Frappe vs. Latte – What’s the Difference Between Them

A frappe is a frothy iced or chilled drink, while a latte is a hot coffee drink. The main difference is the type of coffee (and thus caffeine content) they’re made with.

Become a coffee connoisseur and learn more about the differences between these two delicious coffee drinks. After reading this, you can now strut inside your favorite coffee shop and impress your barista!

Frappe vs Latte: The Basics

frappe vs latte


Pronounced as “frap-pay” or sometimes “frap,” frappe is a cold blended drink with a slushie consistency, because it has been shaken, blended, or beaten.

It is typically made of frozen instant coffee. It’s a smooth, icy drink blended with milk, making it a great summer beverage!


Latte, pronounced as “lah-tay,” is short for caffe latte. It is a hot coffee drink invented by the Italians by combining shots of espresso and steamed milk. What exactly is espresso?

Espresso is made from the coffee bean using a different method of brewing than drip or pour-over coffee, by way of finely ground coffee and pressure. Sometimes, the latte is topped with foam.

All About Frappe


Is It Coffee?

Traditionally, a frappe is made of coffee. However, you can absolutely make other frappe drinks! Other examples of frappe drinks are juices, teas, and chocolate. There really is no limit to what you can frappe.

The word frappe comes from the French word “frapper,” which means “to slap, knock, or beat.” It’s basically a slushie drink, perfect for hot summer days. Of course, you can still get a frappe in wintertime.

The Greeks Invented Frappe

Thank you to the Greeks who came up with this cold coffee drink back in the 1950s. It’s actually a worker for the Nestle company who came up with this unique way of preparing the usual instant coffee. It became a hit in Greek cafes!

three frappes

Then the world caught up, and everyone did their own different variations of frappe, some of them pretty different than the Greek frappe.

Other notable solutions mixed with coffee are soda and ice cream, and there really are no rules — except for the basics. It’s a cold drink shaken, blended, beaten, and slapped to produce that slushie texture!

What Makes a Frappe Different From a Smoothie or Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is simply coffee served on ice. Smoothies, on the other hand, are blended to a standard ice consistency. The process of making smoothies is quite similar to ice cappuccino.

Frappe, on the other hand, is different in that it is blended longer, including the ice. It is blended until a significant amount of foam has been created. Sometimes, a cocktail shaker is used.

What Are a Frappe’s Main Ingredients?

This sweet, thick, and foamy summer coffee drink consists of instant coffee or non-coffee powder (which includes emulsifier), water, and milk. Then ice is thrown in with the ingredients. These are all mixed together in a blender or shaker.

The output is a cold, foamy delicious drink. Then it is usually added with sugar, ice cream, different flavored syrups and toppings. You can get a caramel frappe, a mocha frappe, a chocolate frappe, even a green tea frappe!

Normally, a frappe is topped with whipped cream. There is no such thing as a hot frappe since it is an iced drink.

What Is the Caffeine Content and Calories?

The nutritional content and calories of a frappe depend widely based on what ingredients are used. Whole milk vs skim milk, caramel, chocolate syrup, etc. will all play a factor in that.

The caffeine content of a frappe depends on the size of the glass and the coffee used. But, normally, most frappes don’t contain much caffeine, because they use instant coffee. If you use espresso in your frappe, then expect it to contain around 200 mg of caffeine. Yes, strong!

Is Frappe the Same As Frappuccino?

Nope. “Frappuccino” is a result of the combination of “cappuccino” and “frappe.” A frappuccino drink is made by mixing coffee with a milkshake. The recipe of frappuccino is essentially a blend of various cold drinks; it could be Italian cappuccino, iced coffee, or milkshake.

Traditional frappe, meanwhile, is created just like the Greeks originally had made it. Instant coffee (or espresso), milk, and ice are beaten or shaken to create that foamy, slushie, super-satisfying cold drink.

All About Latte

latte and plant

Is a Latte Coffee?

Well, not always. But I will get to that in a bit. Latte, which is short for “caffe latte,” is a hot coffee beverage that combines espresso and steamed milk. The origin of latte is the Italian word “caffellatte”, which literally means “coffee and milk.”

Lattes come in other variants, not just coffee. The coffee can be replaced with chocolate-flavored mocha, or turmeric, or matcha. Another popular cafe latte is masala chai, which is spiced Indian tea. The milk can also be modified. Some cafes use soy or almond milk.

The Italians Invented It — Or Maybe Not?

The caffe latte originated in 17th century Europe, specifically in Italy. The Italians drink caffe latte only in the morning as part of their breakfast. The coffee is usually brewed in a moka pot, and then poured into a cup of hot milk. It is not foamed, and it is the drinker’s choice if he wants to add sugar.

However, many people claim the latte is a creation of the United States, invented in Berkeley, California, by a man named Lino Meiorin, who was one of the owners of Caffe Med.

