If you’re sipping a latte or cappuccino and find yourself thinking: Can I make this even creamier? Then I’ve got the recipe for you.
You can turn your espresso into the deliciously creamy Breve coffee right in the comfort of your own home. Not only does it taste amazing, but it’s pretty easy to make as well.
In this article, I’ll walk you through each step of making this drink so you can enjoy café-quality breve coffee.
What is Breve Coffee?
Breve coffee is an espresso-based drink made with a double shot of espresso and equal parts half and half milk instead of whole milk, resulting in a cappuccino-like drink that’s richer, creamier, and has a thicker texture. Breve coffee is also called breve latte, caffè breve / cafe breve, or just simply breve.
There’s not much history told about the breve, but the term comes from Italy which translates to “short” or “concise.” As for the half and half milk, which is made with half whole milk and half heavy cream, it was invented by William A. Boutwell of Boutwell Dairy in Florida during the 1920s.
Sipping on breve coffee for the first time was a memorable experience for me. A few years back, I tried one at a specialty coffee shop and was surprised by how rich and velvety the drink is— it’s honestly quite different from the typical lattes and cappuccinos that I’ve been accustomed to. Since then, I’ve been making this drink at home whenever someone craves a real creamy cup of coffee.
And even if you don’t have a box of half-and-half at home, you probably have heavy creme and milk. Simply mix them together at a 1:1 ratio, and voila. Half-and-half 🙂
Equipment & Ingredients Used for Cafe Breve
Here are the things that you will need to make a cafe breve:
- Espresso machine – Used to brew the espresso shot. If you don’t have one, click here for alternative ways to make espresso at home.
- Milk frother or steamer – Used to steam and froth milk for the breve. Most espresso machines have one, but alternatively, you can also use other frothing methods.
- Milk pitcher – The container for steaming the milk.
- Hot water – Used to preheat your cup or mug.
- Cappuccino mug – This will hold the espresso and steamed milk.
- 18 g of ground coffee – Used for the espresso shot. I recommend a medium roast for this breve recipe.
- 60 ml of half-and-half milk – A combination of equal parts whole milk and heavy cream. Used to blend with the espresso for the cafe breve.
Step-by-Step Guide to Make a Breve
Making a breve is as easy as fixing other espresso-based drinks like your go-to cappuccino. Follow these steps to make a perfect cup of breve coffee every time:
1. Preheat the cup.
- Pour hot water into the cup and let it sit as you prepare the espresso.
- This ensures that the heat from the espresso won’t dissipate too quickly and ruin its flavor profile.
2. Grind your coffee and tamp in the portafilter.
- Put your 18 g of coffee grounds into the portafilter.
- Tamp down the coffee, making sure that there are no gaps or air pockets around the edges.
3. Pull two shots of espresso.
- Insert your portafilter back into your espresso maker and empty your preheated mug.
- Pull two shots of espresso directly into your cup, aiming to preserve as much crema as possible during this process. My tip: the closer the cup is to the spout, the more crema will stay on the espresso.
4. Steam your milk.
- Steam half-and-half in a milk pitcher until it reaches a smooth, creamy texture with some foam on top. Just like you would for a cappuccino.
- I find that half-and-half provides slightly more substance than whole milk, but it doesn’t weigh down the drink too much.
5. Pour the steamed half and half over the espresso.
- Pour steamed half-and-half over your freshly pulled shots of espresso.
- Serve and enjoy your cafe breve.
- The steamed half-and-half will become sweeter than normal steamed milk. I’ve found that people who usually put a bit of sugar into their cappuccino don’t do so with a breve.
What kind of cup should you serve a breve in?
You can serve breve coffee in a cappuccino glass that can hold about 4.5 ounces of the drink.
Barista Tips for Making a Breve Latte
Now that you know the basics of making a Breve coffee, let me share with you more tips to take your drink to the next level:
- Grind your own coffee beans if possible for maximum freshness. Instant espresso can also be used, but I always recommend a real espresso shot for a high-quality, café-level drink.
- You can easily make your own half-and-half if you don’t have one readily available. Just mix equal parts whole milk and heavy cream in a bowl.
- If you’re a big fan of dessert-like coffee beverages, you can make this drink even more delectable by adding sweeteners and flavored syrup to the recipe. I like topping mine with a pinch of cocoa powder, my wife likes it with cinnamon.
- Once you’ve mastered this breve recipe, you might also want to try my other creamy and sweet coffee recipes such as the caramel macchiato, espresso con panna, and iced cappuccino.
- Breve coffee can easily become one of your favorite drinks, but I don’t recommend drinking it too often, as the half-and-half has more calories and fat than the whole milk used in a traditional cappuccino.
Now you can make a simple but delicious cafe breve right in your kitchen. With just a few key ingredients and some basic barista skills, you can turn your regular cup of joe into an indulgent treat.
So if you’re craving something creamy and satisfying on a lazy morning, try this espresso-based drink that uses half and half instead of milk that we typically use. And let me know in the comments how your cafe breve went.