What Exactly Is a Breve?

Many of us are familiar with different coffee drinks: Americano, cappuccino, latte, the list goes on. But have you ever tried or even heard of the Breve? Because we certainly didn’t not until we visited a close friend in San Francisco. He treated us to some delicious coffee that tasted like nothing we tried before. So naturally, we began wondering – what is this drink? Is it a latte? “No, it’s a breve” – he said. Needless to say, we were stunned – what is a breve? We never heard of it before.

And as it turns out, breve is an American espresso-based drink, known for its rich and creamy texture, since milk is one of the main ingredients in it, alongside actual coffee. Thus, it’s actually pretty to learn how to make breve coffee.

So inspired by this experience, we’ve decided to find all we can about this java, and share with you what is breve coffee, and how you can make it!

Breve: Definition and Origins

To understand this drink a bit better, it’s first important to have a clear understanding of the breve definition. 

A breve drink is an espresso-based coffee made like a cappuccino with equal parts milk and espresso and milk foam. But instead of using milk, a breve is prepared using half and half. Typically, the breve drink is made without adding sugars because added half and half already makes breve coffee rich and decadent, perfect as a dessert.

It’s also important to note that Breve is an Americanized version of an Italian café latte, which is milk-based. And while they may seem pretty similar at first, the biggest difference between Breve coffee and latte is that the former is “fluffier” than latte. Because the steamed half and half creates more form than milk. 

Breve vs Latte: The Differences

There are too many latte differences: it’s quite different than espresso, cappuccino, macchiato e.t.c. And yes, breve coffee too. And now that you know what is a breve, let’s specify how breve drink is different than latte. 

The biggest difference between Breve drink and latte is in the type of cream or milk used. To make a latte, you need steamed milk, typically whole milk, and espresso. On the other hand, a classical or Starbucks breve is made with steamed half-and-half and espresso.

Now, after learning what is breve coffee, you’re probably asking what’s half and half. This is a product comprising half part cream and half whole milk. Thus, it contains equal parts of milk and cream and is often used as a replacement for these two ingredients for people who are looking for something creamier than milk but not thick like cream. Breve half and half offers the middle ground, making it the favorite option for many people. For breve milk, the half and half contains 10% fat content. And if you want non-dairy options, a close alternative would be coconut milk, as it contains more fat than options like oat milk or almond oil.

Breve In-Depth Review

To know if breve is right for you, let’s familiarize ourselves with different features of the drink, including taste, texture, caffeine content, and calories.

Taste & Texture        

Breve has a super creamy, rich texture. It’s made with half and half and espresso, so there’s nothing subtle about the drink. It contains high-fat content and does not need added sugar because of the sweet, creamy top layer.


Espresso, used in making breve coffee, contains more caffeine per unit volume than many coffee beverages – 63 mg of caffeine per 30-50 ml. But since the typical serving is smaller, its total caffeine is less than what is contained in a mug of brewed coffee. The actual amount of caffeine varies by bean origin, size, roast method, and other factors. 

And as for the breve caffeine content –  the small (16 fl oz) serving of breve contains about 93.5 mg of caffeine. Meanwhile, the large (20 fl oz) option packs 187 mg caffeine.


Just like when you get Nespresso pods for latte, you want to ensure your breve coffee contains the right amount of calories. Whole milk contains 3.25% of fat, while half-and-half offers 10% to 18% fat content. According to USDA, protein and carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, while fats offer up to 9 calories. Thus, breve does have high-calorie content. So if you want something keto-friendly, breve might not be the answer. Because of milk’s natural sugar, the drink is too high in carbs to be considered keto-friendly. It’s only ideal if you’re consuming just a splash or two.

How to Make Breve

Here are simple steps to make a breve at home.

  1. Ensure your milk is cold, otherwise, it won’t foam correctly.
  2. Measure the heat with a thermometer. It must be 160 degrees Fahrenheit and no higher.
  3. Position the steam wand into the half-and-half. Try to get a sort of hissing noise from the mix – that means that half-and-half becomes thicker.
  4. Take the half-and-half away from the steam wand when the temperature reaches 140 degrees.
  5. Make an espresso shot, as strong as you want.
  6. Use a spoon, to spread the foam with the steamed milk, allowing the latter to get into the cup.
  7. Use a spoon to pull in the foam, without scooping.
  8. Lastly, pour in the espresso to the breve latte slowly. The half-and-half is thick with air, so it will hold the espresso afloat for several seconds. You know you have made it right when you get a nice fade from the espresso to milk.

Can You Make Iced Breve Latte?

Yup! You can make an iced breve latte by filling a 350 ml (12 oz.) cup with ice cubes, 1 or 2 shots of espresso, and cold half-and-half. Of course, you can use varying serving sizes depending on your needs or how you prefer to make the breve.


What is a breve? Now you know! This is a delicious, rich, and smooth cup of java, that will brighten even the darkest day! And now that you know what is a breve, you can make a cup at home to enjoy the delicious drink. Just follow these instructions and we’re certain you won’t have any trouble preparing a breve coffee! And if you’re a vegan, consider using an alternative to animal milk like coconut.

So, have you ever tried breve coffee before? Or this would be the first for you?

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