring - the perfect autumnal drink
- Iced latte - an iced coffee drink made with cold milk and served in different flavors - perfect for hot summer days
- Latte macchiato - this hot drink is like a milky macchiato, so it has a stronger coffee taste
You can also choose to have either drink with extra sugar, or add milk to change the consistency. If you're lactose intolerant you can also switch the whole milk for a plant based alternative like oat or almond milk.
When it comes to variations of a frappe and a latte, the latte wins hands down. So, if you like to customise your coffee then you'll love latte drinks.
What Is A Frappe? (History & How They Are Made)
The word frappe means 'iced' or 'chilled', so it makes sense that a frappe is an iced drink that has been blended, shaken, or beaten for a creamy, foamy consistency.
Traditionally, frappes consist of ice, instant coffee, milk, and other additives to sweeten the beverage, like sugar, vanilla, whipped cream, or sweet sauces.
Despite frappe being a French word, the original cafe frappe originated in 1950s Greece at the International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki.
Workers from the Nestle company started experimenting with instant coffee by shaking it with ice and then adding milk, and voila, the frappe was born.
How To Make A Frappe
A frappe can be made with two different types of coffee: instant or espresso. The only difference in taste is that an espresso is a bit bolder, but you will need to use an espresso machine and cold water to create the shots.
Here are the steps you'll need to follow:
1. Brew your instant coffee or a double espresso
2. Pour the espresso or instant coffee into a blender. Add ice and sugar or sugar syrup. Start with a small amount, you can always add more at the end.
3. Blend all the ingredients until it becomes foamy and the ice is crushed into a slush. Add water if it gets too thick
4. Pour our into a glass and add milk or sugar if you want
5. Top with whipped cream or other additions, and enjoy!
What Is A Latte? (History & How They Are Made)
The latte is undoubtedly one of the most popular coffee drinks of all time. It is made by combining espresso and steamed milk, which makes sense since cafe latte literally translates to coffee and milk.
The origins of the latte can be traced back to 17th century Europe, but it’s likely that people were drinking latte-like beverages long before that. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the beverage became more commercialized and started appearing on the menus of public cafes in the US.
How To Make A Latte
A latte is a little more complicated and you will need:
- An espresso machine
- A milk frother tool or steam wand (you can pick these up for under $10)
You then need to follow these steps:
1. Brew a single or double shot of espresso using your espresso machine
2. Steam milk, or a dairy-free alternative, using your milk frother or steam wand
3. Pour your espresso shots into a tall glass, they should take up 1/3 of the space. Top with the steamed hot milk
4. Hold a little of the milk froth back from the jug and spoon onto the top so you have a thin layer of foam on top. If you're brave you can try to create some latte art.
5. Add extra syrup, sugar, or other additions - then enjoy!
Frappe Vs Latte Common FAQs
How do cappuccino and mocha drinks differ from the above two coffees?
Comparing a frappe vs. latte vs. cappuccino or mocha vs. latte vs. frappe is like comparing apples to oranges. While all of these beverages fall under the "coffee drink" category, there are a lot of differences between all of them.
A cappuccino is more similar to a latte than to a frappe. Just like a latte, it consists of espresso and steamed milk, but it is topped with a thick layer of milk foam, which isn’t the case for a latte. Plus, a cappuccino has a higher ratio of espresso to milk, so it is more robust in terms of coffee flavor.
A mocha is a coffee drink that utilizes chocolate. It generally consists of espresso, chocolate, milk, and milk foam. This is an ideal drink of choice for coffee lovers who also love chocolate.
Can you make a hot frappe?
Frappes are traditionally iced beverages that are served cold. While it’s technically possible to make a hot frappe, it’s not the way things are done in the coffee world. Your better option is to order a hot latte with your favorite sweet additives and have it topped with whipped cream.
Do you have to use instant coffee for a frappe?
The traditional method for making a frappe is to use instant coffee, but another option is to use espresso or concentrated coffee.
Frappe and latte coffee based drinks have a few similarities, but they also have many differences.
A latte is a hot drink made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. A frappe is an iced drink made using instant coffee, milk, and sugar.
Hopefully you now know the difference when it comes to frappe vs latte, and you know which you want to order on your next coffee shop visit.