It seems like we have ‘national days’ for all sorts of things so why not a National Frappé Day 2020? Yes, it is a ‘real thing’ and October 7 every year is reserved for our National Frappé Day. Let us learn more about this drink and why it may deserve a ‘national day’.
What is a Frappé?
The traditional (Greek recipe) frappé (pronounced frap-pay and not to be confused with the word frape) was instant coffee blended with water and sugar to create a foamy liquid. This was then added over ice cubes in a glass.
More recently a frappé is made from a blend of espresso coffee, milk (or ice-cream), water, and various flavors and toppings.
A frappé is different from an iced coffee, milkshake, smoothie, or slushy in that the coffee and water are usually shaken or blended to first create the foamy coffee liquid.
The variations of frappé these days are endless. Additional flavors can be added such as caramel and vanilla. A frappé can also be topped with cream, chocolate flakes, powdered coffee, and other toppings (although this is more of a ‘Frappuccino’ style).
Non-dairy versions of the frappé (the original frappe did not have milk) are also available which substitute milk for another ‘milk’ such as almond, coconut, and soy (these are definitely NOT milk although they are labeled as such).
The word frappé is from the French verb ‘frapper’ which means to ‘hit’. This refers to ‘hitting’ the coffee with ice. How does a unique coffee drink invented by a Greek have a French name? Well, the Greek word for frappé is Φραπέ and this is a ‘descendent’ of the French word frappé. The word is also sometimes spelt as frappe without the accented é.
Shaken not stirred!
You have probably heard of the phrase ‘shaken not stirred’. Of course, this is the phrase made famous by Ian Fleming’s fictional British Secret Service agent James Bond and describes Bond’s preference for the preparation of his vodka/gin martini cocktail.
Well, the same requirement is for making a frappé – it is usually shaken rather than stirred. The frappé can be ‘shaken’ by using a manual frappé shaker, protein shaker, or a cocktail shaker.
Why shake a frappe rather than stir it? Shaking the coffee-water-sugar, or coffee-water-milk-sugar, mixture creates an emulsion and a thick foam. The emulsion and foam cannot be achieved just by hand-stirring.
If the frappe is made with instant coffee, which contains very little oil, the foam is thick and long-lasting. If the frappe is made from Espresso coffee, which has more oil, the foam is thinner and shorter-lasting.
However, there isn’t really a strict requirement for ‘shaking a frappe’. The important thing is to create the emulsion and thick foam. This can also be done by rapidly beating the mixture with a spoon, a milk frother (we recommend the one below), or even a blender.
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When is a Frappé not a Frappé?
When is Frappe’, not a Frappe’? When it is a Frappuccino™! Frappuccino is a trademark of Starbucks Corporation for its product line of ice-blended coffee drinks.
Frappuccino is a combination of the words frappé and cappuccino and is made from coffee blended with ice and various additions usually topped with whipped cream and flavored syrups.
A Frappuccino can also be made from matcha and various coffee-free crème versions such as caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.
So a Frappuccino™ is loosely related by both name and the way the drink is made.
The story goes that the frappé was invented by Dimitris Vakondios during the 1957 International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki, Greece. Dimitris was working for the Nestlé company at the time and his colleague, Giannis Dritsas, was demonstrating a new chocolate drink for children made in a shaker. Dimitris wanted coffee but didn’t have any hot water, so he had the idea to mix his instant coffee with cold water and ice cubes in a shaker (this is not a cold brew coffee).
This simple idea of Dimitris went on to create a worldwide phenomenon known as the frappé! This was also probably due to the fact that Nestle took the idea and marketed the heck out of it.
So does a Frappé deserve a ‘National Day’? Well, given the history and popularity of the frappé it may justify a National Day in Greece but the US? What do you think? Let us know in a comment below.
How to celebrate National Frapé Day?
Celebrate by making up a little catchphrase like: Have a frappé today to keep the blues away.
Celebrate by singing a little ditty such as:
? Shake, Shake, Shake.
Shake, Shake, Shake
Shake your frappé…
Shake your frappé…?
(sung to the tune of ‘Shake your Booty’ by KC and The Sunshine Band).
But probably the best way to celebrate is to drink a frappé!
Go to your favorite cafe and barista or simply make it at home using the recipes below.
You can make three general types of frappé that depend upon the amount of sugar
- moderately sweet
- very sweet
An unsweetened frappe has no sugar, a moderately sweet frappe has up to 2 teaspoons of sugar, and a very sweet frappe has up to 4 teaspoons of sugar. You choose what sugar content you want in your frappé be it the non-milk or the milk version. Let us take a look at the recipe!
Recipe for Traditional Greek Frappé
This recipe is suitable for vegetarians.
- 1 teaspoon of instant coffee (Nescafé instant coffee is usually used in Greece)
- Ice-cold Water
- Zero sugar or up to 4 teaspoons of sugar depending upon your taste
- 3-5 ice cubes
- Place coffee and sugar in a manual shaker or container for mixing or blending
- Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of ice-cold water
- Shake, mix, or blend until you get a thick foam
- Pour the mixture over ice cubes in a glass
- Top up with ice-cold water as required
- Sip with a straw.
Variations of the traditional Greek Frappé recipe include:
- Replace instant coffee with your favorite espresso coffee
- Use cold milk instead of water throughout the whole recipe
- Use milk (e.g. whole cream and skim milk) or milk alternatives (e.g. coconut, almond, or soy)
- Use condensed or evaporated milk to top up the drink
- Top up with cold milk instead of water
- Add Baileys for an alcoholic touch
- Add a ball of ice cream for that extra ice-cold creamy taste
- Adding various flavors (see infographic above)
- Shake the coffee-sugar mixture with some crushed ice to make it a little frothy
Take a look at the video by Ken Panagopoulos for making traditional Greek frappé.
Do yourself a favor on this National Frappé Day 2020 and drink a cool delicious frappé or even a frappuccino if you like a bit more extravagance (and calories).
Happy National Frappé Day!