Welcome to our blog post on Breve Lattes! In this article, we’ll dive into the world of breves and explore what sets them apart from other espresso-based drinks.
- Breve lattes use steamed half-and-half instead of milk, making them richer and creamier than regular lattes.
- Originating in the U.S. in the 1970s, they’re made with espresso and half-and-half, steamed to 160-170°F.
- They have a velvety, slightly sweet taste due to the higher fat content.
- A 12 oz breve latte has about 280 calories and 24g of fat.
- Popular variations include iced, mocha, and pumpkin spice breves.
What’s a Breve Latte?
A Breve Latte is a type of coffee drink made with espresso and steamed half-and-half instead of milk. It is slightly sweeter than a regular latte and has a creamy and rich texture.
This type of drink originated in Italy and is popular in the United States. The espresso is brewed, then the half-and-half is steamed to blend it with the espresso. It has a slightly sweeter taste than a regular latte due to the higher fat content of the half-and-half.
Making a Breve Latte is similar to making a regular latte, however, the milk used is steamed half-and-half instead of regular milk. The added fat makes the texture of the latte richer and creamier and gives it a slightly sweet flavor.
Breve lattes are also known by the following names:
- Caffè Breve: is the original Italian term for this drink that originated in Italy.
- Café Breve: is the anglicized version of “caffè breve” and is used in the United States to refer to the same drink.
- Breve Coffee: is an English translation of “caffè breve” or “café breve.” It is not a commonly used term and is not as widely recognized as the Italian or Anglicized versions.
While its exact origins are unclear, the breve latte, an American twist on the traditional Italian latte, likely first appeared in U.S. coffee shops in the 1970s. Its emergence followed the mass-market introduction of half-and-half in the late 1960s, which was originally invented by William A. Boutwell in Florida in 19271.
The main ingredients in a breve latte are:
- Espresso: 1-2 shots, provides the base coffee flavor
- Steamed half-and-half: Half whole milk, half light cream, provides rich texture
- Foam layer: Created when steaming the half-and-half
- Rich, creamy, velvety texture2
- Slightly sweet taste due to higher fat content
- Thicker and creamier than regular lattes
- Robust coffee flavor from espresso
- Foam layer provides smooth, silky mouthfeel
Breve lattes are surprisingly naturally sweet. This sweetness originates from the fat in the half-and-half. If you’re trying it for the first time, you may be pleasantly surprised by its inherent sweetness. Personally, I find that I don’t need to add any extra sweetener.
While a breve latte is delicious, remember that it’s not the healthiest option.
- Significantly higher in calories and fat than lattes
- 12 oz breve latte has around 320 calories and 24g fat
- 12 oz regular latte has about 190 calories and 7g fat in comparison
- Higher cholesterol due to high fat content (85mg per 12 oz breve)
- Slightly higher carb content than lattes (18g vs 13.5g per 12 oz)
Breve Latte Nutrition
2% Latte Nutrition
Comparison to Other Espresso Drinks
- Latte: Uses steamed milk instead of half-and-half, lighter taste, lower fat and calories
- Cappuccino: Less milk than latte, defined layers, lighter than breve
- Mocha: Adds chocolate syrup, richer taste than latte
- Cortado: Less milk, more espresso-forward
- Macchiato: Espresso with just a dollop of milk foam
- Americano: Espresso with hot water, no milk
How to Make a Breve Latte at Home
Here are the steps to make a breve latte at home:
- Brew a shot of espresso using an espresso machine.
- Make sure your half-and-half is ice-cold before steaming it.
- Fill a steaming pitcher with half-and-half.
- Use the steaming wand on the espresso machine to steam the half-and-half, being careful not to overheat it. Aim for a temperature of around 140°F or 60°C.
- Gently swirl the steamed half-and-half in a circular motion to create smooth and shiny frothy milk.
- Pour the steamed half-and-half over the shot of espresso in a circular pattern to create latte art.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can make super-rich coffee using a Moka Pot. They’re about $30 on Amazon and are a fantastic alternative to a more expensive at-home espresso machine.
If you want to make foamy milk, it’s important to use cold milk that has just come from the fridge. Also, make sure the container you use to steam the milk is cold too.
Some espresso machines come with built-in steaming timers that automatically stop at 160°F. Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature and aim for 160°F or 71°C.
How to Order a Breve Latte at Starbucks
Here are the steps to order a Breve Latte at Starbucks or any coffee shop:
- Walk up to the counter at any coffee shop, including Starbucks.
- Ask the barista for a “breve” or use one of the alternative names such as “cafe breve,” “breve coffee,” or “latte breve.” If the barista looks puzzled, explain that you want a latte made with half-and-half.
- Alternatively, use the Starbucks app to order a Breve Latte by substituting the default milk with half-and-half. This method works for any drink on the menu.
So, next time you want to order a Breve Latte through the Starbucks app, simply replace the default milk with half-and-half.
Make Any Drink “Breve”
Here are my top picks for drinks that can be turned into creamier & more decadent “breve” versions:
- Breve Hot Chocolate: A rich and creamy hot chocolate.
- Breve Mocha: Like a mocha but even better.
- Breve Caramel Macchiato: A sweet and decadent blend of espresso, half-and-half caramel sauce, and vanilla syrup.
- Breve Macchiato: A bold and creamy shot of espresso with a layer of steamed half-and-half on top.
- Breve Pumpkin Spice Latte: A fall favorite featuring pumpkin spice syrup, espresso, and steamed half-and-half.
- Breve Peppermint Mocha: A Christmas classic made with half-and-half for a creamy and minty twist.
What is the difference between breve, latte, and mocha?
Breve is made with half-and-half & espresso, while latte uses steamed milk and espresso. Lattes can be customized with flavor syrups and toppings, while mochas have added chocolate syrup or powder for a chocolatey taste.
Can plant-based milk be used to make a breve latte?
Plant-based milk cannot be used to make a breve latte as it is traditionally made with steamed half-and-half. However, if you prefer a thicker and creamier plant-based latte, you can opt for thicker milk alternatives such as almond milk.
Which espresso beans are recommended for making Breve Lattes?
If you’re looking for a delicious and smooth espresso roast for your Breve Lattes, we highly recommend trying Spirit Animal Coffee’s espresso roast. This medium roast blend is made with high-quality beans sourced from Colombia, Ethiopia, and Brazil, and it features notes of chocolate, caramel, and toasted nuts.
Is Breve or Latte the Healthier Option?
Breve lattes have more cholesterol because of the fat content, which can be bad for your health. If you want a healthier option, you can get a regular latte with skim milk.
What is a Dutch Bros Breve?
It is a coffee drink made with half-and-half instead of milk and flavored with chocolate and vanilla.
In summary, breve lattes use half-and-half instead of regular steamed milk to create a richer, creamier version of a traditional latte. They have a more robust coffee taste and velvety texture but pack significantly more calories and fat. Breve lattes make an indulgent alternative for coffee lovers looking for something more luxurious than a typical latte or cappuccino.