What is Breve Coffee? Read This First!

Wondering what is breve coffee or caffe breve? It’s is an espresso-based coffee with half-and-half in it. Part of its appeal lies in its foamy, milky top layer.

Variations on breve recipes - what is breve coffee
Breve coffee is an American version of an Italian classic

There seems to be some confusion about what Breve Coffee is and is not. To make the process of preparing one for yourself at home faster and easier, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to explain in detail where the hot beverage originates from, how to prepare it, and what you can do to make it fit your taste preferences.

That way, you’re able to enjoy the flavors of the classic coffee drink in a way that feels right to you.

What is Breve Coffee? It’s a delicious drink made from espresso and half-and-half with foam on the top. It’s a drink enjoyed around the world but is the Americanized version of an Italian classic.

As with any other guide we produce for our readers to refer to, it’s important to know more about the beverage’s origins, ingredients, and preparation process. By providing you with the information, you’re able to enjoy a delicious drink whenever you need a pick-me-up.

We love a good Breve Coffee and the simplicity in making the steaming hot beverage from the comfort of our own kitchens.

What is Breve Coffee?

A good coffee can uplift your spirits, signaling the start of a positive and productive morning. Knowing how to create your own Breve Coffee from home ensures that you’ll always be able to enjoy a cup before dashing out the door for the day. To help you stock your kitchen with the ingredients needed to create the popular drink, we’re detailing the different things that make a coffee a Breve.

People often get confused between a Breve and a Latte. Both contain nearly identical ingredients and look similar in appearance. They are, however, different drinks, so it’s vital to know how you make each one. You’ll avoid creating the wrong espresso-based drink for yourself.

We’ll start by explaining what Breve Coffee or Caffe Breve is. It’s one of our favorite drinks to make ourselves and very enjoyable to drink year-round. It’s something that we like to start our day out with and consume when we want to treat ourselves with a thick slice of coffee cake or cream cheese-filled Danish.

Breve Coffee Or Caffe Breve

A Breve Coffee is also known as a Caffe Breve. It is made from espresso and contains steamed half-and-half in it. Half-and-half consists of half milk and half heavy cream.

There is a layer of milk foam on the top, which is why the Caffe Breve and Latte get confused.

A Latte doesn’t contain the cream part of the Caffe Breve. It’s assembled the same way and uses most of the same ingredients. It is, however, a different color and consistency despite the frothy milk on top.


A Latte consists of espresso, steamed milk, and also has a layer of foam on the top. The biggest difference between it and Breve Coffee is that it lacks the heavy cream element of the drink. It looks like a darker version of the Caffe Breve, but the preparation is very similar.

Keto-Friendly Version Of A Breve Coffee

People following a Keto diet will need to make substitutions because milk is on their ‘Do Not Allow’ list of items. There is a way around it. You can make a Breve Coffee without the half-and-half.

You can substitute the milk portion of the beverage with water. The heavy cream and water mixture is then steamed and added to the espresso. It, like a traditional Breve Coffee, has a foamy topping.

It is lighter and frothier with the absence of the milk. As you can see, making a Breve Coffee is straightforward. It uses simple ingredients and requires little effort.

You can enjoy your favorite beverage day and night without the added expense of ordering from a coffeehouse. Minimal equipment is needed to create the hot beverage, too.

The Americanized version of a latte is similar to a cappuccino. It’s light, creamy, and delicious. It’s also relatively easy to make, especially if you have the right equipment at home to prepare a cup of frothy espresso.

It doesn’t need to be a specialty drink that you only drink outside the home because you can create it in your kitchen.

How To Make A Caffe Breve

To make a Caffe Breve at home, you need three ingredients. They are water, finely ground coffee, and half and half. If you plan to add any flavoring agents, you’ll need to keep the syrups and sweetener nearby, too.

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03/07/2024 10:40 pm GMT

Having access to an espresso maker is very advantageous as it saves you time and creates a consistently good product for you to drink. You’ll also want a milk steamer and a frothing instrument. Each makes preparing a Breve Coffee fast and easy for you.

