What is a Breve Coffee? - Everything You’d Want to Know
If you love you some cream in your coffee, you are probably familiar with a latte and cappuccino, but have you heard of a breve? If not, then your coffee repertoire is missing an important luxurious option. If you are musical or love music, you have probably come across the term breve, and it wasn't a coffee. So, what is a breve coffee? Well, it is an espresso-based hot coffee drink. To be more precise, it is an American variation of the Italian cappuccino, which is usually made with half whole milk and half cream, popularly known as half-and-half.
A breve is richer, creamier and thus more viscous. It is made with 1 shot of espresso and equal parts steamed and frothed half-and-half. It is served in the standard cappuccino cup, which is about 150ml to 180ml. This article will provide all the fun details about a breve coffee, from its definition and how it's made to how it compares to other popular espresso-based drinks.
What is a Breve?
A breve, also popularly known as a café breve or breve latte, is an espresso-based drink. It is a combination of 1 or 2 shots of espresso and half-and-half. Unlike other espresso-based beverages like latte, it is not made with milk only.
The drink may have gotten its name from the half-and-half used to make it. Half-and-half doesn't rise as much as low-fat milk, which can even double in height when steamed. Therefore, if you use the same amount of low-fat milk and half-and-half after steaming, the drink made with the half-and-half would be much shorter.
Breve means 'short' in Italian. Another possible origin of the name could be the size of the cup the drink is served in. This means café breve mostly comes in a short cappuccino cup, but the size of the cup usually varies across different coffee shops.
The drink is decidedly an American invention, thus more popular in America. It is an adaptation of the café latte’ which is an Italian classic. It isn't as popular as other espresso-based drinks because of its high-fat content. A standard 16-ounce coffee cup filled with BreveBreve will add you about 600 calories. The same amount of coffee made with skim milk will only add you 150 calories.
Some people prefer to have their creamy BreveBreve in the morning, while others like it as an occasional dessert.
You can make any espresso-based drink richer with half-and-half. For instance, you can make a cappuccino with equal parts espresso, foam, and steamed half-and-half. If you are so keen on your calories intake, you could also try a more decadent drink like a mocha breve.
Pro-tip: When you use half-and-half to make a drink, you should skip the sugar or your extra sweetener because the higher fat content makes the drink sweeter. You can also add some flavor like caramel or vanilla. It's a matter of personal preference.
Breve vs. Latte
Both BreveBreve and latte are creamy espresso-based coffee drinks. The only difference between them is that a breve is made with half-and-half instead of milk or milk foam like a latte and many other espresso-based drinks.
The full-fat milk and creamy blend used to brew a breve result in a very sweet drink without sugar that offers a luxurious coffee experience.
A latte is made with low-fat velvety smooth steamed milk. It can be any kind of milk, from oat and soy to cow's or almond milk. It only has to be steamed, smooth, and velvety. Lattes are made by pouring a double shot of espresso over some velvety smooth steamed milk. The milk should not foam. Instead, it should form an ultra-fine microfoam perfect for creating a shape.
A café breve is made with half whole milk and half rich cream. It can be steamed or foamed according to your preference, but the key component is the creamy milk. A single or double espresso shot is added to the half-and-half.
Ristretto vs. Lungo
Ristretto and Lungo are often confused by many coffee lovers as they are both espresso-based beverages. The main difference between the 2 lies in the extraction time taken in the brewing process of the drinks.
Lungo means 'long' in Italian. To make a lungo, water is pressed through fine coffee grounds over a long period to extract the aroma and overall taste of the coffee. The result is a very strong and bitter-tasting espresso Lungo. It not only has a full-bodied taste than a classic espresso but is also more in volume.
This is the complete opposite of a Lungo. Its processing time is relatively short. With the ristretto, finely ground coffee is the key component. Due to the short processing time, only the fruity notes are extracted from the coffee. If the coffee beans are roasted darker, then you would get a full aroma spectrum over the short extraction period. Unlike Lungo, the ristretto puts the least amount of coffee in a cup.
How to Make a Breve
A lot goes into making the perfect cup of coffee. Some of the crucial aspects to consider when making a breve include:
The first thing you must consider when trying to achieve the perfect cup of coffee is the quality of the coffee beans or coffee grounds. Get the best quality coffee beans and if you don’t roast them yourself, buy them immediately after roasting. Also, use them immediately after grinding for a top-quality drink.
The Cliff Hanger Espresso by Kicking Horse Coffee remains one of the most acclaimed coffee beans. The beans have a rich blackcurrant, milk, chocolate, and brown sugar aroma with silky and complex taste notes. The best news is that you can brew them with virtually any method, including pour over, French press, drip machine, cold brew, and espresso.
The next step is making the espresso. There are different types of espresso machines in the market. Get one that suits your space and budget if you don’t already have one. According to most reviews, the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine is one of the best investments you can make if you want specialty coffee at home. It has all the fantastic features you would need to make various types of specialty coffee like precise espresso extraction, optimal water pressure, dose control grinding, and microfoam milk texturing.
To make the best steam, start off with a very cold half-and-half. It will froth better than room temperature half-and-half. Use a metal jug for the best results and avoid over-filling it. If your espresso machine features a built-in steaming wand, you can easily steam with it. Alternatively, you can get a stand-along frothing wand for steaming, but it will give you a different texture compared to when you use a proper steam wand.
Put the espresso in the cup, then pour the half-and-half in. Use a spoon to hold back the foam when pouring. Once you are done pouring, you can add a dollop or two of foam on top of the drink.
Is Breve Served Hot or Cold?
Breve is usually served hot, but you can get it cold, iced, or blended from any coffee shop.
What Does ‘Breve’ Mean at Starbucks?
When at Starbucks, you might not see BreveBreve on the menu. This is because many coffee shops consider BreveBreve an adaptation of the basic latte. You will have to order a 'Latte Breve’ to get what you have in mind.
How Many Calories are in a Cup of Breve Coffee?
The amount of calories in a cup of BreveBreve varies depending on the half-and-half to coffee ratio. A 16-ounce cup made with a double espresso shot will have about 550 calories.
It is important to brush up on your coffee lingo as a coffee lover. This would help you explore many other existing coffee tastes as well as expand your repertoire. That said, what is a Breve coffee? It is a rich, viscous, and creamy espresso-based drink. It is made with espresso and half-and-half, which is basically just half whole milk and half cream. A Breve is rich in calories, thus not recommended for anyone trying to lose weight.
Interestingly, you can make any espresso-based drink a Breve by replacing low-fat milk with half-and-half. In fact, when you go to popular coffee places like Starbucks, you may not get a Breve on the menu. You would then have to order a latte, cappuccino, mocha, or macchiato, then add BreveBreve to it. You can easily make yourself the perfect cup of BreveBreve at home. We have provided all the hints and tips in this article.