Frappe Powder 101: Everything You Should Know About Frappe Powders & Bases

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frappe-collageSelling frappes in your coffeeshop is practically a must. These frothy, frozen delights don’t just fly out the door in the summer months — they're top performers year-round, no matter where you're located. In fact, many coffee shops do more than half of their business in frappes or smoothies.

But understanding which frappe mixes are are right for your shop can be downright daunting. Should you choose a frappe powder? Or a frappe base? What's the difference? Should you add coffee to your frappe mix or should you use one with coffee pre-added? What's the difference between a chiller, a cooler and a frappe? 

No worries, we've got the answers! This handy guide will make designing your frappe program and choosing the right frappe product easy. We'll explain the differences between frappe mix products and why different products work well for different types of coffee shops. And then we'll talk brands -- what makes each brand unique and what purpose they're best for. Let's get started!

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What's the difference between frappuccinos, frappes, chillers and coolers? 

There is no difference. They're different names for the same frozen drinks, and all wholesale mixes for these drinks fall into the "frappe mix" category. ("Frappuccino" is the trademarked name for a well-known chain's frappe products.)


What is frappe powder?

A frappe powder is either a coffee or non-coffee powder that includes emulsifier, flavoring and sweetness and is designed to be blended with ice. To make a frappe using frappe powder, all you need to add is ice and milk (or a dairy substitute) to your powder. You get a consistent frappe every time, with no other ingredients needed. Both coffee and non-coffee frappe powder flavors are popular — your choice will depend on your shop concept and customer preferences.

If you run a coffee shop, you’ll probably want to add your own coffee to showcase your roaster. If coffee is auxiliary to your business and you're looking for a speedy, accurate drink prep process, you can probably stick to a frappe powder that includes coffee. 


What is frappe base?

Frappe base is a powder product that contains emulsifier and sweetness. It serves as a base for your custom drink creations, but doesn't contain the same flavoring agents that frappe powder does. Instead, you get to add your own! Whether you’re adding coffee, chocolate or other flavors, a frappe base lets you get crafty and bring out your inner mixologist. 

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Should I use frappe powder or frappe base?

Frappe powders are best suited for operations that may have very high volume or high staff turnover. If you need to make drinks quickly while maintaining product consistency and keeping food costs in check, frappe powders are the perfect choice. And if you have staff who do multiple jobs, like making drinks and food, frappe powders' simplicity (only three basic ingredients) and ease of preparation offers assurance that your frappes will turn out the same every time.

Frappe bases, on the other hand, are suited for concepts that focus on handcrafted menu items and/or showcase local brands. A frappe base lets your creativity shine. You can tweak flavor profiles by adding exactly the amount of chocolate desired, or make your frappes more coffee-forward to highlight a favorite roast. If you're passionate about barista training (to maintain consistency when preparing more complicated drinks) and your customers don’t mind waiting a bit longer for their orders, frappe base could work well for your shop. Some frappe bases do include coffee. They work well in shops that don’t have easy access to coffee (mobile units, fairgrounds, etc.) or concepts that don’t center on coffee, like ice cream shops.


Where can I buy frappe mix wholesale?

Well, from us! We offer four lines of frappe mixes, each with their own specific advantages for individual operations. We can help you decide which type of frappe mix (powder or base) and line of frappes is best for you. Or you can make your own call after reading up on the advantages of each frappe mix brand we offer. 


What is the best frappe mix brand?

The best frappe mix brand for your shop is one that fits your needs. Here's a rundown of the advantages of each frappe mix brand we offer.


Big Train Frappe Powders and Bases

Big Train frappe powders are the most cost-effective frappe mix products we offer. While other frappe bases (like Hollander) are technically less expensive products, they require the addition of coffee and chocolate, which add hidden costs. The addition of other ingredients also makes portion control (an enormous factor in actual cost) and maintaining consistent pricing more difficult as well. In addition, Big Train offers a wide selection of flavors, including some fruit-based flavors that don't include coffee. This makes it a good choice if you want to offer a variety of frappes or rotate flavors.

It's easy to train your staff to use Big Train products because they require no additional ingredents beyond ice and milk, and they're "one-scoop" preparation allows for easy portion control and drink consistency. If you want to offer several frappes, all you need is the powder for each, milk and ice. You don’t have to worry about maintaining inventory and managing waste for several frappe recipes. 

While Big Train offers consistency, it's one of the most widely used frappe mixes in the US. It won't offer you originality among your local competition. If you're looking to offer a more unique product, we recommend Hollander frappe base. 


Hollander Frappe Bases

Hollander offers chocolate and white chocolate frappe bases only. They make products only for coffee and tea professionals and prioritize flavor profiles for specialty market. This makes them a great choice if you're looking to offer frappe products that are more unique and less saturated in the market. 


Ghirardelli Frappe Bases

Ghirardelli frappe bases are great for showcasing your roaster in your frappes. Their chocolate flavor is subtle, allowing any coffee you add to shine. (You can add also add Ghirardelli chocolate sauce for a mocha frappe.) Ghirardelli offers the advantage of an internationally recognized brand name in addition to a short ingredient list with an aura of purity and premium quality.


DaVinci Frappe Bases and Powders

DaVinci frappe bases offer many popular flavor profiles including Vanilla Freeze, which is popular for its balanced flavor. Their Ice Coffee frappes are very coffee-forward, with unique flavors like Chocolate Chunk, Coffee Toffee and Toasted Coconut as well as more traditional flavors.


What are the most popular frappe powder flavors?

Mocha, vanilla latte (with coffee), caramel latte and vanilla are the biggest sellers for most coffee shops. 


What is the healthiest frappe mix?

Almost all frappe brands contain about the same sugar content with the exception of sugar-free products sweetened with aspartame, like Big Train’s No Sugar Mocha and No Sugar Vanilla Latte products. If you're looking for a frappe mix with a "purer," shorter ingredient list, Hollander and Ghiradelli products are a good fit. Note that all frappe powders and bases contain dairy or dairy derivatives which make them inappropriate for lactose-intolerant customers. (This rule applies even if you're blending your frappe powder or base with a dairy alternative.) 


What frappe powder should I choose?

We hope this guide has helped you pinpoint which frappe mix is the best choice for you and your shop. If you have more questions, contact us! We're happy to give you more guidance or help you design a frappe program that fits your coffee business model.