A close up of an Espresso machine.
Having an Espresso maker is an advantage

Here are the steps that you need to follow to create the perfect hot beverage for you to drink:

  • Prepare the espresso according to your machine’s instructions. Include the recommended amount of water and coffee to create the espresso. The water that you use must be boiling, and the coffee ground finely. You want the water pressure to be rather significant when heating the water so that you’re able to make the purest espresso you can.
  • Take your half-and-half and steam and froth it. It requires extra time frothing than a latte. You should have a thick foam by the time once you’ve finished doing this step. It pays to have patience when doing this step because the foam makes a world of difference in how the beverage tastes.
  • Add a shot of espresso to your cup. Two ounces is the standard amount. You can, of course, adjust the quantity to your liking by doubling or tripling the amount before moving onto the next step. It’s up to you how much you’d like to drink in one sitting.
  • Pour the half-and-half into the cup. Make sure not to lose the foam! It’s an integral part of the drink. You’ll want to use a spoon to keep it contained while you’re pouring the half-and-half into the cup.
  • Take the foam and spoon it onto the top of the half-and-half you added. That’s it! You don’t need to do anything else but enjoy your drink. Once you’ve made a few Caffe Braves, you’ll have no problem making them regularly.

If you’re going to add flavoring or sweetener, you’ll want to add it directly to the espresso. You’re not disrupting the layering effect. You won’t lose the foam on the top by stirring the mixture to distribute the flavoring and sweetener evenly.

You don’t want all the sweetness to settle to the bottom, so mixing it well before adding the half-and-half is imperative. The espresso layer should make up the bottom of the drink. Then, the half-and-half is followed by the frothy layer on top.

The Types Of Coffee Beans To Shop For Today

Not every coffee bean works well for a Caffe Breve. Some are more robust than others. When trying to decide which beans to buy, consider their flavor, amount of roasting, and aroma.

Brazilian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans are best because they enhance the taste of the half-and-half. You can choose any of the three varieties to create your espresso because the key is to grind it as finely as possible.

After some time, you’ll have a preference in what type of coffee you choose to make the espresso portion of your Breve Coffee. Each person has their preferences. You may even find that you like to blend two varieties of beans to make your signature base layer.

Again, it’s entirely up to you to determine which option is best for you and your household.

How To Shop For Coffee Beans

If you’ve never shopped for coffee beans before, it can be rather challenging to know what to buy. You may have enjoyed a Breve Coffee outside the house but never attempted to recreate the recipe on your own. The type of coffee that you purchase makes a big difference in the final product you end up with.

The following tips help you select the highest quality products you can buy. When you focus on the flavor versus the price, you’re able to create a more authentic at-home coffeehouse experience. You’ll save money in the long run, too, because you won’t need to travel to get your caffeine fix.

Shop For Coffee Beans Like You Were Preparing A Gourmet Dinner

coffee beans on a small air-tight jar
Choose the best quality coffee beans

Buy the best quality beans you can afford. Consider how the manufacturer has packed them, too, because you’ll need to be able to store them a certain way to maintain their freshness. You can buy directly from the manufacturer or through a retailer that carries your favorite products.

Either way, be very selective in what you choose because it can make or break the flavor profile of the product.

Gourmet is a marketing term that gets tossed around a lot. You’ll be able to tell a quality product by its packaging, reviews, and product descriptions. You can also try the coffee beans out for the first time and formulate your own opinion.

Basing your decision on how easy they are to grind, store, and make espresso will determine whether or not you choose to buy them again.

Choose A Variety Of Beans That Work For Espresso

As mentioned above, some countries’ beans make a better espresso. Brazil, Guatemala, and Ethiopia are three such geographic locations that produce robust coffee beans. You’ll be able to get the desired color and flavor from the beans once you grind them down finely.

It also gives you reference as to which products to look for in the future because you already have experience using them to make a Breve Coffee.

Learn More About The Company’s Origin, Values, And Preparation Process

Getting to know the company that you buy beans from makes a difference, too. It helps you understand where the product comes from, how to prepare it, and whether the process is Fair Trade. You can choose the best quality products based on how they fit your values.

