What Is a Breve Coffee? America’s Rich, New Espresso Drink

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Mix a cappuccino with an American spin and what’s the delicious result?

One of the most decadently rich of all coffee beverages.

Breve coffee is taking the country by storm, offering a thicker, creamier twist on our beloved espresso drinks. Not wanting to miss out on this trend, I decided to dive deep and discover everything there is to know about breve.

What’s in a Breve Coffee?

A comparison of cappuccino vs breve coffee, showing the ratios and ingredients

A breve is a creamy twist on the classic Italian cappuccino. Instead of milk, it uses half-and-half, mixed equally with espresso and frothy milk foam. This switch creates a richer, more indulgent drink topped with smooth, creamy foam.

Breve can be a bit tricky to understand. Some coffee shops might serve you a breve that’s more like a latte. Since there’s a big difference between lattes and cappuccinos, you might end up with a drink that’s heavy on half-and-half, which could overpower the espresso’s taste.

Why Is It Called a Breve Coffee?

What is breve anyway?

Breve means “short” or “brief” in Italian. But how did this word end up describing a creamy coffee made with half-and-half? Let’s dive into the most convincing story I’ve discovered.

When you steam milk, the amount of fluff you get depends on the fat content. Half-and-half, being richer in fat than whole milk, doesn’t puff up as much. In contrast, low-fat milk can get twice as fluffy as half-and-half when steamed!

When you steam the same amount of half-and-half for a breve and milk for a latte, the breve turns out shorter. That’s why it’s called “breve” – it means “short” in Italian! 

Though called ‘breve’ with an Italian twist, this creamy coffee is a unique American creation and remains largely unknown globally.

You may see breve coffee go by any of these names.

  • Breve
  • Breve coffee
  • Breve latte
  • latte breve
  • Caffè breve
  • Cafe breve

Breve vs latte breve

When visiting coffee chains, terms like breve, latte breve, and others might be used for different drinks. So, if you’re after something specific, like a cappuccino or latte, it’s smart to be clear when you order a breve.

Is Breve Coffee Bad for You?

If you’re watching your fat intake, steer clear of a breve latte. It’s crafted with half-and-half, a mix of whole milk and cream, packing four times the fat of whole milk and double the calories. Definitely not a low-fat choice!

Breve’s rich and creamy flavor makes it a perfect treat for dessert or special moments. However, it’s wise to save it for those times, not your everyday morning cup, unless you’re okay with extra fat in your diet.

Where Can You Get a Breve Latte?

Step into almost any coffee spot, and you can order a breve coffee. They might call it a breve latte or cafe breve. If the barista looks puzzled, simply ask for a latte made with half-and-half, not milk. 

When you try a breve at a chain or local cafe, remember they often add sweeteners, just like in lattes. This makes them different from the breves you might whip up at home. Keep this in mind during your taste tests!

Many coffee shops are now adding unique spins to their breve coffees. While I can’t predict what your neighborhood café might offer, I’m excited to share how some popular chains are creatively serving up their breve drinks.

Starbucks breve 

A Starbucks coffee shop, one of the places you can order a breve coffee

Breve coffee might not be listed at Starbucks, but you’re still in luck! Just ask the barista for a cafe breve or breve latte, and they’ll whip it up for you. If they seem puzzled, no worries—simply explain you’d like a latte made with half-and-half. It’s a creamy twist on the classic latte, perfect for beginners looking to explore.

What does breve mean at Starbucks?

Be careful when you order a breve at Starbucks! You’ll end up with a cup full of half-and-half, which is not what most coffee places serve. It’s a unique Starbucks twist.

At other coffee shops, “breve” refers to a cafe breve, but at Starbucks, “breve” simply means adding half-and-half to your drink. This way, you can customize any beverage with breve, just like you would with nonfat or soy milk.

To get a perfect mix of creamy and caffeinated, always order a breve latte or cafe breve instead of just saying breve. It’s a simple trick for a better cup!

Dutch Bros. breve

Dutch Bros. Coffee, known for its drive-thru spots across the US, is a favorite for grabbing a creamy breve. They’ve spiced up their secret menu with tasty twists like the French toast breve and the Islander breve, drawing in coffee lovers.

At Dutch Bros. Coffee, like many coffee shops, they have unique names for simple things. For example, if you order a breve and hear them mention “Kick Me Mix,” don’t worry. It’s just their fun way of saying half-and-half.

How to Make a Breve Coffee

The equipment

  • An espresso machine (or alternative, see below)
  • A steam wand or milk frother

To whip up a delicious breve coffee at home, start with an espresso machine. If you don’t have one, don’t worry! You can use alternatives like AeroPress or k-cup espresso. Just note, the coffee might taste a bit lighter.

To make your coffee creamy, you need to steam your milk. If you have an espresso machine with a steam wand, you’re all set. If not, no worries! You can find a great milk frother for under $20. Just a tip: some budget frothers won’t warm your milk. Look for one that heats up, works in the microwave, or can handle milk you’ve heated yourself.

The supplies

  • Coffee beans (or grounds, pods, etc.)
  • Half-and-half

When choosing the perfect espresso beans for your breve, opt for a dark roast. Lighter roasts might lose their taste to the creaminess of half-and-half.

The process

  1. Make your shot of espresso (or multiple shots of espresso for a larger drink size) and add it to your mug.
  2. Steam or froth your half-and-half. If you want a more cappuccino-like drink, try to build up a larger amount of foam. For a latte-style drink, you’ll want a smaller layer of foam.
  3. Pour the milk into the cup of espresso, using a spoon to hold back the foam.
  4. Layer the foam on top of the beverage.
  5. Enjoy!

Consider skipping the flavored syrup or sweeteners at first. Try your coffee without them to see if its natural richness alone delights your taste buds. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Bravo for breve

I adore a classic cappuccino, but I’m all about mixing things up. Have you tried a breve? It’s a fun spin on your usual latte or cappuccino, giving dessert coffee a whole new vibe.

For a truly indulgent coffee experience, you must try breve coffee. It’s so creamy and rich, you might not even need sweeteners—a first for many! And if you’re in the mood for something even more luxurious, consider adding heavy cream to your brew. It’s a game-changer for coffee lovers seeking a richer taste.

Hey coffee lovers! I’m on a mission to find the best breves out there and I need your help. Drop a comment with your favorite coffee shops for breves and tell me if they’re truly worthy of a breve bravo. Let’s discover the best together!

what is a breve coffee

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