Frappuccino and Specialty Coffee

We need to clear up a few misconceptions about blended ice drinks.

The Iced Cappuccino, Frappuccino and Frappe are all the same. Frappuccino is a trademarked drink by starbucks originally created by Andrew Frank from Coffee Connection. Basically, Andrew added espresso coffee to a milkshake.

Later, after Starbucks acquired Coffee Connection they added ice to the blended drink which gives us our modern day Frappe! ( editor's note: famous musician Kenny G, claims that he, as an early investor of starbucks, influenced Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz, by informing him about the lineups for blended iced coffee drinks at a Coffee Bean location.)

The Iced Cappuccino is Tim Hortons version of the Frappe, renamed likely because of trademark issues.

Question: What is a blended coffee drink?
Answer: Because of the trademarks cited previously, the rest of the coffee industry uses the word " Frapp" or "Frappe" to describe the basic beverage that is simply ice, milk and coffee blended together.

Question:: What are the origins of the Frapp?
Answer: Like most things, it is presumed to have had humble beginnings with someone ordering an iced latte and asking for it to be blended. According to some it may have originated by using a granita machine to create a sweet, icy, slushy milk based coffee drink. Think about it,.. It's cooling, refreshing, feeds your thoughts of “I'm thirsty” and it has Caffeine. Yum, Sold !

Question: What is the difference between an Iced Latte and a Frapp?
Answer: Though the proportions may vary, an iced latte is espresso and cold milk poured over whole ice with or without syrup based flavorings.

A frapp is basically a blended iced latte. The milk, ice and coffee tend to separate, so often stabilizers are added to keep it together. Each caffe has their own recipe but common stabilizers such as carrageenan, Xanthan, chia and even flax seed powder are often used. But the use of stabilizers is optional.

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Question: How should I order a Frapp?
Answer: The consumer decides on the size of drink, how much of the espresso coffee flavour they want to taste, and if they want to add a sweetener. There is no right or wrong way. In Specialty Coffee we focus on higher quality beans that are freshly roasted so that sweetness is maximized and bitterness is minimized. The coffee is always prepared fresh with the same objectives to enhance sweetness and tame bitterness. This focus on freshness and quality results in less sugar needed, with many consumers choosing to skip adding sugar altogether.

Question: Is this an everyday drink or a treat?
Answer: As one of the highest traded commodities on the stock market coffee is uniquely part of the global culture. The use of milk alternatives paired with the high quality, naturally sweeter specialty coffee to reduce calories from added sugar, makes a Frapp an everyday, guilt-free option.

Question: So why isn't the Frapp more common?
Answer: Unfortunately there is a purist attitude in specialty coffee that says anything the big corporate coffee brands do can't be quality.

The success Starbucks has had with the frappuccino has created a stigma amongst specialty coffee consumers, causing a knee jerk reaction to look down upon frapps and the consumers who drink it.

For us, specialty coffee, aka third wave coffee, is for everyone!

The Frapp is often the entry level drink of the new coffee consumers. Specialty coffee should step up to the plate and welcome new customers to the artisan 3rd wave coffee movement by meeting them halfway with this blended drink.

The Frapp is the perfect drink to do that. In other words, let your new customers go through their own journey through space and time from sweetened blended coffee drinks to your ultra purist ideas of pour-over and espresso-only coffee.

And the purists who feel frapps are too sweet and mask the flavour of specialty grade coffee, shouldn't frown upon the whole category of frapps; they should instead educate their customers about the benefits of less sugar.

It is also hard to ignore the hypocrisy of saying an iced latte, which is ice, milk and espresso, is ok, but if you blend it, then it's no longer acceptable.

These same coffee purists who continue to turn up their noses at frapps, should rethink their prejudice the next time they enjoy a blended margarita, pina colada, granita, bellini or any cocktail for that matter that adds syrup, juice or other flavorings to liquor.

And remember Andrew Frank and Coffee Connection who invented and trademarked the frappuccino? Well George Howell, one of the icons of specialty coffee ( if there was a mount Rushmore of Specialty Coffee George would be on it), is the guy who owned Coffee Connection and sold it to starbucks.

So enjoy your frapp. It's a good thing.

Coffee Mount Rushmore
Frappuccino and Specialty Coffee
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