At times, making up your mind at a local coffee shop might be quite tough – there are just too many options on the menu. So, in the end, you find yourself leaving the place with a traditional latte or a cold brew.

However, if you’re a fan of coffee with milk, you might want to get out of your comfort zone next time and order a delicious breve.

A breve coffee is made out of espresso and steamed half-and-half (1:1). The half-and-half is the ingredient that makes a breve different from a latte that is made with regular milk. A mixture of heavy cream and milk makes a breve extra creamy, dense, and sweet.

What Is a Breve?

A breve is a coffee beverage that is a mix of espresso and steamed half-and-half. Just like a lot of other beverages, a breve is topped up with milk foam.

The main trick here is to add equal parts of steamed half-and-half and brewed espresso. But wait a minute…what is this mysterious half-and-half anyway?

The special ingredient is made out of whole milk and heavy cream. The blend is usually about 10-12% fat and has a much denser and creamier consistency than plain milk.

In fact, steamed half-and-half is the exact ingredient that gives your espresso that extra special touch and turns it into a rich breve.

The History of Breve Coffee

Breve coffee, café breve, breve latte, or simply ‘breve’. This beverage is an Americanized version of an Italian classic – latte.

No one knows for sure who created the coffee drink and when. All we know is that it originated in the United States, perhaps, in an attempt to make a beverage that would be a bit sweeter than the more widespread coffees.

In Italian, ‘breve’ means ‘short, little, concise, or brief’. The drink might have been named that way because half-and-half can’t rise as high as plain milk. Or the term ‘short’ simply refers to the short shot of espresso used in the beverage as the base.

How Do You Pronounce Breve?

Don’t let any pronunciation-related issues stop you from ordering a delicious breve on your next trip to the coffee shop!

It might seem tempting to say ‘breev’, but the Italian pronunciation of ‘breve’ is actually ‘breh-veh’.

With that being said, we should not forget that breve coffee is a beverage created in the US, so you can certainly get away with calling the drink ‘breh-vay’ (like in ‘hurray’) which is the American way of pronouncing it.

What Does a Breve Coffee Taste Like?

The espresso shot is the ingredient that is going to provide that strong coffee flavor and the half-and-half will add sweetness and richness flavor-wise and creaminess texture-wise.

This is a high-fat drink that is already quite sweet. So, even the coffee addicts that love their beverage to be extra sweet might sometimes not add any sweetener to their breve.

This is the perfect type of coffee to have as an occasional treat or even instead of your usual dessert.

The creamy, rich, sweet breve feels indulgent (but not too over the top) and a lot more flavorful than the more ‘traditional’ coffees. It is definitely an amazing choice for the coffeeholics who are in search of a more adventurous way to please their palettes.

Ordering a Breve Coffee at Starbucks

There is one important thing about breves and Starbucks that you should know. You won’t get the creamy deliciousness that we have been talking about, in case you simply ask for a breve at this coffee heaven.

The barista might simply hand you a steamed half-and-half (which is, of course, not what you’re going for). The trick here is that at Starbucks, breve is not really served as a stand-alone drink, it is thought of more as an add-on to your favorite coffee.

For example, you can ask for a breve cappuccino, and instead of using plain milk, the barista will prepare your beverage using steamed half-and-half.

To get the traditional version of a breve, forget about the fancy Italian name and simply order an espresso with steamed half-and-half instead of regular milk.

You can also go ahead and order a ‘breve latte’ to get a more indulgent version of the traditional latte. To be fair, you can do this with practically any drink, if you’re willing to add an extra layer of depth to your coffee.

Do bear in mind that you won’t see a breve on the menu, but don’t let that stop you from ordering the yummy beverage. Any barista at Starbucks (and practically any other coffee shop) will be able to make your little wish come true.

Ordering a Breve Coffee at Dutch Bros

If you’re looking for a place that respects and truly adores all kinds of breves, then head to Dutch Bros – their selection of breve spinoffs is truly impressive. Just like in any other coffee place, you can add various syrups and drizzles to your espresso and half-and-half and modify the intensity of the drink.

For example, you can get 5 shots of espresso instead of one or add less than one regular serving of espresso to your coffee to make it sugarier and milkier. Even though the traditional ratio in breves is 1:1, you don’t have to follow the recipe – the world is your oyster.

If you don’t want to be inventing anything on your own, then you can try one of the spinoffs that the coffee shop already has on the menu.

  • Annihilator (espresso, half-and-half, and chocolate macadamia nut syrup)
  • Golden Eagle (espresso, half-and-half, vanilla syrup, and caramel sauce topped with a caramel sauce drizzle and whipped cream)
  • Kicker (espresso, half-and-half, and Irish cream syrup)
  • 9-1-1 (6 shots of espresso (!), half-and-half, and Irish cream syrup)

The Differences Between Latte & Breve

The main difference between a latte and a breve is the fact that the latter is made with half-and-half. The milk and cream mixture makes the beverage a lot thicker and richer.

Traditional lattes, on the other hand, are made with regular whole milk which makes these drinks lighter and foamier.

By the way, the ratio of espresso to milk in a breve is 1:1, while in a latte it’s 1:3. So, if you’re on the hunt for a beverage with a stronger coffee flavor, then a breve might be the right choice for you.

Is a Breve Healthier?

Of course, the number of calories is going to depend on the type of milk used and the toppings, but if we’re talking about plain lattes and breves, then the same size of a breve will have more calories in it.

You get these extra calories from the half-and-half used in the drink.

Is a Breve Sweeter?

A half-and-half has higher sugar content than regular milk, so breves are usually sweeter than plain lattes.

The sweetness is actually one of the main reasons why a lot of people are drawn to breve coffees and get it as a treat every once in a while.

How to Make a Breve at Home

  1. Prepare your two shots of espresso (for a traditional breve, you are going to need around 2 ounces of coffee).
  2. To prepare your half-and-half, combine equal parts of heavy cream and whole milk.
  3. Steam the half-and-half (make sure that it’s very cold). Ideally, you would want to steam your mixture in a small metal milk jug.
  4. When pouring the steamed half-and-half into your mug, hold the foam with a spoon. Once you’ve finished with the pouring, add a spoon of foam to the top of your drink.

Keto-Friendly Breve Coffee

It is possible to make a keto-friendly version of a breve if you find the right substitution for the half-and-half.

You can mix equal parts of hot water and heavy cream or go for full-fat coconut milk, coconut cream, or nut milk (the last few options would be vegan-friendly as well).

Of course, it won’t be a pure version of a breve coffee, but some coffeeholics admit that they actually prefer almond or cashew milk in their half-and-half as it adds a unique taste to the coffee.

Other Breve-Style Drinks

There are plenty of breve-style drinks out there that you might want to give a try. Simply look for the beverages that have espresso and half-and-half in them.

The barista can experiment with the amount of coffee or add delicious syrups and toppings that will take your breve experience to a whole new level.