What is a Breve Latte? Read This First!

If you find that your traditional latte isn’t cutting it anymore for your decadent coffee fix, you may consider switching to a breve latte. So just what is a breve latte, and how do you make it? Read on to find out.

A take out cup of coffee from a coffee shop.
Breve Latte provides a richer, more naturally sweet taste than a traditional latte

If you are into the world of coffee, specifically lattes, then you have probably heard of a breve latte and maybe even added it to your list of must-try coffee drinks. However, chances are, it also left you wondering what is a breve latte?

A breve latte is another decadent coffee drink that provides a richer, more naturally sweet taste than a traditional latte. In fact, it is made very similar to a latte; instead of using whole or 2% milk like traditional lattes, it is made using half-and-half, which adds a richer, creamier texture to the coffee.

About The Breve Latte

A breve latte, also called Caffe breve, breve coffee, and breve, is an American version of the classic Italian latte or cappuccino that is made using espresso. In fact, breve comes from the Italian dialect, which means short.

Like a latte and a cappuccino, a breve latte also contains steamed milk and froth; however, it produces a creamier texture with a higher foam volume than traditional latte espresso drinks.

How A Breve Latte Differs From A Latte

Though a breve latte and a latte are both made the same, their main differences are their texture and taste.

A traditional latte is made from espresso and steamed milk and then finished with a light layer of milk foam on top, which adds a creamy like taste to the drink without overpowering the espresso flavor.

It also often includes other added flavors or flavored syrups, such as mocha, caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut, to give it a specific taste. Some coffee shops may even top them with a bit of whipped cream for a more indulgent drink.

On the other hand, a breve latte is also made from espresso and steamed milk and then finished with a layer of milk froth; however, instead of using whole or 2% milk like traditional lattes, it is made using half-and-half, which adds a richer, creamier texture to the coffee.

The half-and-half is then frothed and added to the espresso, which produces a fluffier top layer of foam, due to the high-fat content in the cream, for an even more indulgent drink.

Unlike a traditional latte, a breve latte also does not usually contain flavored syrups or whipped cream, but instead, it is most loved for its velvety, naturally sweet taste. However, you can add a flavored syrup to it if you like or if you feel the drink isn’t sweet enough.

Because the breve latte also contains cream, it also has a higher cholesterol content than a traditional latte.

But like a traditional latte, it also contains protein and carbohydrates, due to the milk, for those looking to add both to their daily intake.

The Factors That Go Into Making A Great Breve Latte

a cup of breve latte
The way the espresso is made and the device used will determine the quality of breve latte

Like any good cup of coffee, the quality of the coffee beans will also determine how flavorful the coffee is, as well as how well it works with the half-and-half.

For instance, if the espresso is made with light roast beans or the grind is too coarse, it can produce a lighter tasting espresso, which can be overpowered by the half-and-half. It can also cause the espresso to taste bitter.

On the other hand, dark roast beans that are ground very finely will produce a stronger, richer tasting espresso that is complemented by the half-and-half.

The way the espresso is made or the device used to make the espresso will also determine the quality of the breve latte.

A traditional espresso maker is often considered the best tool for making quality espresso, as the pressurized water the machine uses to brew the coffee better permeates the grounds, which produces a more flavorful drink. It also enables you to adjust the different factors that go into making the espresso, resulting in a brew that is geared more towards your specific taste.

However, a traditional espresso machine is a bit more complex to operate; therefore, it may take some time and practice to perfect the art of using it to make your espresso, so be prepared.

You can also use a pod machine to make espresso; however, you won’t be able to control the intensity of the flavor that is released from the grounds, so if controlling the taste is not as important to you when making your espresso drinks, then you can use a pod machine to help make it easier to make your breve latte.

The espresso pods also come in different flavors, which provides you with the option to make a sweeter drink, if you’d like.

If you are on a budget, or you just simply enjoy your Moka pot, then you could also make a breve latte using a stovetop espresso maker. However, again, you won’t be able to control the flavor intensity of the espresso, and you will also have to froth the half-and-half separately because this type of device does not include a milk frother.

The amount of half-and-half you use to make your Caffe breve will also affect its taste. For instance, if you prefer a creamier breve latte, use more half-and-half. Otherwise, for a bolder tasting breve coffee similar to a cappuccino, use less half-and-half.