Legend has it that he noticed the American patrons of his café didn’t like the strong taste of the espresso and would ask for more milk. He ended up putting this drink on the menu as a caffe latte. Eventually, the latte gained popularity in Seattle, Washington, in the 1980s.

Is There an Iced Latte?

The Americans decided to create an iced latte. While there can never be a “hot frappe,” in the case of the caffe latte, you can make it an iced coffee drink.

Iced latte does not contain foam or steamed milk, especially if you’re making an iced matcha oat milk latte. If you’re interested in making your own version, check out our full recipe here! . Sugar is added, as well as different types of syrup — be it chocolate, caramel, or strawberry. In iced lattes, the mix of espresso and milk are sometimes pre-chilled.

What are the Ingredients of a Latte and Its Nutrition Facts?

latte with foam art

A latte is essentially an espresso drink. The main difference is that it contains a large amount of steamed milk.

Ever heard someone joke, “Do you want some coffee with your milk?” That’s a latte — more milk than coffee. 

The process of making a latte uses just 1 shot of espresso but 2 ounces of steamed milk, which sinks into the espresso. A latte is definitely milkier than a cappuccino, and it is topped with a thin layer of froth or foam.

Sometimes lattes are modified a little for a more exciting experience. Flavored syrups or powders are included, which can include caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut.

The nutrition facts for a caffe latte (and how much of your daily calorie intake it’ll use up) depends on the type of milk used, if you take sugar and if any flavorings have been added. The calorie content of latte will change if you use nonfat milk vs. whole milk or pump in sugary syrups.

Espresso Is Key

You cannot make a cup of latte without espresso. And to produce an authentic espresso, you’d need an espresso machine. The coffee flavor in espresso is bolder and more intense than other types of coffee, because it is thicker and more concentrated.

So, what is espresso again? Espresso is coffee made from coffee beans but created in a special way. The espresso machine pressurizes and channels near-boiling water through super-ground coffee beans that are tightly packed.

This gives the espresso its caffeine-filled density and glorious aroma. This is why latte contains more caffeine than frappe.

What Is Caffe Latte Art?

When the barista serves you a cup of latte, it looks so pretty. The surface has a white pattern in the milk foam — it could be a heart, a tulip, or really anything if the barista is talented. That is called latte art.

Latte art is a process of preparing this famous beverage by pouring microfoam into the espresso shots. As a result, a pattern or design emerges on the surface. Sometimes, the barista simply “draws” on the top layer of the foam.

Latte art is a result of the espresso’s crema, which is an emulsion of coffee oil and coffee that is brewed, and the microfoam, which is a finely textured, silky milk.

Latte art has been in existence since the early 1980s and popularized by the co-founder of Espresso Vivace, David Schomer. He is the inventor of the heart and rosette pattern.

The most popular method in creating latte art is by “free pouring.” The cup of latte is tilted, then milk is poured, which causes the foam to surface. Then the barista moves the milk pitcher while pouring milk. Then, as a finishing touch, he strikes through the center of the milk on the surface to create the “stem” in the pattern.

Since the ‘80s, the world has seen more latte art. You may have encountered animals, ferns, a swan, a scorpion, and the like. This is called “etching,” and it disappears quicker compared to “free pouring.”

Latte vs. Macchiato

Just like latte, macchiato is a hot beverage that combines espresso and steamed milk. The only difference is that a latte has foamed milk, while a macchiato has none.

Macchiato is definitely a stronger coffee drink than caffe latte because it has much less milk. Macchiato, in Italian, means “spotted.” Why? The top of your macchiato drink has a white spot, as a result of espresso being poured directly into a small amount of steamed milk.

Final Thoughts

So, which to get? Latte or frappe? It really depends on your mood. If you like something cold, go for a frappe. If you need to warm up, go for a cup of caffe latte.

But if you’re concerned about the caffeine content (like if you’ll be up all night if you have a strong coffee in the afternoon), go for the frappe, because it only contains instant coffee, hence insignificant amounts of caffeine.

Lattes have stronger caffeine content because they’re made from espresso. If you love the kick of caffeine, go for a latte — hot or iced.

Want more latte fun? Head to one of these:

Or let’s learn about the difference between cold brew vs iced coffee. Do you already know?

Or head here if you want to learn how to make a delicious mocha latte at home (it’s easy, I promise!).

Maybe you’re in the mood for a shaken espresso. This expert coffee guide discusses the history of the drink and how to make your own Starbucks copycat recipe at home!

About bit of cream

Rishi and Jen are the creators behind Bit of Cream. They start each morning with a cup of coffee and are on the hunt to make that simple cup of caffeine better and brighter. Feel free to send them a message or follow along on Instagram!

Leave a Comment