If you are a coffee lover, you know your ideal coffee and what to expect when ordering it at a café. However, you may be unfamiliar with the alternative to a classic latte, or cappuccino, known as a breve. A perfect option when you need a more satisfying pick-me-up, in our opinion.
Whether you are looking for a heart-warming drink for your winter afternoons, or a morning coffee that can give you a great energy boost, a breve coffee, or breve latte as some call it, is the right option for you. Find out more down below!
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Breve: An Overview
If you are looking for an alternative to your morning coffee, that can give you the energy you need, you might want to give this delicious specialty drink a try. Although it is not the same as a drip coffee, we actually find that many American's prefer the breve over a latte when venturing into the specialty beverage market.
Luckily for you, a breve can be enjoyed either at home or at a coffee bar. This type of coffee might not be part of the classic coffee specialties on the streets of Italy, but it is just as delicious and heart-warming. So, should you include a breve in your repertoire?
What Is A Breve
A breve is an espresso-based type of coffee that can be compared to a latte. It represents the American version of an Italian caffe latte and can be an excellent substitute for your cappuccino or latte.
It is perfect for whenever you need a thicker cup of coffee. Not thickness in regards to the actual coffee or espresso, but thick in terms of the whole milk or cream micro foam on top.
While it can look similar to a latte, a breve coffee boasts some differences that make it unique. These include the fact that it is made with half and half instead of milk.Half-and-half, a mix of milk and cream, makes for the ideal topping when you are looking for a coffee that is even creamier and more delicious than usual.
When preparing this coffee, you will notice that the method followed is not too different from the one followed to make a delicious latte. Once you have the steamed half and half, the trick is to pour the foam into your cup last. This barista tip will ensure that your coffee has an extra creaminess to it.
Where Does a Breve Coffee Come From
Tracing the breve coffee back to its origins is not easy, especially because it cannot be linked to any particular location or event. However, this coffee is considered an American descendant of the classic Italian café latte, a specialty largely served in Italian coffee bars and cafes.
The main difference between the two coffee specialties is that the Italian café latte is a milk-based type, while the breve includes a portion of cream. While this Americanized version differs in many ways from the Italian tradition, it sticks to the coffee's Italian name.
The meaning of the term "Breve" means "short" or "brief" in Italian. Although this delicious beverage may only last a short amount of time, it'll give you a Lungo (long) amount of energy to last throughout the day.
What Does a Breve Coffee Taste Like
The first thing you will notice when ordering a breve is that fluffier and thicker than your standard latte. This is often because it is made with half and half. Because of this, you can expect a much fuller coffee with a thicker, sweeter, and creamier foam on top.
If you have never experienced a latte, or any type of espresso based beverage, then describing the taste may be somewhat of a challenge. For starters, any espresso based drink, especially the ones coated in steamed half and half, are incredibly thick.
Who is a Breve Coffee For
A breve is a specialty that most coffee lovers can enjoy. However, if you struggle to digest dairy or follow a plant-based diet, you will have to check with your favorite barista if there is a more suitable option. Coffee drinkers should also note that this coffee can include more cholesterol and fat than standard coffees because of the cream content. Because of this, it might not be suitable for all diets and lifestyles.
At the same time, many breve drinkers believe that it does not need added sugars or sweeteners because the cream makes the coffee already rich. So, it may be an even trade off if you are someone that is on a diet but that cannot resist a delicious espresso based treat.
How to Make a Breve
The best way to enjoy a breve is at a coffee bar with your friends. However, making a breve by yourself is simple and easy to achieve at home. You can even do so at home with your Nespresso machine if you can't afford a high-end espresso machine.
The only thing is that you will need to make sure that your machine boasts a steam wand to froth and heat the half and half. Check out how to make this delicious treat below! If you don't want to use half and half instead of milk, you can simply switch it out for steamed milk. That would make it a latte!
What You Need to Make a Breve
- A coffee machine with a steamer wand
- Very fine ground coffee (or a Nespresso capsule)
- A latte cup
1. Steam and froth the half and half
Start by filling the coffee jug with half-and-half. The breve milk and cream mix is the most important ingredient for a successful coffee. This is a blend of whole milk and cream that you can easily find at the grocery store, also called half and half. You can certainly substitute the steamed milk for oat or even chocolate milk if desired.
However, if you prefer, you can mix it by yourself by buying cream and milk and pouring them into equal parts in a jug. Once they are mixed, you can use your wand steamer to steam the milk and bring it to a temperature of 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Any hotter than that and the cream will begin to curdle.
2. Make the espresso
Use your espresso machine, or Nespresso maker, to make an espresso shot. For this step, your preferences counts the most, so make sure to stick with what you like. Depending on the espresso you make, you might end up having a stronger or weaker Breve.
If you are using your own Nespresso machine, you might also try to use different capsules or flavored coffee. Once the espresso is ready, move it onto a cup. Although we typically recommend a blonde espresso, for a breve we actually recommend something darker that'll punch through milk easily.
3. Pour the heated half and half
Pour the half-and-half blend into the cup in which you have already poured the espresso. For this step, it is crucial to use a spoon to hold the foam at the jug's back while pouring the warm half-and-half into the cup. Add as much as you prefer to create your favorite coffee. If you are trying to make latte art, you may have a difficult time if there is too much foam on top.
4. Add the Foam
The last step of making breve is to add the foam to the breve milk. If you are an expert barista, you can do so with a swirl of the jug which will produce latte art. However, if you are still working towards these skills, you can just use a spoon to pour the foam from the jug into your cup.
Breve vs Latte
The difference between a breve and a latte is that the breve uses cream, or half and half, for the steamed foam portion of the espresso based beverage, whereas a latte uses milk. Both of these drinks are a delicious and creamy Italian style drink that features a rich shot of espresso within. Since both of these are made with espresso, they also have the same amount of caffeine.
A breve latte is nothing more than a breve coffee, referred to with other names such as café breve or latte breve. When ordering a breve, you can expect a creamy, heart-warming, delicious coffee to be on your way! We don't recommend the breve if you are the type that prefers to drink their coffee black, or typically prefer milk over cream, but if you are someone that adds cream to your coffee, the breve is for you!
If you are new to the coffee scene, a breve is the perfect place to start if you are someone that enjoys cream over milk, and if you enjoy a thick cup of Joe. If you prefer to use whole milk over cream, you should probably stick with a regular latte with steamed milk. However, if you are feeling a bit adventurous, give the breve a try!
Although this drink may have lost some of it's Italian routes as it has become quite Americanized, it is still a wonderful specialty coffee treat! Thanks for reading and be sure to let us know what you think of the breve.