There is currently a massive increase in the number of coffee shops. This is particularly true in the USA and UK. In the USA the two top chains, by numbers, are Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, and in the UK Costa Coffee, followed by Starbucks, and Cafe Nero. Coffee shops have developed into a favorite meeting place and they offer facilities to make themselves more welcoming. One issue all the chains face is educating the customers about their menu.
There are great similarities between the coffee and wine lover in this respect. To many wine drinkers there is stall a great mystery about the varieties of wine.
I know a number of people who are terrified of going to a coffee shop to order a drink. Most of these people were raised when the choice was “tea or coffee” and maybe if they were being adventurous a “black coffee”. The vast array of coffee variations just turns into a blur and terms like Latte and Frappe just merge into one. The solution is to educate people about the various options open to them. In this article we will look at two different products and compare them.
What is Latte?
First we will take a look at Latte. Latte is derived from the Italian words caffè latte, which means Milk Coffee. in the UK or USA if you ask for Latte that is sufficient, but if you did the same in Italy they would serve you a glass of milk.
What makes a Latte different from other coffee drinks
A Latte is created with certain ingredients and a fixed preparation method. A combination of these two factors is what defines the Latte.
A Latte would contain 6 to 8 ounces of steamed milk., to this they add one shot of Espresso coffee. With a larger Latte they sometimes use two shots of Espresso.
The method of making a Latte involves high pressure water being passed through a patte of freshly ground coffee. This results in more concentrated coffee with more caffeine.
Baristas will often indulge in Latte art where designs are painted on top of the coffee with the last drops of the milk, poured onto the frothy milk
Origins of Latte
People in southern Europe have been mixing coffee with milk for centuries. However the modern Latte was developed simultaneously in Seattle and Northern Europe. It took root in Seattle in North America in the 1980s, spreading across the USA in the following decade. The Latte also independently spread across cities across Northern Europe. Starting from these twin bases the Latte spread globally very quickly.
What is Frappé?
The term Frappé originates in France and simply means “Iced” and was first used in the 19th Century. Th term was originally used to describe any iced drink (e.g fruit juice). It was in 1957 in Greece when the term café frappé was developed.
The Original Greek Recipe
The original Greek traditional recipe simply involves shaking instant coffee with ice cubes and water in a shaker). Milk can be added if required.
The Modern Recipe
The version of Frappe that you will find in coffee shops is made in a blender. A strong coffee mix is placed in the blender, together with ice cubes, sugar, milk, and a little water. You may also add flavorings and syrups if desired. this drink is topped with melted chocolate, whipped cream and even ice cream.
Origins of Frappé
It seems that Dimitris Vakondioan an employee of Nestlé was demonstrating how to make a chocolate drink by mixing a powder with milk and shaking it. In his lunch break he wanted his fix of coffee and realized that he had no hot water, so he mixed instant coffee with cold water and ice and shook it in the shaker. The café frappé was born.
Is a Frappuccino the same as a Frappe?
A Frappuccino is made by adding coffee to a milkshake. It was originally developed by Coffee Connection in eastern Massachusetts. this company was ultimately absorbed into Starbucks who then had the rights to sell the product in the Starbucks chain. So the Frappuccino is really a milkshake based drink and not a version of a Frappe and is still a part of the Starbucks menu. Starbucks also sell this product through retail stores. The only similarities between a Frappe and a Frappuccino is that they both are cold and they both have a frothy top.
Difference between Frappé and Latte
Both the Frappe and the Latte will contain coffee and milk. A Frappe will often contain instant coffee whereas a Latte will contain a shot of espresso. An important distinction for coffee lovers. Both drinks may he served cold, often coffee shops will have some pre-chilled Lattes ready to serve.
Frappes will also often contain Ice Cream and have a topping such as ice Cream or whipped cream. whereas a Latte will not.
So, to summarize a Latte is usually served hot and is based around a shot of espresso coffee with steamed milk added. A Frappe is served cold and is traditionally made with instant coffee and water and/or milk, with other ingredients added. A Frappuccino is based around a milkshake and ice cream with coffee added, a totally different kind of drink.
As I said when this article began, coffee shops can be intimidating with their own jargon and a large range of coffee products. Hopefully after reading this article you will now understand the differences between a Latte and Frappe. and will not get sidetracked by the term Frappuccino. Understanding the terms that describe these coffee products will allow you to confidently order products that you might otherwise not have tried.
I am sure that in the future new coffee related products will evolve and be added to coffee shop menus. Coffee is a very widely drunk beverage world-wide and locally developed recipes are so very easily picked up and imported to other countries. This diversity is a sign of a healthy industry and as long as care is taken to educate the consumers about the differences between products this will only add to customer choice.