The concept of the frappe and the smoothie should be adopted by all catering outlets, not just coffee shops, suggests wholesaler Beyond the Bean.
And help is at hand in Summer Drinks Sorted, a recipe booklet of hints and tips for making the best of frappes and smoothies published by the wholesaler to the coffee-house trade.
The smoothie is a thick blended fruit drink, and although specialist juice bars make them from fresh fruit, it is now common to find a liquid ‘smoothie base' which can simply be blended with water and ice.
The frappe is a Greek invention (although Americans claim it for their own). It was invented in 1957 when Nestlé was promoting a chocolate drink for children which was made by mixing with milk and shaking. A Nescafé employee improvised with instant coffee, milk, ice and a cocktail shaker, and invented what was later to be called ‘Greece's national drink'.
The modern frappe uses a coffee powder, ice and a blender, and after being championed by Starbucks, has become a staple part of the menu of all high-street coffee houses… but curiously has not reached wider into the catering sector.
"Frappes and smoothies are mainly found in the coffee-shop sector, where they have become a must-have menu item," confirms Helen Ostle of Beyond the Bean. "However, any place that is family-friendly can benefit from sales of smoothies and frappes, and the benefit is that parents like a choice away from fizzy drinks or fruit sugary things!
"A caffeine-free vanilla frappe is a great base for all sorts of things, and can be cheaper than using ice cream in milkshakes, especially when you take the wastage, transport and storage issues into account. The chocolate frappe is also caffeine-free and great for kids.
The booklet gives several suggestions of how frappes and smoothies can be created using flavoured syrups.
The 12oz size is the most popular in the café sector for both frappes and smoothies. The likely selling price for a standard drink can be between £2.40 and £3.00, of which the cost is probably 40p for the base mix, plus milk and ice.
One unusual recipe is for smoothie into which a triple-choc fudge cookie is blended.
"It's not for dieters," says Helen Ostle, "but they blend smoothly and you get the delicious chocolateness of the cookie coming through."
By Ian Boughton