The freddo is a Greek beverage that’s been sipped for decades. It’s an iced coffee drink made from fresh espresso and frothed milk, and it combines the refreshment of a cold coffee with the robust flavor of a double espresso. It’s no surprise that this drink is served cold by default, since Greece is pretty warm and sunny year-round.
Espresso first hit the Greek coffee scene in the ’90s, just when the frappe was becoming popular stateside (though it had been commonly found in Greece since the late ’50s). The freddo is essentially the same drink as the frappe, except it’s made with espresso instead of instant coffee. Both drinks are also prepared in a similar fashion, but a frappe can also be served blended. You may not see a freddo espresso or freddo cappuccino at an American Starbucks, but there’s no doubt that the chain’s increasingly popular cold foam-topped beverages were inspired by the Euro drink.
The freddo cappuccino is not to be confused with freddo espresso. Both iced drinks have many variations, but a popular version of the freddo espresso calls for blending a hot double espresso with ice and sugar in a drink mixer, which creates a layer of foam on top of the drink. The freddo cappuccino is alternatively finished with a layer of cold, foamy milk. There’s also such a thing as a freddo flat white, which is served with un-aerated milk on the bottom and a layer of aerated espresso on top. (It’s also served cold, but not over ice.)
The freddo cappuccino has been making the rounds on both Instagram and TikTok thanks to Food52 resident and content creator Carolina Gelen’s viral recipe, which calls for instant espresso or coffee instead of freshly pulled shots (meaning anyone can make this bev, even without an espresso machine or grinder).