Breve coffee is a drink that pairs bold espresso and rich half and half. The balance makes a deliciously smooth sip!

Breve coffee

Want a creamy coffee that’s all about decadence? Try Breve coffee! This tiny coffee drink packs a big punch: strong, bold espresso paired with rich half and half. It’s a total treat and absolutely worth ordering up at your local coffeeshop. It’s also easy to make at home, using your favorite espresso and frothing method. Here’s more about this drink, and how to make Breve coffee at home!

What’s a breve?

Breve coffee, aka cafe breve or breve latte, is a drink of equal parts espresso and half and half. It’s an Americanized version of the Italian latte that’s even richer and creamier. It’s closest in definition to the Cortado, a drink of Spanish origin that’s made with espresso and whole milk.

A Breve is always the same volume: one doubleshot of espresso and 2 ounces half and half. Like the Cortado and Gibraltar, it’s often served in a 4.5 ounce glass cup, making it easy to pour in the exact quantities.

Breve coffee

Breve vs latte

What makes breve coffee different from a latte? Here are the key differences of a breve vs latte?

  • A Breve is made with half and half, whereas a latte uses whole milk.
  • A Breve is 1:1 dairy to espresso; a latte is 2:1 dairy to espresso.
  • A Breve coffee is 4 ounces and served in a small glass; a latte is typically 6 ounces and can be served in a mug, cup or glass.
  • The milk for a latte is textured to become microfoam, a wet paint-like texture. The milk for Cafe Breve is steamed, but not textured.

The smaller Breve is like a more concentrated and richer latte. It has a delicious balance of espresso to dairy, making it an intensely smooth sip.

How to make a Breve coffee: basic steps

How to make a Breve latte? There are two main steps that are similar to other popular espresso drinks: the latte, cappuccino, flat white, and more. Here’s what to do:

  • Make a double shot of espresso.
  • Steam or froth ¼ cup half and half using the instructions below.
  • Pour the espresso into a small glass, then top with the frothed half and half.
How to make espresso

Making the espresso

You can make the espresso for a Breve using a traditional countertop espresso machine, or one of a few other espresso-making methods below! Grab a great espresso roast bean: we recommend IllyStarbucks or Intelligentsia. Then follow one of these methods:

  • Espresso machine: Go to How to Make Espresso for instructions! Our favorite espresso machine is this one, but it’s pricey. Or you can make it with or without a machine using one of the following methods:
  • Portable espresso maker: Try this manual espresso maker: it’s much cheaper and portable, and makes great coffee.
  • French press: French press espresso also works very well, and is perfect if you already have this coffee making tool!
  • Moka pot: The strong espresso-like coffee you can get from a Moka Pot works great for a Breve.

Steaming or frothing the half and half

The next part of a Breve latte? Frothing the half and half! You can use the same processes you’d use for steaming milk, but using the higher fat half and half. Here’s what to do:

  • Froth the half and half with a hand-held frother, French press, or whisk. The best tool is a frother if you have it, but a French press also works well. Go to How to Froth Milk.
  • Steam the half and half using an espresso machine. Of course, the best Cafe Breve uses is half and half that’s steamed with an espresso machine! Go to How to Steam Milk and use the instructions for stretching the milk to 20 to 25% in height.
What is a breve

Serve in a small glass

And that’s it: mix the espresso and half and half together and you’ve got the Breve! It’s typically served in a 4.5 ounce glass, which is the perfect size for the 2 ounces each of espresso and steamed dairy. We recommend it because it’s nice to know when to top pouring the half and half (since it’s easiest to steam a double quantity of milk). Here are a few glass options:

More coffee drinks

Our Barista Series shows you how to make all your favorite coffee drinks or espresso drinks. Here are more you might enjoy:

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Breve coffee

Breve Coffee


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Breve coffee is a drink that pairs bold espresso and rich half and half. The balance makes a deliciously smooth sip!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces* espresso (1 doubleshot)
  • 2 ounces steamed half and half (see steps)

Instructions

  1. Make the espresso: Go to How to Make Espresso.
  2. Steam the half and half: Steam the half and half with an espresso machine (stretching the milk to 20 to 25% in height), or froth the half and half with a frother, French press or whisk. Use ½ cup milk for this process: discard the leftovers or make two drinks.
  3. Serve: Pour 2 ounces espresso into a small glass, then top with the steamed half and half. Drink immediately.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Espresso
  • Cuisine: Coffee

Keywords: Breve, breve coffee

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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