What Is A Breve? We Explain This Half & Half Espresso Drink

If you like your morning coffee creamy and milky, you're probably a big fan of latte and cappuccino. Do you know that milk isn't the only ingredient that can make your coffee drink silky smooth?

It's true; dairy and non-dairy milk aren't the only things you can add to get a creamy cup. You can also add the higher-fat half-and-half to your favorite espresso-based drink.

In this article, we will discuss what is a breve, how you can order this drink at Starbucks, and the recipe to enjoy this in the comforts of your home. Let's dig in!

The word breve is an Italian word for "short," which refers to the short shot of espresso used as the base of the drink. If you're confused about how to pronounce breve, it sounds like "breh-vay."

Even though breve is an Italian word, the drink caffè breve originated from the United States and is technically the American counterpart of the classic Italian latte and Italian cappuccino.

The breve drink is somewhat similar to a regular latte. However, it uses a different type of milk.

Sometimes called a latte breve, cafe breve combines an espresso shot, steamed half-and-half, and foam.

Half-and-half is a mixture of half whole milk and half cream, providing a much creamier texture than regular milk. So what does a Caffe breve taste like?

Compared to a traditional latte, this drink has a smoother and richer taste. The espresso flavor is intense, but it compliments well with the cup of steamed half-and-half, which is sweet and creamy.

This drink is usually unsweetened, but some coffee shops will add a dash of vanilla or chocolate syrup for those who want something sweeter.

Breve coffee

If you order a breve latte, most places will serve you a latte made with half-and-half. This means that you get the same proportions as a regular latte, but it contains more half-and-half than foam.

However, the caffe breve isn't the only one you can order in most places. Many allow you to add half-and-half to any espresso-based drink instead of milk.

For example, you can ask for an espresso and half-and-half instead of milk to make a breve cappuccino.

If you want a stronger coffee, you can also ask for more espresso shots to go with your breve lattes. So, if breve is creamier than a latte, why isn't it as popular?

Breve Vs Latte: Which One Wins This Frothy Faceoff?

The main difference between a latte and a breve is their milk type. A latte is made with steamed milk and a light layer of creamy milk foam, often whole, skimmed, or non-dairy milk.

On the other hand, a breve is made with half-and-half instead of milk, which provides a richer texture and flavor than regular milk.

When making a latte, the ratio of the shots of espresso to milk is 1:3, while the ratio in a breve is 1:1. This is why breve often has a stronger coffee flavor than other espresso drinks, like a latte.

So, if you want an intensely flavored coffee cup that's creamy, breve is the perfect drink for you. If you want something light and frothy, go for a latte.

If you're wondering which one is healthier, the answer depends on what kind you'll order and which coffee shop you will get it from.

In general, a latte can have fewer calories since you can have various milk options to choose from. On the other hand, breve contains more calories because of its fat content.

In most cafes, lattes come in larger sizes and often allow you to add syrup flavorings, which can add more calories to the drink.

Remember, the milk doesn't only dictate the number of calories in a coffee drink. The sugar content and the number of ingredients also influence the calorie count of your cup.

When it comes to sweetness, a latte is going to be the sweeter drink. This is because of the milk that is used in the drink.

Naturally, whole milk is sweeter than half & half because it contains more sugar.

Another factor affecting the drink's sweetness is the other flavorings you add to the beverage. While you can order a breve latte with flavored syrups, it's less common than a traditional latte.

Two Breve Lattes with Honey

Starbucks Breve (How To Order This Velvety Delight!)

Ordering a breve at Starbucks isn't as easy as you think. If you simply ask for a "breve," you will often get just a cup of steamed half-and-half.

This is because breve at Starbucks refers to half-and-half and not the espresso-based beverage. However, in many other coffee shops, a breve means espresso with foamed half-and-half.

If you want to get a cafe breve at Starbucks, it's best to add latte in the word to ensure that the barista knows you're ordering an espresso drink.

So, instead of asking for a breve, you can order a tall breve latte, grande breve latte, or venti breve latte out of the Starbucks cup sizes.

At the same time, Starbucks allows you to make any coffee beverage on its menu a breve. You can also order breve hot or cold, depending on what you want.

Mocha, macchiato, and even an iced latte can all be turned into a breve.

You can also customize how many shots of espresso you want. If you love vanilla, you can add vanilla syrup to a cup and turn a cafe breve into a vanilla breve latte.