Every dollar that you spend on the coffee you buy to make at home supports a company, its employees, and growers.

Use The Right Kind Of Water To Make Your Breve Coffee Drink

The quality of the water makes a big difference, too. Coffee of all types is 98 percent water. To prevent it from having an odd flavor and odor, you should have access to the clearest, cleanest filtered water possible. It will prevent any off-putting tastes and smells from ruining your hot beverage.

Choosing the freshest and most tasty coffee beans available will affect the level of satisfaction you achieve with your daily Caffe Breve. When you invest in high-quality ingredients, it’s hard to create a beverage that doesn’t taste amazing. You’ll be able to determine the cost per cup of coffee, too, once you have an idea of how much its ingredients cost individually.

How To Flavor A Caffe Breve

If espresso is a bit too strong for you, you can add flavoring to change how it tastes. Hazelnut is one flavor that many people enjoy. Caramel is another that can give the Caffe Breve more pizazz.

If you like a sweeter beverage to drink, you can also use sugar or sugar substitutes to make the drink more palatable for you. Keeping these items in stock in your pantry ensures that you’ll never be without the ingredients you need to make your favorite version of a Breve Coffee.

You can also flavor the foam with the addition of chocolate shavings or cinnamon. It’s up to you how you decide to personalize your drink. A traditional Caffe Breve is as simple to make as possible. It’s just espresso and half-and-half.

Making A Breve Coffee Using Plant-Based Products In Place Of Dairy

Coconut shell and milk on wooden chopping board
Full-fat coconut milk are used as substitutes for Caffe Breve

Vegetarians and vegans who would prefer to have their Caffe Breve without milk and heavy cream are in luck. They can use full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream as substitutes. They can also use nut milk or soy milk because both contain no dairy.

The key to creating an authentic Breve Coffee is to make sure that the substance on top is nice and frothy.

You’ll still want to have a replacement for the half-and-half. If you substitute just the cream, you’ll have a Latte, not a Breve Coffee. You need the added fat from the coconut cream to replace the heavy cream. Without it, the flavor and color will be off.

Keeping coconut cream in the fridge keeps it solid. Vegetarians and vegans use it as a replacement for whipped topping. When it’s cold, it has the consistency of a thick pudding.

Once it is added to the nut, soy, or coconut milk and steamed, it will be somewhat runnier like dairy cream is when poured from its bottle or container.

Related Questions

Can a Breve Coffee be made without dairy?

Yes, it can. You can substitute the dairy with coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, and coconut cream. Experimenting with frothing the half milk, half cream substitutes helps you understand how well they’ll work to create a Caffe Breve.

What are good foods to eat with Breve Coffee?

Sweets of all types help balance out the rich espresso flavors. Think coffee cakes, Danishes, pumpkin and banana bread, cinnamon rolls, and any other baked dessert. Many are for breakfast, but you can eat them at any time of day.

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll find that a treat pairs well with a Caffe Breve.

How do I make a Breve Coffee from home if I don’t have fancy equipment?

You can make espresso using a French Press coffee maker if you don’t have an espresso machine. You’re able to make the strong coffee and strain it in the same vessel. You’ll need to know how hot the glass can get, however, before pouring boiling water into it.

It prevents you from having the glass shatter.

Is Breve Coffee Keto?

It can be if you omit the half-and-half. You’ll need to substitute the milk portion of the beverage. The cream is fine. Using water or a nut milk of choice can give you the desired consistency and flavor that you’d get with a traditional Breve Coffee.

Where can you order Breve Coffee outside your home?

Starbucks is one establishment that serves Breve Coffee. If you need to make substitutions to make it vegan or keto, this is the place to do it. People use Starbucks for customized orders. It’s part of what makes it a popular place to order coffee.

What is the nutritional value of a Breve Coffee?

The calories in a Starbucks Breve Venti is 430. There are 37 grams of fat, with 23 grams being saturated fat. Sixteen grams of total carbohydrate is in each serving. It also contains 35 percent of your RDA for calcium.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.