What is a Breve Coffee?

Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 09, 2023
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Coffee is a popular drink because there are a variety of options appealing to any and all coffee aficionados. In fact, there are so many terms, with some of them in different languages, that it can be hard to know what’s what, especially if you’re a newer coffee drinker. Latte, mocha, espresso, Americano – these are all common terms which mean different things, and if you’re unfamiliar with them, it can be confusing to know what to order and what the difference is between them. A growing popular term is ‘breve’, but knowing what a breve coffee is can stump even more regular coffee drinkers. The information below will help you better understand a breve coffee drink and whether it could be the right choice for you.

What is the difference between Breve coffee and Latte?

What is a Breve Coffee?Breve coffee and lattes are almost similar beverages, but the differences between them do matter, and you can see it in the flavor and texture of your drink. Lattes and breves, or caffé breves, are both made with espresso and steamed dairy products. The main difference between them lies in what kind of dairy they use.

Lattes are made with a pull of espresso and then topped with steamed milk and finally milk foam. The milk is typically whole milk or perhaps 2%, depending on your preference.

A caffé breve is also made with an espresso shot, and then topped with steamed half and half, and finally the milk foam. Since half and half is thicker, with more fat than milk, it creates more foam when it is steamed and then frothed. The half and half is actually frothed for a longer time than the milk in a latte, which helps to create that higher volume of foam that a latte is lacking. This makes a drink that is richer and fluffier, and many people drink a caffé breve as a desert, though you can certainly drink them for your morning fix as well.

A traditional caffé breve is served as it is, though if you’re not someone who needs authenticity in your coffee drinks, you could add a sweetener or even flavored syrup in the same way you can with a latte.

How to make a Caffè Breve

Before learning how to make a caffé breve, it’s important you understand how espresso is different than coffee. Espresso is brewed by forcing nearly boiling water under high pressure through finely-ground coffee beans. This technique results in espresso, which is thicker than regular coffee and has crema on top (a crema is a foam with a creamy consistency.) By the way, there are coffee machines that can brew both coffee and espresso, which is really convenient.

Because of this brewing process, the flavors and chemicals of the coffee are concentrated, which is why espresso is so often used as a base for many coffee drinks like cappuccino, latte, iced coffee, etc.

Espresso mixes well with other additions such as the milk and the like.

Espresso also has more caffeine per volume than coffee, but since espresso drinks are often presented in smaller serving sizes, the drink itself usually has less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.

What is a Breve Coffee?Now that you understand espresso, you can make your own caffé breve:

  1. Steam and froth your half and half. Froth it longer than you would do it with milk for a latte, so it has time to develop the rich foam expected for this drink
  2. Pull a shot of espresso (2 ounces) into your preferred cup.
  3. While holding back the foam, pour your steamed and frothed half and half into the cup with the espresso
  4. Spoon the remaining foam from the half and half onto the top of your drink
  5. Enjoy!

Many people find caffé breve to be rich enough that they don’t even need to add sweetener, so give it a try!


Since lattes and caffé breves are similar drinks, in that they both have espresso, steamed dairy, and foam, it can be confusing to understand how much the taste differs. Getting a clear idea of how a latte uses milk, and a breve uses half and half can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to decide on the best drink for you. If you’ve never tried a caffé breve before, give it a shot! You never know, it could be your new, favorite beverage.

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