The Secret Revealed: What is a Breve?

What is a Breve?

If you enjoy a little cream in your morning coffee or espresso, your quest is over. What is a breve? Have you ever heard of a breve? 

A breve is an espresso-based drink that substitutes steaming half-and-half for milk. You then top the drink with a lovely layer of frothed milk foam.

A breve latte

Breve vs. Latte-The Difference

A breve latte is a creamy coffee drink similar to a cafe latte. Breve lattes differ from other espresso-based drinks because you create them with steamed half-and-half rather than milk or froth. 

You can enhance this delicious coffee experience using full-fat milk and a creamy blend. A very nice and genuinely decadent beverage, and no additional sugar is necessary.

The Cafe Latte

Depending on who you ask, you’ll pull a double shot of espresso, then pour over some wonderfully smooth steamed milk while creating cafe lattes. It’s not milk foam. Milk that’s creamy and silky. You can make a latte with any type of lactose, including oat, almond, soy, and cow’s milk.

The important thing is that you steam it and make it smooth and velvety. We’re looking for an ultra-fine microfoam ideal for pouring a swan or rosetta in a golden espresso.

The Cafe Breve

In contrast, a cafe breve requires half whole milk and half rich cream. This creamy, milky component is essential. Using a steam wand, you may steam or foam anything you wish. It’s up to you whether you want a velvety smooth layer or a hefty layer of foam on top.

Again, you have the option of adding a single or double shot. To acquire the genuine flavor of this drink, you need to combine espresso with whole milk + cream. Going easy on the half-and-half or making a milk and cream blend with less than 10% fat will not suffice. You require it creamy!

What Does Breve Mean?

A breve is a hot coffee drink made with espresso. It’s an Americanized version of the Italian cappuccino, made with half-and-half (whole milk and cream) instead of milk. You make a caffè breve with one shot of espresso and an equal amount of steamed and frothed half-and-half.

Most people often serve it in a regular cappuccino cup with a size of 5 to 6 ounces (150 milliliters to 180 milliliters). Every classic espresso-based drink with ‘breve’ in the name, whether a latte, a mocha, or a cappuccino, has its milk component substituted with half-and-half. This thickens, viscosifies, and creamifies the beverage.

What Does ‘Breve’ Mean at Starbucks?

You’re probably aware that Starbucks locations have adopted strange wording for certain menu items. Therefore, when non-regulars order a breve, the type of drink they receive usually perplexes them. 

Starbucks baristas believe ‘breve’ means half-and-half. A breve is a coffee drink made with espresso and half-and-half anywhere else.

As a result, if you order a tall breve at Starbucks, you will almost certainly receive a cup of steamed half-and-half. If you want to prevent this mistake, choose a tall breve latte or a breve cappuccino instead. 

Of course, at some Starbucks locations, the baristas will recognize the drink you’re looking for and serve you a cafe breve. Nonetheless, the fact that you can use half-and-half interchangeably with the name ‘breve’ has generated some confusion among consumers and baristas. 

For example, you may order a White Chocolate Mocha breve or a Caramel Macchiato breve. Many ketogenic dieters order breve coffee drinks from Starbucks.

How to Make a Breve at Home

Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 1

Nutritional Facts

  • Calories: Whole milk-150-160, half and half-320
  • Fats: Whole milk-3.25%, half and half-10-18%

Equipment Needed

  • The milk frother
  • A latte or cappuccino cup that holds 6 to 8 ounces (177-237 milliliters)
  • Espresso machine or a Nespresso


  • A double shot of espresso 2 ounces (59 milliliters)
  • 4 ounces (108 milliliters) half-and-half


  1. Your milk must be ice cold and fresh from the refrigerator. It will not foam appropriately if it is at room temperature or even warm.
  2. Use a thermometer to check your temperature. Aim for 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius). You don’t want to burn your breve half-and-half if you want your family and friends to drink coffee at your house again.
  3. Place your steam wand in the half-and-half until it is slightly below the half-and-half. Aim for a mild, pleasant-sounding hissing noise and a swirling motion in your liquid that increases the volume of your steamed half-and-half without producing thick bubbles.
  4. When you reach roughly 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Celsius, remove your steamed half-and-half from the steam wand because it will continue to cook a little before cooling down.
  5. Make one to two shots of espresso, depending on the intensity of your breve latte.
  6. Part your smooth foam with a spoon and allow the steaming milk to run into the bottom of your favorite cup.
  7. Pull in the foam with your spoon without scooping.
  8. Finally, pour your espresso into your breve latte as slowly as possible. The steaming half-and-half is so dense with air that it will keep the expresso afloat for a few seconds. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when you get a lovely decline from espresso to milk.
Breve coffee

Are Breves Good for You?

