Breve Vs Latte: Comparing These Popular Starbucks Coffees

A simple shot of espresso can create a lot of different coffee drinks. Some of these drinks are very popular to frequent cafe visitors, while some are still unknown even for coffee lovers. For example, most people can distinguish between mocha and latte 

However, only a few people can tell breve vs latte apart. Latte has always been one of the go-to coffee drinks of many. However, breve is probably new to your ear, especially if you are not from America.  

If the terms breve and latte confuse you, this article will discuss what breve and latte are, their differences, and how to make one at home.  

A breve, also known as Caffe breve or breve latte, is an espresso-based coffee beverage. This drink uses a shot or two of espresso combined with steamed half-and-half instead of milk.  

For non-American coffee enthusiasts who are not familiar with half-and-half, it is made with half whole cream and half heavy cream. It is usually used when you need something richer than milk but not as thick as cream. You can buy this mixture in a bottle or carton, but you can easily make one at home by using equal parts of cream and milk.  

Breve is also an Italian word for “short.” But it doesn’t mean that breve always comes in a small cappuccino cup. Every coffee shop will do this drink slightly differently.  


Breve is an American invention. This drink is America’s adaptation of the Italian classic caffe latte. Because of the creaminess of Caffe breve, most people love drinking this beverage in the evening, a sort of desert-type love affair.  

How To Order A Breve 

At most coffee shops, when you ask for a breve, you will get what precisely this drink is - a shot of espresso with steamed half-and-half milk. However, when you order breve at Starbucks, you will often get a cup of steamed half-and-half with no espresso in it. Because at this chain, breve isn’t a drink but a half-and-half itself.  

That’s why when you order this drink at Starbucks, make sure you specify that you want the Starbucks Breve Latte to avoid confusion with your order.  

Breve Vs Latte: Comparing These Popular Starbucks Coffees

The Basics of a Latte: What Is It? 

A latte, also known as caffe latte, is an espresso-based coffee drink that boasts a smooth layer of foam as the highlight of the beverage. A latte is made up of one or two shots of espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of frothed milk on top. Combining all of these elements results in a perfectly balanced milky coffee that looks aesthetically pleasing, with an irresistible foamy texture.  


For centuries, people have been mixing coffee with milk, making it difficult to trace the origins of latte. However, this espresso-based beverage is thought to originate in America, hitting the peak of its popularity during the 90s in Seattle. However, some say this drink was first found in Italy only in places with predominantly American tourists. Some people believed that latte was developed for Americans because the traditional cappuccino was too strong for their taste, so more milk was added to the drink.  

How To Order Latte 

Ordering a latte is pretty straightforward as this drink is popular even to non-coffee enthusiasts. However, since many people have other dietary needs or are lactose intolerant, some coffee shops offer alternatives to milk to cater to their needs. This is why you can order a latte with almond milk, soy milk, or even coconut milk in some places.  

If you are one of those people with special dietary needs, make sure to indicate the type of milk you want for your latte so you won’t be given a drink with dairy in it.  


Breve Vs Latte: What’s The Difference Between The Two?

Breve and latte are similar drinks. However, there are technical differences between these two. Here are some of them:  

1. Ingredients 

The main difference between these two drinks is the milk used. With a latte, you need to add 2% or whole milk to create this frothy drink, while breve requires you to add half-and-half to make this creamy beverage. Both require one or two espresso shots, but the amount of milk added to these drinks depends on your preference.  

2. Taste 

For a latte, several factors may affect its tastes. If more milk is added or whole milk is used, the drink will have a creamier taste. If you put less milk in it, it will have a more coffee-like taste, similar to a cappuccino—the same with a breve.

If you are making your own half-and-half, the type of milk used to make it will affect its taste. Additionally, the way the espresso is made can affect the taste of a breve and latte.  

If you use beans with a light roast, such as Arabica beans or a less fine grind, espresso's bitterness will be reduced. However, it may cause your espresso to taste sour. On the other hand, using beans with dark roasts, such as Robusta beans or very fine grind, the richness of the espresso will be increased, but it may cause it to taste more bitter.  

To achieve the perfect taste for both drinks, make sure you use a dark roast, preferably a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans.  

3. Nutrition & Calories  

Many of you may have probably guessed that breve contains more calories than a latte. This is because it uses a half-and-half instead of whole milk, which contains more fat percentage, usually around 10% to 18%.

Whole milk only has a 3.25% fat percentage. Generally speaking, a serving of milk (8 fl. oz, 240 ml) has around 150-160 calories, while the same amount of half-and-half contains twice the number of calories, usually around 320 calories.  

