Breve vs. Latte (Key Differences & Recipe)

Cup of coffee
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When walking into your local coffee shop, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee hits you, and you know now it is time to indulge in your favorite cup of coffee.

But wait, here comes the tricky part! As you scan through the menu, you come across two similar-sounding options – breve and latte. Confused, you wonder if they are the same thing or if the two have any differences.

Well, fear not, coffee lovers! While both drinks are variations of the classic latte, there are some key differences that set them apart.

This blog post explores the breve and latte world and breaks down each drink’s unique characteristics. So, the next time you’re craving a creamy cup of coffee, you’ll know exactly which one to order.

Breve vs. latte at a glance

Ingredients⅓ espresso shot, ⅔ half and half steamed milk, and cream, less froth.⅓ espresso shot, 2% steamed whole milk, less milk foam.
FlavorRicher, creamier flavor with a strong coffee taste.Milky, light flavor with a less coffee taste.
Serving8 ounces12-16 ounces
Calories350-380 180-200
Caffeine content80-120 mg80-120 mg

What is a latte? 

A latte is the quintessential coffee drink loved by caffeine enthusiasts worldwide. This classic espresso-based drink is both simple and sophisticated since it uses steamed milk, espresso, and foam.

Lattes are composed of 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, topped with frothed milk that can be made into stunning designs, commonly known as latte art.

If you are a fan of espressos and their rich and bold flavors but are not satisfied with their intensity, you can always opt for a latte. A latte has the same rich, creamy coffee flavor but with a much more subtle intensity when compared to an espresso shot. In short, a latte offers an ideal balance between espresso’s robustness and milk’s creaminess.

Additionally, lattes can be customized to suit individual preferences. On a hot summer day, you can enjoy your latte iced or with flavored syrups or sauces. Check them in the variations section below.

Related Read: Are Lattes Hot Or Cold? [ Disclosing the perfect temperature ]

latte coffee in making


Latte, the beloved coffee drink millions of people enjoy, has a long and mysterious history that is difficult to trace. However, many believe this espresso-based beverage originated in America and became wildly popular in the early 90s in Seattle.

Others speculate that the drink was first introduced in Italy but only served in places where American tourists visited the most. Many people still believe that the authentic cappuccino used to be too strong for Americans, due to which they added more milk to the drink to make it less intense and more creamy. And voila! A latte came into being.

How to order a latte? 

Traditionally, a latte is made with an espresso machine and served hot. However, if you want a refreshing summer beverage instead of a hot one, you can also order an iced latte.

This version is still made with one to two espresso shots, but cold milk is used instead, creating a deliciously chilled treat.

The iced latte has less milk foam, allowing a more pungent espresso taste. Despite remaining slightly sweet, this coffee is a great pick-me-up on hot days or for those who prefer a more robust espresso flavor.

There are many ways to enjoy the latte that suits your individual tastes and preferences, which makes it one of the most versatile and beloved coffee drinks.

Homemade latte: How to make it? 

Making a caffe latte at home is not as difficult as you might think it is. You can make a perfect latte just by following this simple step-by-step guide:

  • Gathering the ingredients: You will need espresso, steamed milk, and a sweetener. Vanilla extract or cinnamon can also be added if you like.
  • Preparing your espresso: Use an espresso machine or an espresso maker to make a double shot of espresso. Without either of these tools, you can use instant espresso powder from most grocery stores. Put your espresso in a mug once it’s ready.
  • Frothing the milk: You can create a creamy, frothy texture to your caffè latte by steaming the milk with a milk frother or a steam wand. Alternatively, you can heat some milk in a pot or microwave and add it to your espresso if you don’t have either of these tools.
  • Sweetening the coffee: Add a sweetener to your latte, such as sugar, honey, or sugar-free syrup. Stir the espresso with the sweetener.
  • Adding flavorings: Finally, top your caffè latte with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or a few drops of your favorite syrup if desired.
latte coffee cup


The following are a few latte variations available at your local coffee shops. However, you can also make these latte variations at home since multiple flavors, syrups, and other ingredients are readily available in most supermarkets.