The fresher the half-and-half, the sweeter the taste and creaminess the breve coffee will also have.

How To Make A Breve Latte

What You will Need:

  • Fresh, finely ground espresso beans
  • Coffee scoop, or a two-tablespoon size scoop
  • An espresso maker
  • Half-and-half
  • A milk frothing device, if not using an espresso machine
  • Your favorite coffee mug

First: Heat The Half-And-Half

Begin by heating the half-and-half so that it is already warm once the espresso is finished brewing. If you do not have an espresso machine, simply place the half-and-half in the microwave or on in a pot on the stovetop and then allow it to heat for no more than 90 seconds.

For a single serving of breve latte, you will need at least 10 ounces of half-and-half.

Second: Froth The Half-And-Half

Using your espresso machine, next froth the half-and-half.

If you do not own an espresso machine, you can use a small frothing device, such as an immersion blender, which will enable you to create foam in just under 10 seconds. Or you could also use a small whisk to create the froth by hand, which will take approximately 30 to 40 seconds to complete.

Third: Finely Grind The Coffee Beans

Freshly ground coffee makes the best coffee with a heavenly aroma to match, no matter the coffee type, so it is always recommended to begin your coffee making with freshly ground beans.

For a breve latte, use a coffee grinder to grind the beans until they are finely ground, which will enable them to blend well with the water during the brewing process.

Once the beans are finely ground, measure out one leveled coffee scoop of the grounds and then place them into your espresso machine and allow them to brew. Or if you are not using an espresso machine, use a coffee scoop to measure out two tablespoons of pre-ground coffee and then add it to your espresso maker.

Fourth: Combine The Half-And-Half And Espresso

A close up of an Espresso machine.
Combine the heated half-and-half into the espresso so that it mixes thoroughly and evenly

Once the espresso is brewed, it is now time to add the half-and-half and the froth.

Pour two shots of espresso into your mug or cup. Next, slowly pour the heated half-and-half into the espresso so that it mixes thoroughly and evenly.

As the steamed half-and-half reaches the end of the container, gently pour the remaining foam into the espresso. You could even end with a bit of latte art for an added twist if you’d like.


How To Serve A Breve Latte

A breve latte is typically served hot, and it is also usually presented in a more bowl-shaped mug, which allows enough room for the half-and-half to evenly mix into the espresso.

It is also usually served as a satisfying end to a scrumptious meal in place of dessert, due to its creamy, indulgent richness. However, some people also prefer to enjoy it in the morning as a cozy start to the day.

Related Questions

Do I have to Use Half-and-Half to Make a Breve Latte?

When making a breve coffee, you can use cream or any type of milk you like to produce creamy results; however, keep in mind the kind of milk you use will ultimately affect its overall texture and foam. It will also taste differently, depending on the milk type, as well as how rich the milk is.

In the meantime, if you are considering using a milk alternative, certain milk alternatives, such as full-fat coconut milk or cashew milk, will produce a thicker consistency and sweetness similar to half-and-half.
You could also use

fat-free half-and-half to make your breve latte, which will help cup calories; however, you may find that the naturally sweet taste that is normally produced by the lactose in regular half-and-half is missing. Therefore, you may need to add sweeteners to the breve coffee to help make up for the lack of natural sweetness, which may also add calories.

Can You Make Iced Breve Latte?

Yes. It is possible to make an iced breve latte. However, when making an iced breve latte, just like making a regular latte, you fill a glass with ice cubes first and then add hot or cold espresso and then cold half-and-half to the glass. If you prefer, finish the iced drink with a flavored syrup and a bit of whipped cream for a more sinful breve latte.

An iced breve latte is also another way to enjoy a reduced-calorie coffee since the ice fills up the majority of the glass, which leaves less room for the half-and-half, and thus fewer calories.

What is the Correct Way to Pronounce Breve?

Should you ever attempt to order a breve latte while you are out, knowing the correct way to pronounce breve, which is “breh veh”, can help save you embarrassment.

You should also know that though a breve latte is also sometimes called a breve, depending on the coffee shop that you visit, simply ordering a breve may result in you receiving just a cup of steamed half-and-half, as the word breve alone to some coffee baristas simply means half-and-half. Therefore, be clear about what you are ordering when you ask for a breve for the best results.

For more info, check out our follow-on guide: Is a Breve Latte Keto?


  • 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.