Starbucks breve latte sitting on a table

Breves: The Sneaky Snack or Healthy Heroes?

Well, the breve has a high-fat content compared to other drinks, thanks to the heavy cream. Because of this extra fat, a 16-ounce Caffe breve contains more than 350 calories.[1]

The same-sized latte with skim milk only has 146 calories.[2] That's double the number! And if you're trying to lose weight, it's not an ideal drink. I'd recommend sticking to keto-friendly drinks at Starbucks if that's your go-to coffee shop.

Since it's high in fat and calories, adding other flavors to the drink is often not recommended.

However, if you want a decadent delight and don't mind the extra calories, you can always customize your beverage and add other stuff like whipped cream, caramel drizzle, or vanilla to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Unleash Your Inner Barista: Whip Up A Breve At Home

If you want to make breve coffee drinks at home, here's a simple breve recipe you can follow:

What You'll Need

  • Espresso machine, Nespresso/pod machine, stovetop espresso maker, or anything that will make an espresso
  • Ground coffee, preferably dark roast, to complement the richness of half-and-half.
  • Filtered water
  • Half-and-half. If you don't have one, you can mix equal amounts of whole milk and heavy cream.
  • Milk frother or steam wand
  • A small cup of around 6 ounces


  • 1
    Pull or make a double-shot espresso.
  • 2
    Steam or froth the half-and-half to produce a creamy foam.
  • 3
    Then, pour the espresso into the cup, followed by the half-and-half.
  • 4
    Generally, a breve should have a half-steamed and half-foamed half-and-half, but a frother is acceptable if you don't have the right devices.
DIY breve coffee at home


Coffee Beans

The beans play the most crucial part in making the breve drinks. That's why you need to only use high-quality beans.

The coffee roast we recommend is a dark roast, but any roast is acceptable. It's also best to use freshly ground beans to ensure the best breve coffee.

Brewing Process

How you brew your espresso will affect the taste of your breve coffee. If you have an espresso maker, it's best to use that one. Other devices, such as Moka pot, are also okay.

Steaming the Half & Half

To get the best breve coffee drink, you need to have a steaming wand.

When you steam it, make sure that you start with a cold half-and-half. If you use a room-temperature one, you won't get enough froth.

At the same time, make sure you use a metal milk jug and don't overfill it. The half & half will expand once steamed.

If you don't have an espresso machine with a steam wand, you can use a stand-alone frothing wand.

However, it will produce a different texture. If you want a steamed half & half without too much foam, keep the tip of the rod about ¼-inch below the surface.

Also, make sure that you tilt the milk jug so the liquid will swirl around, as this will give you the best texture. Don't be afraid to experiment until you find the right steamed half-and-half for your liking.

Pouring the Half & Half

After you put the espresso in the mug, you need to pour the half & half in. To ensure that you top the drink with foam, hold back the foam with a spoon while pouring the half & half.

Once you have poured the amount you want, scoop some foam and top it in the drink.

Hot or cold? Breve is an espresso drink that can be served hot and cold. If you want it cold, fill the cup with ice cubes before pouring the espresso and half & half.

making a breve coffee at home with cinnamon topping

Frequently Asked Breve Coffee Questions

Is a Breve Keto-friendly?

It depends. If you are making it at home, you can follow a keto-friendly recipe, but it is not specifically keto-friendly as-is.

Is a Breve sugar-free?

No, it's not. Half & half still contains a bit of sugar. It's usually under 1 gram per serving, but it is not sugar-free.

Do you need an espresso machine to make a Breve?

It's best to have one to make breves at home, but you can use other espresso maker devices on your stovetop.

What is a Breve at Dutch Bros?

A breve at Dutch Bros is essentially a latte made with half & half instead of regular milk.

Summary - Try This Creamy Concoction Today!

Now that you know what breve is, you can add this drink to your coffee repertoire.

While it can give you a strong coffee flavor and creamy texture, it's known to be high in calories which aren't ideal for those watching their weight.

However, that doesn't mean you can't indulge from time to time because you're definitely in for a treat whenever you get this drink.


1. https://www.carbmanager.com/food-detail/md:2b50bd1ba69fc3ea43380ffe65e1b474/latte-breve-16-oz
2. https://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/latte-with-skim-milk-16-oz-45741329

Kim Fernandez


Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

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