How to Brew

What Is A Breve?

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If you’re like us and you love a little cream added to your morning coffee or espresso, your search can end here. Have you heard of a breve?

Latte and cappuccino fans beware, there’s another drink you need to add to your coffee repertoire.

So what is a breve? It’s an American variation of the latte.

A breve is an espresso-based drink made with steamed half-and-half instead of milk. The drink is then finished off with a nice layer of frothed milk foam on top.

Why is it called breve?

Coming from the Italian language, breve can translate to short, brief, little or concise, which is kind of how a breve is made to be.

A breve can also be known as a cafe breve, breve coffee, or a latte breve. Ordering drinks by any of these names will get you a delightfully rich drink of espresso and creamy milk without any extra sugar added.

What is a breve at Starbucks?

So what if you want to walk down to your local Starbucks and order a breve? Which of the above names should you use to get your point across?

At Starbucks, as with many other coffee shops, the words breve or cafe breve are used when ordering this espresso-based beverage. Half-and-half or light cream is substituted for milk.

Because of the way this drink is made, it turns out to be richer and creamier than a traditional latte.

It also has a hint of sweetness added from the flavorful notes of the half-and-half.

Breve

What is the difference between a latte and a breve?

A latte is probably considered the more popular brother or sister of the two drinks. With all the flavor varieties, options can seem endless.

However, a distinct difference between a breve and a latte is in the type of milk or cream used. A latte is made with steamed milk, usually whole milk, and espresso. A breve is made with espresso and steamed half-and-half instead of milk.

What exactly is half-and-half? and how does it affect the taste of your drink?

It’s a blend of half whole milk and half light cream. It usually contains about 10 to 12% fat in its content, making it the perfect addition to your morning coffee if you are looking for a creamy pickup.

Half-and-half can’t be whipped, but it adds a whole lotta richness to your espresso without being as heavy as the cream can get on its own.

How to make a breve at home

If you’ve recently read our post on microfoam and you’re ready to take your at-home barista skills to the next level, there are a few things you will need to consider before you make one of these breve latte drinks.

  1. It is absolutely vital to make sure that your milk is ice cold and straight out of the fridge. If it’s warm at all or even room temperature it will not foam correctly.
  2. Use a thermometer to gauge your heat. Aim for 160 oF or 71 oC. If you want your family and friends to drink coffee at your house again, you do not want to burn your half-and-half.
  3. Position your steam wand in your half-and-half to just below the half-and-half. Aim for a light, pleasant-sounding hissing noise and a whirlpool motion in your liquid that raises the volume of your steamed half-and-half but doesn’t make thick bubbles.
  4. Cut your steamed half-and-half from your steam wand when you reach about 140 oF or 60 oC as it will continue to cook a bit before cooling down.
  5. Make one to two shots of espresso depending on the desired strength you want your breve latte to be.
  6. Use a spoon to part your silky foam with the steamed milk, and allow the steamed milk to flow into the bottom of your favorite cup.
  7. Without scooping, pull in the foam with your spoon.
  8. Lastly, pour in your espresso to your breve latte as slowly as you possibly can. The steamed half-and-half is so thick with air that it will hold the expresso afloat at the surface for a few seconds. You’ll know you’ve achieved success when you end up with a nice fade from espresso to milk.

Breve

Are breves good for you?

When it comes to the nutritional value of a breve and the fact that it is made with half whole milk and half-light, or let’s be honest, sometimes heavy cream, the calorie count and cholesterol levels for this beverage can go through the roof. Not to mention the fact that half-and-half does not double in size the way whole milk does when it is frothed.

If you are in search of a healthier option, we recommend leaving the breves for special occasions and making a regular latte or skinny latte your daily choice.

But hey, no judgment here on what you’re drinking. You do you and we’ll be here along for the ride.

Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about adding some half-and-half to your espresso or lattes, you can order like a pro at your local coffee shop.

Or if you’re feeling brave, you may even want to test out your cafe quarantine skills by making these drinks from the comfort of your own kitchen.

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