Breve vs Latte

Breve vs Latte

Lattes tend to be a fan favorite among coffee drinkers. They’re great pick-me-ups with a nice creamy texture. While lattes are popular options at any coffee shop, you might be less familiar with a cafe breve. Take a look at a breve vs latte comparison to see how they differ.

What Is a Caffè Breve?

A caffè breve is very similar to the Italian cappuccino, introduced to Italy a couple of hundred years ago. The name “cappuccino” comes from the coloring of the coffee drink, which is very similar to the color of Italy’s Capuchin friars’ robes. Hence the name. A cappuccino includes the following ingredients:

  • Espresso
  • Steamed milk
  • Frothed milk for topping

The cappuccino has equal parts of espresso and steamed milk, so it has quite a caffeine kick. So, where does the caffe breve come into play with all this? Well, a caffe breve is just the American version of a cappuccino! The breve coffee recipe includes:

  • Espresso
  • Steamed half-and-half
  • Frothed half-and-half

The caffè breve is also known as the breve latte, breve coffee, or the cafè breve. It has equal parts espresso and half-and-half and is a much thicker and creamier version of the Italian cappuccino, causing the drink to feel much more filling. 

Caffe Breve

The extra creaminess is due to the use of half-and-half rather than milk. The cream in the half-and-half thickens the caffè breve significantly, giving this espresso-based drink a thicker consistency when compared to the cappuccino. 

You can get an iced version of the breve, but you will often find it offered as a hot beverage. And although not all coffee places have a caffè breve on their menu, they will often make it for you if you ask. If they have espresso drinks on their menu and half-and-half, they can make a breve. 

Why is it Called Caffè Breve?

The word “breve” is of Italian origin, meaning “short” or “little,” but the drink itself is of American origin. There isn’t a definite answer as to why the creators used this name. 

It may be because steamed half-and-half produces fewer bubbles than steamed milk due to the higher fat content. So, the steamed half-and-half tends to be “shorter.”

How Does it Taste?

Half-and-half tends to be more flavorful than milk due to the extra fat content. So, you will notice a milkier and creamier taste to your breve compared to a cappuccino. It almost tastes slightly sweet, even though there aren’t any added sweeteners. 

Besides the half-and-half, you will be able to taste the espresso as well. However, it will not be as bold as a plain espresso drink because the half-and-half mutes it a little. So, when you take a sip of your breve, you will get hit with a milky, naturally sweet taste and a hint of coffee flavor. 

How To Prepare a Caffè Breve

Creating a caffè breve is very similar to the process of creating a cappuccino. Typically, to make a caffè breve, you will do the following:

  1. Pull your espresso shots using the finely ground coffee beans and put aside about two ounces in a mug.
  2. Grab your half-and-half and steam about two ounces of it. You don’t need a fancy machine for this; your traditional espresso machine will do. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can steam your half-and-half in the microwave or on the stove. You’ll know it’s ready when you see tiny bubbles on the surface.
  3. If you used the microwave or stove to steam your half-and-half, you need to froth it by hand. You can easily do this by whisking the half-and-half or shaking it in a mason jar.
  4. Whichever steaming and frothing methods you use, scoop out the foam from the steamed milk and put it in a separate cup. 
  5. Pour the steamed milk into your espresso.
  6. Scoop out the milk foam and plop it on top of your drink.
  7. If you want to make your caffè breve iced, you will need to let it cool slightly, and then you can add your ice.
  8. Your caffè breve is ready! Sip and enjoy!

What Is a Latte?

The word “latte” is the American shortened version of the name “caffè latte,” which is a coffee drink originating from Italy. When you translate “caffè latte” to English, it comes out as “coffee with milk” or “coffee milk,” which is quite literally what a latte is. 

Caffe Latte

Lattes, like caffè breves and cappuccinos, are espresso-based coffee drinks. But, the measurements and dairy options are much different. A typical latte will be around one-third espresso, and two-thirds steamed milk. Then, most of the time, baristas top lattes with frothed milk. This is why they call it a latte. The majority of the drink is just milk. 