So if you are watching your diet, a latte is a better option than a breve when it comes to calorie content.  

4. Preparation Time & Method 

When it comes to preparation time and method, breve and latte work similarly, you will need a coffee machine with a steel wand or arm, a milk jug, and a thermometer. Next, both require you to steam and froth the milk component--in breve’s case, half-and-half.

However, steaming and frothing the milk is the most crucial part of creating these drinks perfectly, which is why you need to have a thermometer to achieve the proper temperature (160 degrees). Finally, once you’re done with the milk component, you can pull a shot of espresso.  

Now that you have your espresso ready, pour it onto your desired cup and slowly pour in the milk content. You’ll know if you made these drinks correctly if you see a nice fade from espresso to milk.  

5. Caffeine, Milk, and Foam Content 

When it comes to caffeine, milk, and foam content, breve and latte have almost no difference. These drinks will only differ in content depending on how you prepare them.

For example, both require a shot or two of espresso, which means that the caffeine content will only differ depending on your preference. The same with the milk content; both drinks require 2/3 of steamed milk or half-and-half, while the foam content of each drink only covers a small layer, usually around 1cm.  

6. Variety 

When it comes to variety, latte can give you more choices than breve. For example, you can have it cold and hot while giving you the option to use different types of milk for the drink. In some coffee shops, you can have flavored syrups added to it, such as the ubiquitous fall drink, pumpkin spice latte.

On the other hand, it’s rare to see different kinds of breve. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add flavors or syrup to it. Home baristas usually like to spice their breves and add syrups to them. You can also ask your favorite to add some syrup to your breve if that’s what you prefer.  

Breve Vs Latte

How To Make A Breve Latte: Step-By-Step From A Starbucks Barista 

If you’d like to try a breve latte at home, follow these guidelines from a Starbucks barista:  

What You’ll Need 
  • Espresso or Nespresso (this is needed to make espresso) 
  • Coffee (preferably dark roast to compliment the richness of half-and-half) 
  • Filtered water (only use good quality water to make coffee) 
  • Half-and-half (if you can’t find a carton or bottle, you can create your own using equal parts of whole milk and heavy cream) 
  • Thermometer (to gauge the temperature of your half-and-half) 
  • Cup (can hold around 6 oz) 
  • 1 to 2 shots of espresso (depending on your preference) 
  • 4 oz. of half-and-half 
  • Sweetener *optional 
  • 1
    Pull one or two shots of espresso depending on how strong you’d like your breve to be.  
  • 2
    Breve latte is usually served on a smaller cup since half-and-half is creamy and rich. Pour the espresso shots on the 6 oz cup.  
  • 3
    Steam the half-and-half. To achieve the right steam and frothiness, make sure that your half-and-half is around 160 degrees. Use the thermometer to measure the temperature.  
  • 4
    Gently pour the steamed half-and-half into your espresso. 
  • If you have a coffee grinder, get whole beans instead and grind them just before you pull an espresso shot to make the perfect breve.  
  • Breve lattes should have equal amounts of espresso and steamed half-and-half, topped with a little bit of foam. If you put too much half-and-half, it will overpower the taste of espresso and might ruin the drink.  
  • Before adding sweetener, make sure to taste the drink first. Half-and-half is naturally sweet, and its sweetness may be enough for your taste.  
starbucks barista

Breve Vs Latte FAQs

What is the difference between a breve, a latte, and a mocha? 

All drinks are espresso-based. However, breve uses half-and-half for its milk component, while latte uses whole milk. On the other hand, Mocha also uses whole milk as a latte, but it has chocolate syrup, which latte and breve don’t have.  

What is the difference between a breve and a Dutch Bros latte? 

Dutch Bros latte is simply Dutch Bros' version of a latte. So, its difference to a breve is the same as every other latte, the milk component. Breve uses half-and-half, while Dutch Bros latte uses whole milk.  

Do Starbucks serve iced breve latte? 

Yes, Starbucks serves iced breve latte. However, you have to specifically tell them that you’re ordering a breve latte, not a breve, because, at Starbucks, breve means half-and-half and not the actual espresso-based drink.  

Can you make a breve drink with a Nespresso?  

Yes, you can. All you need to do is replace the milk in your espresso drink with half-and-half.  


Breves and lattes are similar drinks; both have espresso, steamed dairy, and foam. It may seem confusing to distinguish the two drinks, especially if you are new to the world of coffee.

However, the difference between breve and latte is straightforward, breve uses half-and-half, and latte uses milk. By knowing this distinction, it would be easier for you to find the best coffee drink that suits your taste.