Looking to freshen things up a bit with some new coffee ideas? Frappe and latte are two of the most popular choices among those looking to try out something new in the world of coffee. It’s entirely possible that you won’t even like either of them, but if you’re serious about your coffee, you should definitely at least check them out as options at some point. Most people lean towards one of the two, but some enjoy both – and there are even some interesting mixes you can check out if you’re feeling more adventurous. Even without going that far though, you should definitely give frappes and lattes a try at least once.
What’s a Frappe?
Frappe is a relatively new invention on the coffee scene, and it started in Greece about half a century ago, in the mid-50s. Like many popular inventions today, it actually originated as a lucky accident. A person working at an international fair where Nestlé was present with their instant coffee products was disappointed that he couldn’t prepare his usual coffee as there was no hot water available, so he used cold water instead, and added ice cubes to mix the drink better.
The idea instantly caught on and became an overnight hit, with many people lining up to try the new creation. It quickly spread from Greece to the rest of the world, and currently enjoys a lot of popularity in many countries. And as can be expected, Nestlé was quick to capitalize on the popularity of their employee’s invention, promoting the new drink all over the world and integrating it with the rest of their products in different ways.
What’s a Latte?
Latte, on the other hand, is a more traditional Italian variant of coffee based mainly on the idea of adding milk to the drink. Typically, the coffee should be an espresso, and the milk should be steamed – but there are variations that ignore those rules. For some people, making any kind of coffee and adding milk to it is considered a “latte”, though you would probably raise a few eyebrows if you made that statement in certain parts of the world.
The main focus in a good latte is the way the milk mixes with the rest of the drink, and a lot of care goes into creating a finely balanced mix that brings out the best of both flavors. This is not as easy as it sounds and making a good latte can actually take quite a bit of practice. If you’ve never done it before, it might seem like an easy task, especially if you have an espresso machine with an integrated milk steamer. But doing it properly and without any additional equipment can be quite the challenge, and something that will earn you a lot of respect in the eyes of some coffee lovers.
Main Differences Between the Two
The two main differences between frappe and latte are in the temperature and addition of milk. While drinking latte hot or cold is a matter of personal preference, the drink is traditionally prepared hot, and some won’t consider a cold latte to be a “true” latte. On the other hand, adding milk to a frappe may be frowned upon by some – but it’s still a perfectly valid modification to the drink. In fact, some types of coffee go great with milk when made into a frappe. Experimenting with different approaches is important if you want to find that perfect flavor.
Some also associate frappes with instant coffee, though they’re definitely not limited to that. You can make a frappe with many different types of coffee, and you’re not limited to any specific preparation mode. If you like cold espresso, then go for it! Similarly, nobody is stopping you from brewing a nice latte with instant coffee if you prefer its flavor. Some people will immediately call that a sin, but the truth is that instant coffee simply tastes better in the eyes of some, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some types of instant coffee can work especially well for lattes, so experiment a bit and see what’s available. Don’t just stick to the first one you come across that tastes good!
Ease of Preparation
Making a frappe is easier than a latte in many ways. For one thing, you don’t even need to worry about water temperature, something which is a major concern in some preparation methods. As long as you’ve got regular cold water and some ice, you’re good to go. Ice is not even mandatory, but it can add a lot to the flavor of the final drink, and it’s highly recommended to experiment with using it in different ways. For example, try crushing it instead of dropping the cubes directly into the drink.
Latte has a reputation for being more difficult to make than the average coffee, but it’s actually not that hard if you’ve tried it a couple of times. Getting the right balance between coffee and milk is the most challenging part. You have to ensure that you brew your coffee with a consistent recipe each time, and that you also steam your milk under the exact same conditions. As long as the two main ingredients have been prepared in a consistent manner that gives predictable results, getting the drink itself right is only a matter of finding a good balance between their amounts. That can take some experimentation, and it also comes down to personal preference to a large extent. Don’t be afraid to try a few unpopular ideas!
Playing with Variations
If you find yourself enjoying either of the two – or both – you should experiment with different preparation methods, as we mentioned above. There’s a lot you can play with here, and you might be surprised by what you are able to discover on your own. Is a latte cold or hot? Officially the latter, but nobody’s stopping you from making a cold one and adding some ice to it! Is it still a latte at this point, or is it actually a frappe? Or a mix of both? Nobody can give you a concrete answer here, because there isn’t one. It’s a matter of personal preference, and you should never limit yourself to trying out a particular preparation method just because certain elitists are telling you that you’re wrong for enjoying it.
Taking Things One Step Further
And if you want to really kick things up a notch, you can start experimenting with entirely new additions to your recipes. Try something sweet that packs a lot of flavor, for example. Frappuccino is a combination of a frappe and cappuccino, as the name implies – and if you enjoy chocolate and cold brews, you’re absolutely going to love this one. Play with some more interesting flavors. Some people like to mock the “traditional” Starbucks order of pumpkin spice latte, but if you’ve never actually tried it yourself, you’re missing out on a lot.
This is particularly important for those who drink coffee on a daily basis and need it to get through the day. Drinking the exact same thing day in, day out, can get tiring. But if you mix things up a bit with some additional ingredients and you tweak the preparation methods, you can get a lot out of your next brew. You never know, some day you might even discover something that catches on and becomes a new trend! After all, that’s exactly how the frappe started in the first place. That was before the internet was a thing – imagine how many exciting options are waiting to be discovered and shared today?
Home Preparation Tips
Making either a frappe or a latte at home is not that difficult, especially compared to some other types of coffees. But it does require some planning in your shopping, especially if you’re following our advice from above and mixing things up a bit. For a good frappe, you should always keep a steady supply of ice in your fridge. Crushing it can sometimes improve the flavor, so give that a try. For lattes, it’s a good idea to invest in a milk steamer at some point if you find yourself preparing this a lot. While it’s possible to steam your own milk with regular kitchen tools, a dedicated steamer both makes the process faster, and simplifies the cleanup afterwards. Try different kinds of milk too – you might discover that certain variants taste much better when steamed.
Ready to explore something new and discover a potentially new favorite type of coffee? Then definitely check out what frappes and lattes can bring to the table for you and experiment a bit with both recipes. It’s not hard to come up with some variations that can bring out your favorite flavor aspects in both of those types of coffees, but it does take a bit of experimenting. And you’re definitely going to fail a few times, so be prepared for that accordingly, and keep your head up.