What is a Breve Latte? (And How to Make One)
A breve latte is a modern take on a classic coffee based that comes in a wide range of variations. This American version of the classic Italian latte is richer, creamier and frothier thanks to the use of ‘half and half’, as opposed to regular steamed milk.
But, what exactly is a breve latte, how can you make one and should you switch up a regular latte for a breve latte? Well, let’s find out!
What is a Breve Latte?
A breve latte is a coffee drink consisting of a double shot of espresso (typically made from medium roasted beans) and steamed half and half (half full milk and half heavy cream). This is then topped with a thin layer of foam, and is typically served in coffee cup size between 8 oz and 12 oz. A breve latte uses ⅓ espresso, to ⅔ steamed milk.
Breve lattes are so popular mainly because of their silky smooth milk, topped with a light helping of foam which makes for some spectacular latte art! The breve latte may sound like an odd variation on the original, but it is much frothier, creamier and calorific than a regular latte!
A breve latte is actually more similar to a cappuccino in texture than a classic latte. The higher fat content compared to a regular milk makes the breve latte creamier, thicker and smoother with a breve latte.
A breve latte also strikes a great balance between rich, aromatic espresso and luscious, velvety milk. It just hits the spot between being strong enough to still taste the underlying coffee flavors, and being mellow enough to enjoy appreciating the milky smoothness. It is definitely worth using a stronger coffee bean so the flavor of your double espresso is more pronounced and can cut through the heavy cream. This combination creates an extra luxurious drinking experience!
Why is it Called Breve Latte?
A breve latte gets its name from the word for brief in Italian. This comes down to the way the breve latte is made, which is relatively similar to a regular latte, apart from the preparations of the half and half compared to milk.
The breve latte was popularised in America in the 1960s, as chain coffee shops like Starbucks became more and more popular.
How to Make a Breve Latte (Step by Step)
There are a few steps to follow if you want to make the perfect, breve latte from the comfort of your own home.
Finely ground, Medium roasted espresso coffee beans
⅔ Cup/8 oz of half and half
Milk steaming wand
(Alternatives): Aeropress/French Press/Milk Frother/Moka Pot/Percolator
Here is a simple step by step method to help you make a brilliant breve latte for yourself!
Step 1: Choose Your Coffee Beans
The first step in making a great cortado from the comfort of your own home is to pick the perfect coffee beans.
Picking a medium roasted coffee bean that is well balanced and has distinctive nutty or chocolaty flavor notes, which works perfectly with the silky smooth steamed milk.
However, if you want to take your coffee beans selection to the next level, then going for a blend of both arabica and robusta coffee bean varieties will add even more bite and caffeine to your breve latte. This may be better if you like to taste a more distinctive coffee flavor in your breve latte, which is thicker, sweeter and creamier than a regular latte.
Step 2: Brew Your Espresso
Next, you’ll need to brew your double espresso.
To do this, grind your coffee beans finely if you have a grinder at home. Alternatively, look out for ground coffee that is labelled as espresso grind, as this will be fine enough to use in your espresso machine.
Simply add your ground coffee to your portafilter, distribute evenly, tamp and away you go!
If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, you could also use a moka pot, percolator or aeropress to brew strong espresso.
If you don’t have a fancy espresso machine at home, check out these 7 alternative ways to make espresso-like coffee!
Step 3: Prepare Your Steamed Milk
Once your espresso is brewed, it’s time to steam your milk.
If you are using an espresso machine with a built-in milk steaming wand, simply turn the setting on to activate this and your steaming water will automatically heat up through your coffee machine itself.
One of the keys to making the perfect breve latte is to make sure your milk is very cold before you steam it. This ensures that the milk dairy fats are at the right consistency and you produce the fluffiest froth possible.
Simply pour your ⅔ cup of half and half into a metal steaming pitcher, place the wand into the pitcher and slowly rotate the pitcher around for 30 seconds or so.
To create the foam, simply move your milk pitcher down so that the tip of the steaming want is touching the surface of the milk itself. When making a breve latte, there is only a small amount of foam involved in a breve latte, so you can simply pour this over the top of your steamed milk, or practice your latte art!
Step 4: Serve and Enjoy!
To finish off your perfect breve latte, simply pour your steamed half and half over your double espresso, and top it off with some of your foam and enjoy!
Breve Latte Compared to Other Coffee Drinks
Whilst breve lattes are a classically popular espresso based coffee drink, there are also a number of other coffees that use steamed milk to create a delicious coffee delight!
The main difference between a breve latte and a regular latte is the consistency and texture of the milk used. A regular latte uses either full fat or semi-skimmed milk, whereas a breve latte uses half and half (which is made from half cream and half full fat milk). This gives the breve latte a much richer, creamier and more aerated texture than a regular latte.
The flat white is often thought of as the ‘baby latte’ due to the lower volume of steamed milk and foam used to make it.
The main difference between a flat white and a breve latte is the volume and texture of the milk used. A flat white tends to be served in a 6 oz cup, whereas a breve latte tends to be served in a 8, 10 or 12 oz cup.
This gives a breve latte the creamier, thicker mouthfeel then the flat white, but makes the flat white more intense and gives it a stronger ‘coffee’ flavor. A flat white sits between a cortado and a latte in terms of strength and volume of milk used.
A cappuccino differs from a breve latte due to lower volume of steamed milk, but a higher volume of froth. A breve latte and a cappuccino tend to be served in similar sized cups, but where a breve latte uses around ⅔ milk to ⅓ espresso, a cappuccino is made from equal parts espresso, milk and foam.
A cappuccino therefore has a more velvety smooth texture and is a bit of a longer drink than a breve latte.
Overall, a breve latte is an increasingly coffee beverage due to the luxurious texture of the drink. This Americanised version of the classic Italian latte is thicker, creamier and contains more calories than the original.
A breve latte is a bit more of a treat and should be enjoyed every so often as an alternative to a regular latte or cappuccino!
What Exactly is a breve latte?
A breve latte is a coffee based drink that is made from a double shot of espresso, and topped up with ⅔ of a cup of steamed half and half and a thin layer of foam to finish.
Is a Breve Latte Healthy?
A breve latte is not a particularly healthy version of the espresso based drink, as it contains a higher fat content and number of calories compared to a normal latte. This is why a breve latte should be enjoyed every now and then, whereas a regular latte could be drunk every day.