When it comes to the nutritional content of a breve, consider the fact that you made it with half whole milk and half-light, or, sometimes, heavy cream. The calorie and cholesterol levels of this beverage can skyrocket. 

Not to add that half-and-half does not quadruple in size when frothed as whole milk does. If you’re looking for a healthy option, save the breves for special occasions and stick to a standard latte or skinny latte daily.

What Does a Breve Taste Like?

A breve is similar to a typical latte in flavor but is thicker and more flavorful. Because of the cream in the dairy, it is also much sweeter and more dessert-like.

How to Order a Breve

If you order a breve at Starbucks, you’ll get a cup of steamed half & half instead. At Starbucks, breve refers to half-and-half, not a drink created with espresso and half-and-half.

To avoid confusion, add the term “breve” to any drink containing milk when ordering. A breve latte is a half-and-half latte, while a breve cappuccino is a half-and-half cappuccino. Better still, request your espresso with steaming half-and-half instead of milk.

How is Breve at Dutch Bros?

Dutch Bros is a well-known drive-through coffee chain rapidly expanding across the United States. Many people enjoy their low prices and excellent customer service, which is why the brand has a large following. On the other hand, the vast range of drinks they provide may be a bit perplexing for new clients.

At Dutch Bros, they produce all breve beverages with their Kick Me Mix, which is essentially their word for half-and-half. These beverages are creamier than those made with ordinary milk.

When you order a slim version of one of their breve drinks, they will produce it with nonfat milk rather than whole milk. To make things even easier when ordering, they make their mochas with chocolate milk while they create their lattes with 2 percent milk.

Our Expert Breve-Making Tips

For the best results when using an espresso machine, purchase whole coffee beans and ground them shortly before creating the drink.

Breves are excellent when made with an equal amount of espresso, steaming half-and-half, and foam. If you add too much half-and-half, it will dominate the flavor of the espresso.

Even though the word “breve” is Italian for “short,” it’s an American version of an Italian latte; therefore, it’s unlikely to be found outside the United States.

Because half and half is so thick and creamy, pick a dark roast coffee that can withstand the rich dairy.

Steamed half-and-half is inherently sweet, so taste it before adding any sugar. It’s possible that you won’t need to add any sugar at all.

The Different Types of Breves

Iced Breve

What exactly is an iced breve? To make an iced breve latte, simply combine the espresso and half-and-half with ice. Breve beverages are fluffier than regular milk-based lattes because steaming half-and-half enhances froth volume because of the higher fat content.

Mocha Breve

A mocha breve is a three-part drink of espresso, milk, and chocolate. You can use a latte base recipe and sweeten it with hot chocolate powder or chocolate syrup. Mochas, like lattes, are particularly popular at coffee shops because they are a fantastic introduction to coffee because of the chocolate component. 

Each cafe makes their mochas differently: some add chocolate powder to the drink, others prepare chocolate syrup, and still, others melt down chocolate pieces for a more exquisite flavor. Some coffee cafes like to top their drinks with whipped cream and cocoa powder.

Chai Breve

There are two ways to make chai tea latte with breve. First, retain the chai tea component as is, but instead of using 2/3 cup steamed milk, use half and half, like in a breve latte. Second, you can use a breve latte to transform it into a dirty chai tea latte.

Chai Latte Breve

Be Breve

Consider a breve coffee if you want to try a rich new espresso drink at home but aren’t quite ready to go full affogato. This latte version will undoubtedly meet the bill if you want a decadent addition to your breakfast or a creamy liquid dessert! 

You can order like a pro at your local coffee shop, right? That’s for sure now that you know everything there is to know about adding half-and-half to your espresso or lattes!