Frappe powder is the generic term for a dry drink mix available in bulk or for individual sale. When blended with ice and a liquid, such as coffee or milk, the result is a frothy beverage with a thickness and texture similar to a milkshake. Several food additives common to all frappe powders are responsible for creating this signature texture.
Don't Thank the Cows
Nondairy creamer is a recurring additive in store-bought frappe powders. Its main constituents, usually corn syrup, milk solids or milk derivatives and coconut oil, contribute viscosity and flavor. Occasionally the coconut oil is partially hydrogenated to further improve and maintain frappe density during and after blending. Some frappe powders contain powdered nonfat milk.
Frappe Days Are Here
Silicon dioxide, or sand, is an absorbent, anti-caking agent that prevents frappe powder from clumping. It absorbs any moisture from other ingredients, keeping them dry and powdery. This anti-caking characteristic holds true even after you blend the frappe powder with liquid. The result is an iced beverage that thickens considerably when blended but still flows continuously like a fluid. Food manufacturers also add silicon dioxide to flour, salts, dry soup mixes and coffee creamer.
Definitely Worth Its Weight
Salt is quite at home in frappe powders and most contain it. It seems odd to add salt to a powder meant for making a sweet beverage, but salt is sugar's more solemn counterpart, and the two complement each other. Chefs know this trick and use it faithfully, tossing dashes of salt into sweet dishes to deepen the complexity of sugary flavors. In frappe powders, a little salt intensifies the taste of sugar and expands sugar's one note into something harmonious.
The Frappe Plot Thickens
Xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan and soy lecithin are thickeners, emulsifiers, stabilizers or all of the above. These substances help to suspend fat and protein uniformly throughout water, giving frappes their creaminess. Xanthan gum, a thickener, is the gel that occurs when a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris ferments sugar. Guar gum, principally a thickener, comes from a seed native to tropical Asia. Carageenan, an emulsifier, is a polysaccharide present in red algae. Soy lecithin, from soy, evenly disperses fat throughout water, making each mouthful of frappe consistent in taste and texture.
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