Most lattes call for whole milk, but many coffee shops offer other dairy options, too, such as reduced-fat milk or plant-based milk. Your drink will be much thinner and more liquidy when compared to a caffè breve. It will feel like drinking a typical coffee but taste milkier.

You will often find lattes, both hot and iced, at coffee shops. And if you want your latte a little sweet, you can add flavored syrups or plain sugar. Using extracts for flavoring rather than sugary syrup is also a great idea if you want something healthier.

How Does it Taste?

A cafe latte tastes very milky, with a hint of coffee flavor from the espresso. The espresso flavor isn’t strong at all because of the large amount of milk. So, if you’re not a fan of the strong taste of espresso, a latte might be a good choice.

If you add flavored syrups to your latte, you will mostly taste the milk and whatever flavor syrup you picked. The espresso will taste even more muted. 

Overall think of a traditional latte as coffee-flavored milk, but do not let that fool you. Espresso has high amounts of caffeine, a stimulant for your nervous system. A  two-ounce serving of espresso has 80 mg of caffeine!

How To Prepare a Great Latte

Making a great-tasting latte is rather easy. To do this, you will need to do the following:

  1. Brew your espresso and set aside about two ounces in a mug. 
  2. Pour about six ounces of the milk of your choosing into a microwave-safe cup. Or pour the milk into a saucepan and put it on the stove.
  3. To make a flavored latte, add any flavored syrups or other flavorings you want into the milk. 
  4. Microwave or steam the milk on the stove until you see little bubbles forming. If you have an espresso machine, you can steam and froth the milk using the steam wand and frother.
  5. After steaming your milk in the microwave or on the stove, whisk it or shake it in a mason jar to froth it. If you have an espresso-making machine, you need to use the frother.
  6. Scoop out and separate the frothed foam into a cup or container. 
  7. Pour your steamed milk into the mug with the espresso. 
  8. Top the drink with the foam that you set aside.
  9. To make an iced latte, simply let your latte cool slightly and add ice.
  10. Your latte is ready! Sip and enjoy!

Breve Vs Latte – What Are the Key Differences

While a caffè breve and a latte might seem similar, they are fairly different. Here are some of the reasons for this.

1. Espresso to Dairy Ratios

When it comes to espresso-to-dairy ratios when making a caffè breve vs. a latte, the measurements are notably different. For a caffè breve, you will need equal parts half-and-half and espresso. Then for a latte, your drink will be about one-third espresso and two-thirds milk. Typically for a latte, you will use two ounces of espresso per six ounces of milk.

The large amounts of dairy in both beverages dilute the espresso. This makes the espresso taste weaker but does not alter the caffeine content. The recommended maximum amount of caffeine you can have daily is 400 mg. One caffè breve or latte is about one-fourth of this amount.

2. Dairy Type

Dairy options are another thing that makes a caffè breve and latte different. Caffè breves use half-and-half, typically consisting of ten to 18 percent fat. That is why a caffè breve is thick and creamy. You will notice that it forms a coating on the inside of your mouth due to its high-fat content. This is also where it gets the sweeter flavor.

Lattes typically use any kind of milk, with whole milk first on the list. Although milk has less fat, the high ratio of it will still make your drink taste milky. It won’t feel as thick in your mouth as a caffè breve.

3. Sweeteners

When you buy a caffè breve at a coffee shop, they typically come unsweetened. They are best enjoyed without sweeteners. 

Lattes, on the other hand, usually come in many different flavors, but you can get or make them plain too. Most flavored lattes use syrups, but there are other healthier ways to flavor a latte, including cinnamon or cocoa. 

Remember not to drink sugary lattes often. The overconsumption of high fructose corn syrup can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance, which could turn into type two diabetes.


At first glance, a caffè breve and a latte might seem like the same thing, but they have some subtle differences. Remember these differences on your next coffee run or when you feel like making a caffè breve or latte at home!

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