Frappé coffee also known as Greek frappé is a foam-covered iced coffee drink made from instant coffee (generally, spray-dried). It is very popular in Greece and Cyprus, especially during the summer, but has now spread to other countries. The frappé became a hallmark of the post-war outdoor Greek coffee culture.
Frappé dates back to the 1957 International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki. The representative of the Nestlé company, Yannis Dritsas, was exhibiting a new product for children, a chocolate beverage produced instantly by mixing it with milk and shaking it in a shaker. Dritsas' employee Dimitris Vakondios was looking for a way to have his usual instant coffee during his break but he could not find any hot water, so he mixed the coffee with cold water and a shaker.
This improvised experiment established this popular Greek beverage. Frappé has been marketed chiefly by Nestlé and is among the most popular drinks in Greece. More recently, Kraft, under the Jacobs label, have launched their own brand of frappé. Frappé has been called the national coffee of Greece, and is available at virtually all cafés. Frappé is often served with a glass of water.
The coffee can be made either with a cocktail shaker or an appropriate mixer (e.g. a hand mixer). One or two teaspoons of coffee, sugar (to taste) and a little water are blended to form a foam, which is poured into a tall glass. To this is added cold water and ice cubes, and, optionally, milk - typically evaporated milk. The glass is served with a drinking straw.
An essential part of Frappé are the icecubes. Apart from keeping the coffee cold for more time, they are part of the culture of Frappé. While there are icecubes in the coffee, one rotates the drinking straw, mixing cold water near the icecubes with less cold water at the bottom and further mixing the foam (that contains coffee) with the water. While the drinking straw is rotated along a circle near the border of the glass, the icecubes hit with each other and with the glass, producing a sound characteristic of the Frappé. Mixing the coffee and listening to the sound most of the time has a pleasing effect and is the most common reaction among people drinking Frappé.
The spray-dried instant coffee contains nearly no oil, just tiny particles (coffee solids), some molecules responsible for flavor and taste, and of course caffeine. When dissolved, spray-dried coffee forms a simpler and more stable colloid relative to traditionally brewed coffee. This enables creation of the characteristic thick frothy layer at the top of the coffee. This layer appears similar to crema, the foam found in espresso, but is much thicker and the composition is different. It can be characterized mainly as a three phase colloid where tiny bubbles are held together by the coffee solids.
Frappé is available in three degrees of sweetness, determined by the amount of sugar and coffee used. These are: glykós (γλυκός, pronounced [ɣliˈkos], "sweet", 2 teaspoons of coffee and 4 teaspoons of sugar); métrios (μέτριος, "medium", 2 teaspoons of coffee and 2 teaspoons of sugar); and a skétos (σκέτος, "plain", 2 teaspoons of coffee and no sugar). All varieties may be served with evaporated milk (με γάλα Greek pronunciation: [me ˈɣala]), in which case they may be called φραπόγαλο (frapógalo, Greek pronunciation: [fraˈpoɣalo], "frappé-milk"), or without.
Kahlúa, Baileys Irish Cream or other liqueurs are sometimes used for additional variation, as well as chocolate milk. Many restaurants add a ball of vanila ice-cream into their frappe instead of milk. Though not technically "frappé" (since they are not shaken), some variations are stirred with a spoon, creating a slightly different texture and, according to some, taste.