breve

What Is Breve?

While we are all familiar with drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, it’s also possible to find a drink that we haven’t heard about before on the coffee shop menu now and then.

Since most espresso drinks have an Italian name, the name itself doesn’t give any clue as to what the drink consists of, which makes it hard to try new drinks. While those who feel adventurous can just try their luck at a new drink, most will be intimidated and stick to what they know.

Breve is one of those drinks that you most likely haven’t heard of before, considering that you are reading this right now. That being said, you will learn everything that you need to know about breve by the time you’re finished with reading this article.

Breve

Breve, also known as breve latte, breve coffee, Caffe breve, or cafe breve, is an espresso-based drink that is very similar to a latte but with a unique twist. 

A breve latte is classically prepared with a shot (or double shot) of espresso, around 5-6 oz of steamed half-and-half, and then topped off with a thin layer of half-and-half froth. 

That being said, it’s also possible to find breve variants such as a cappuccino breve or a mocha breve where the composition of the ingredients are the same, but all instances of milk are replaced with half-and-half instead.

If you’re an iced coffee lover, it’s even possible to find a breve in iced form, much like an iced latte. Just as an iced latte consists of ice, espresso, and cold milk, iced breve consists of ice, espresso, and cold half-and-half.

While breve is definitely not the most popular espresso drink right now, it has a lot of potential to be one of the most ordered beverages in the future with the fresh take it brings to the table.

What makes this drink unique compared to other espresso-based drinks you are familiar with is the fact that steamed half-and-half is used to prepare a breve instead of steamed milk. 

Depending on where you live, there is a chance that you haven’t heard of half-and-half before. Simply put, half-and-half is a combination of milk and light cream, which gives it a consistency that is creamier than regular milk.

For this reason, a breve is known to have a mouthfeel that is considerably richer compared to the espresso-based drinks we are used to drinking.

If you are someone who enjoys adding extra cream to your coffee, you’ll surely enjoy breve.

Origin

In Italian, the word breve means short.

Originated in the United States, breve is called the American latte due to how similar it is to its Italian counterpart. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot more information on how this drink came out to be. 

Our theory is that someone ran out of milk and decided to try making a latte with half-and-half instead.

There is also a good possibility that they just wanted to try something different to see how it would turn out.

Guess we will never know.

What Is Breve at Starbucks?

When you order breve at a coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks, you’ll most likely get the drink that we have talked about so far, which is all good.

In Starbucks, the word breve carries a slightly different meaning. If you end up using this word in Starbucks, you’ll end up with just half-and-half. It turns out that there is a big market for people to enjoy half-and-half by itself.

While this is technically right as breve actually means steamed half-and-half, and the espresso drink which is made with half-and-half is called a breve latte, using the word “breve” at any other coffee shop will be enough to receive the correct drink.

If you’d like to order breve latte at Starbucks, well, simply ask for breve latte instead of just breve, which should do the trick.

What is Breve at Dutch Bros?

Another popular coffee chain where you can get a breve is Dutch Bros. Dutch Bros is known for its wide variety of coffee drink variants, meaning that you will be able to find breves with plenty of different flavors.

On top of their regular menu, they also publish drinks from their secret menu, bringing even more variety to the table with drinks that you would have never thought of ordering before.

Since each drink at the Dutch Bros has a unique name due to the different flavors they add, it may be hard to find out how to order a breve. That being said, it’s possible to see the contents of the drink by reading the description in the menu.

By finding a breve variant with flavors that appeal to you, you can easily order one with its unique name.

Making Breve at Home

It is fairly simple to prepare breve, just like any other espresso-based drink.

To start things off, you will need to pull an espresso shot into your cup. 

Afterward, steam the half-and-half just like you would do with milk. 

Finally, pour the half-and-half into the cup and top it off with the foam. 

If you’re struggling to keep the foam in the pitcher while pouring the half-and-half, you can simply hold the foam up with the help of a spoon.

Flavor

Half-and-half is naturally sweeter than milk, which means that you should expect your drink to turn out slightly sweeter than a latte.

That being said, just like any other coffee drink, feel free to add some flavored syrup to your breve if you’d like to go for a sweeter taste. It will work just as well with half-and-half as it does with milk.

If you choose to add flavored syrup to your drink, make sure to add it before you pull the espresso shot into the cup to ensure that it mixes well.

Nutrition: Comparing Breve with Latte

Unfortunately, the creamy goodness of half-and-half comes at a cost.

A cup (242 grams) of regular half-and-half contains[1] 317 calories and 27.8 grams of total fat, which means that around 11 percent of half-and-half is made out of fat.

To put it into perspective, a cup of whole milk contains[2] 150 calories and 8 grams of total fat, which amounts to 3.25 percent of milk being made out of fat.

By replacing milk with half-and-half, your calorie intake will be doubled, and your fat intake will be more than tripled. 

Using low fat or fat-free half-and-half can remedy this situation if you would like to keep your calorie intake in check while enjoying this beverage.

Low fat half-and-half contains[3] 174 calories per cup, with 12.1 grams of it being fat.

Fat-free half-and-half contains[4] around 143 calories per cup, with ~3.5 grams of it being fat, which is actually less than whole milk.

Please note that using the lower fat variants of half-and-half may change how your drink turns out.

Conclusion

Breve is definitely an outlier compared to the coffee drinks we are so used to have but in a good way.

A change in ingredients compared to the regular milk or water we are so familiar with makes it an exciting drink to enjoy every now and then.

Can it eventually replace latte or cappuccino? 

We can’t tell you for sure, but it definitely has its own charm.

References

1. USDA Nutrient Data for Half-and-half

2. USDA Nutrient Data for Whole Milk

3. USDA Nutrient Data for Low Fat Half-and-half

4. USDA Nutrient Data for Fat-Free Half-and-half