What is Caffè Breve? How Do You Prepare It?

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In the world of coffee, there is an endless selection of delicious drinks to choose from. You can opt for dark, strong, and bold, or you can tease your taste buds with something creamy and frothy.

If you are not interested in either option, a regular drip brew is always a safe choice. For those looking to expand their caffeinated adventures, consider grabbing a Caffè Breve the next time you stop by your local coffee shop. If you like to know what type of drink you are getting yourself into before ordering, our simple guide is a great place to start.

What is Caffè Breve? Where Does it Come From?

A Caffe breve is known by several different names. You may see it written out as a latte breve, breve coffee, a cafe breve, or simply, just breve. No matter what the name, you will be presented with a hot, steaming cup of caffeinated nirvana. Now, you may be wondering just what exactly a Caffe breve is and where it came from.

The Caffe breve is basically an American version of the classic Italian cafe latte. The original cafe latte came from Italy and made with pure milk steamed and frothed to perfection. The Caffe breve is a creative take on the same drink that replaces steamed milk with half-and-half. The result is a thicker, fluffier latte that has a higher volume of foam than you will find in other types of milk-based espresso drinks.

Is a Breve the same as a Latte?

A latte is a very delicious coffee drink that is a wonderful blend of espresso and steamed milk. They can be customized to suit your taste in terms of sweetness or even added flavors. You can make lattes with non-dairy milk, low–fat milk, almond milk, and full-fat milk.

For the lactose intolerant or vegans, you can even have a soy milk latte. A breve though very close to a latte, is different. A breve is made with half-and-half which makes the drink richer, fluffier, and more fattening. While both are delicious, their differences make them easy to tell apart.

How does the Half and Half change the taste?

Before getting into what makes the taste of a breve unique, you need to understand what half-and-half is. Most traditional espresso drinks are made with whole or skim milk. Breve beverages are made with half-and-half which is why they are so rich and creamy. Half-and-half has 12% milk fat and is a balanced mix of light cream and whole milk. For those who love creamy coffee, half-and-half is generally a constant companion.

You can’t whip half-and-half, but you can froth it just like you would with steamed milk. Using it in place of milk in drinks is the main method of making espresso drinks richer without adding the heaviness that comes from full cream. When you use half-and-half in a breve, you most often have no need to add sugar. The half-and-half has a natural sweetness that transfers to the breve once prepared. If you use flavored half-and-half, it will add an even deeper dimension to your morning cuppa.

Can Half and Half be used to foam

Does Starbucks offer a Breve?

If you are a big fan of Starbucks, chances are you know their menu by heart. Breve is not listed on the menu, but most of the chain’s most popular drinks are not listed either. They do, in fact, serve Caffe breve on request.

Ordering this rich caffeine delight is pretty simple. All you have to do is ask! In Starbucks or just about any coffee shop, asking for a breve will simply tell the barista to use half-and-half in place of milk with your espresso-based drink.

You can literally turn any Starbucks espresso drink into a Caffe breve version. If you are having trouble getting your point across, you can also directly ask the barista to use half-and-half instead of milk. Like all espresso-based drinks, you will also get a generous top of foam on the top of your beverage.

How do you make a Breve at home?

For those who want to make their own breve at home, all you need is an espresso machine or Moka pot, your drink ingredients, a heat gauge, and of course, a frothing tool. Your half-and-half should be kept in the refrigerator until you plan to use it. Warm or even room temperature half-and-half won’t foam properly.

Prepare your espresso as usual, either in your machine or on the stove in your Moka pot. Once it is ready, pour it into the bottom of your coffee cup. Next, in a separate cup, add your half and half. With your steaming wand, submerge the end a quarter of the way, let the liquid cook until it is steam, and increase in volume by half, or when the temperature reached 140 degrees F.

There will be a layer of silky foam on the top of the steamed liquid. With a spoon, move the foam to the side and pour the liquid into a cup. Slowly take your espresso and pour it over the steamed half-and-half and watch them gently fade together. Add your foam to the top of your drink and enjoy your delicious homemade Caffe breve. To make your drink extra fancy, add a dash of cocoa powder, cinnamon, or nutmeg on the top.

Making Caffe Breve at home

Final Thoughts

While many people assume wine is the beverage of love, coffee lovers can agree a good brew is all it takes to capture their heart. Caffe breve beverages are a great alternative to the traditional latte and richer in flavor as well. Though heavy cream may have a bit more calories and fat than most people are used to, they are still a great choice as an occasional drink.

Adding half-and-half instead of milk to your regular espresso drinks will allow you to explore a whole new world of flavors and textures while still getting your morning caffeine fix. Next time you heat out to your local coffee shop, or perhaps just to your kitchen, try a Caffe breve and let us know below how it went.