What is a Breve Coffee?
If you enjoy coffee, but you have mostly stuck to regular coffee brew for most of your life, it might be time to step outside of the box – and we mean more than just a macchiato or a cold brew.
If you're wondering what is a breve coffee, it's an espresso drink that has a mix of coffee and cream.
It’s actually very creamy and has a milk-to-coffee ratio of 10:2. This makes it a creamy, frothy, refreshing brew, and the cafe breve has been a staple of Italian coffee culture since the 1600s.
A breve is like a latte but better. It’s made up of high-quality espresso coffee beans and fresh, creamy whole milk. It has a strong coffee flavor but also the creaminess of a latte.
What Does Breve Coffee Taste Like?
Breve coffee is high on flavor and indulgence. It contains a lot of half-and-half, so it isn’t for those who are intolerant to dairy.
But despite the heavy cream in this espresso drink, a cup of breve still packs a powerful coffee punch. You’re using strong espresso – about two ounces of it for a regular breve – so you’re getting a big dose of coffee power.
It’s important to use fresh, finely ground beans when making a breve. This fine ground espresso is what makes the coffee component of the breve stand out.
Ideally, your coffee grounds will be less than two weeks old – the fresher, the better.
If you are using an espresso machine, you’ll want to slowly and gently push the plunger and not pause too much in between brewing the espresso and preparing the milk foam. This ensures the most consistent flavor for both.
A breve coffee isn’t a “diet” coffee. The amount of calories in a breve varies based on the size, but a standard 12 once coffee will have about 400 to 500 calories because of the high-fat half-and-half you’re using.
It also has about 10 to 12 grams of protein, so it serves as more than just a sweet espresso beverage. You can reduce the calories and fat in a breve by not using whole fat half-and-half, but that will affect your beverage's outcome.
True coffee lovers will want to have the ultimate experience and enjoy this creamy drink without making adjustments. If you are worried about fat or calories, cut back on dessert items, and indulge in the authentic coffee recipe instead.
All you need to make a breve coffee is half-and-half and an espresso shot. You can sweeten it with sugar or low- or no-calorie sweeteners or add flavors if you choose, but true coffee lovers will want to drink this as-is.
Ideally, you’ll be able to brew your espresso fresh and have a milk frothing tool to get foamy, creamy, half-and-half to add to your drink.
Breve coffee is best served in a wider, bowl-shaped mug.
There are a few different variations on breve recipes, but one of the most reliable is listed below:
1. Prepare Your Foamy Half-and-Half
Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, you can begin making your breve by preparing the milk.
For a regular 12 ounce cup of breve, you’ll want to heat 10 ounces of milk to 150 degrees. You can do this in the microwave, but we prefer heating it slowly in a saucepan.
2. Measure Your Coffee Grinds
While your milk is warming, prepare your espresso shot. You’ll want to use high-quality beans and make sure you measure the right quantity for the shot.
Place a paper filter on the cap of your espresso machine and secure it. Next, pour 2 scoops of dry grounds into the machine’s chamber.
Take your hot water and pour it onto the coffee. Stir it for about 10 seconds, wet the plunger seal, and place it in the chamber.
At this point, you press the plunger down gently. Aim for the plunger down motion to take about 20 seconds. (This will feel longer than you expect!) Once the plunger is fully depressed, you’re finished with the espresso prep.
Once completed, pour the espresso into your large bowl-shaped cup. You want to aim for about 2 ounces of espresso for a single 12-ounce breve beverage.
3. Make Your Foam
Now that your espresso shot is done and your milk is heated use a mixing tool (a whisk, a mini-immersion blender, etc.) to create a foamy cream. It should take about 10 seconds to do this, depending on the tool you’re using.
You want froth, but you probably won’t get a “stiff peak” with the foam as you would with a meringue. Aim for a consistency that’s creamy and sturdy.
You’ll want to do this step just seconds before you intend to drink your beverage. Ideally, your coffee will finish brewing, and you’ll foam your milk moments after you add it to the finished coffee.
4. Introducing the Frothed Milk to the Espresso
You now have a perfect espresso shot and perfectly foamed milk. It’s time to bring these two components of your breve beverage together. But to do this, you need to act slowly.
Dumping coffee into your foam or tossing your foam on top of your espresso shot isn’t doing justice to your beverage.
The key to the perfect breve is to pour delicately. Your goal is to thoroughly and evenly coat your coffee with your foam.
This is also why a bowl-sized cup works best because there’s plenty of room for the two liquids to blend evenly.
5. Enjoy Your Drink
That’s it. Your breve is ready to enjoy. And you no longer need to ask yourself, ‘What is a Breve Coffee?”.
Remember, you can top the foam with a sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder, but there’s no need to because it’s a perfect coffee drink without any extras.
This is also when you’d add any flavored syrups or anything else you’d like to try in your drink.
You can make a decaf breve by using decaf espresso ground coffee beans. We don’t think it changes the taste too much, but if you’re someone who finds decaf coffee a bit more bitter than fully caffeinated, a breve might be a great option since the cream makes the coffee a bit milder.