  • Classic latte: A classic latte is a regular coffee drink with the most basic ingredients like espresso, steamed milk, and foam.
  • Flavored latte: it consists of flavors like pumpkin spice, chai, vanilla, etc.
  • Iced latte: iced lattes comprise cold espresso, milk, and ice with added flavors.
  • Vegan latte: It consists of vegan milk, espresso, and sweeteners with added flavors.
  • Mocha latte: Mocha latte is made of espresso, chocolate, and steamed milk with added flavors.
  • Turmeric latte: comprises espresso, turmeric, and warm milk with added flavors.
  • Peppermint mocha latte: it is made of espresso, steamed milk, peppermint syrup, and chocolate.
  • Pumpkin spice latte: It consists of espresso, steamed milk, and pumpkin spice syrup.
  • Salted caramel mocha latte: A salted caramel mocha latte is made of espresso, steamed milk, salted caramel syrup, and chocolate.
  • Gingerbread latte: It contains espresso, steamed milk, and gingerbread syrup.
  • Cinnamon dolce latte: This latte type consists of espresso, steamed milk, and cinnamon dolce syrup.

What is a breve?

Also known as caffe breve, latte breve, or simply breve, this classic coffee beverage is a result of combining an espresso shot and steamed half-and-half milk.

The name “breve” originates from the Italian word “brevi,” which means “short.” The drink is typically ordered in smaller serving sizes, like cappuccinos, usually around 8 ounces.

Now, what makes Breve Coffee unique?

It uses half-and-half instead of whole or 2% milk. Doing this will give your coffee drink a much creamier and richer texture, with a more-concentrated coffee flavor, as compared to a traditional latte.

Breve is also more popular among coffee lovers who prefer a more affluent and silky, creamy coffee. Moreover, you can also customize your drink with desired flavors and syrups according to your taste preferences.

Additionally, half-and-half has a lower lactose content than regular milk, making it a good option for those looking to limit their dairy intake.

Related Read: Everything You Need to Know about Breve Coffee

breve coffee glass


Breve is a variation of the Italian classic caffe latte created in America. The use of half & half instead of milk makes the drink much creamier and richer, which makes it a popular choice for those who enjoy a dessert-like experience with their coffee.

Due to its decadent creaminess, many people enjoy drinking breve in the evening as a sweet treat hot or as an iced breve latte.

How to order a breve? 

When ordering a breve at most coffee shops, you can expect to receive a shot of espresso mixed with steamed half-and-half milk, resulting in a creamy and rich coffee beverage.

However, the interpretation of a breve at Starbucks differs from other coffee shops. If you order a breve at Starbucks, you may receive a cup of steamed half-and-half milk without espresso.

This is because a breve refers to half-and-half itself, not a coffee beverage at Starbucks. To avoid confusion, specify that you want a Starbucks Breve Latte when ordering this drink at Starbucks.

How to make a breve at home?

Making a perfect caffè breve at home is simple and easy. Here is a step-by-step guide to a breve coffee recipe:

  • Collect the ingredients: To make a breve, you will require finely-ground coffee beans, half-and-half milk, and your desired sweetener.
  • Preparing the espresso: Switch on your coffee device once you have filled the espresso beans into it. The machine will heat up and become ready in a few seconds. It is now time to pour the espresso shots into two mugs.
  • Steaming the half-and-half: Now, steam the half-and-half milk until it becomes creamier and thicker. Make a froth by using a milk frother or a steam wand. 
  • Adding the half-and-half to your espresso: The half-and-half should be heated before adding to the espresso shots in the coffee mugs. Stir the Half-and-half and espresso gently to combine.
  • Sweetening your breve: You can use your preferred sweetener, such as sugar, honey, or sugar-free syrup. Add this sweetener to the espresso drink and stir well.


The following are the most popular variations of breve available at most coffee shops:

  • Traditional Breve Coffee: A regular breve coffee is made with half and half, espresso, and sugar.
  • Affogato Breve: It is made with espresso, half and half, and vanilla ice cream.
  • Mocha Breve: Combines espresso, half and half, and chocolate syrup.
  • Pumpkin Spice Breve: Made with half and half espresso and pumpkin spice syrup.
  • Caramel Breve: Features espresso, half and half, and caramel syrup.
breve making at home

Breve vs. Latte – The Key Differences

Now that you know what a breve and a latte are, it is time to learn the differences between these two delicious coffee drinks!


The primary difference between a caffe breve vs. a caffe latte lies in the type of milk used to make both of these espresso-based beverages.

There are usually one or two espresso shots, steamed milk (usually whole or 2%), and milk foam in a cafe latte.

 A cafe breve, on the other hand, is made with a single or two espresso shots, half and half milk (whole milk and cream), and a small amount of milk foam.

Even though the ingredients are similar, a cafe breve made with half and half tastes richer than one made with regular milk.

Steamed milk and half-and-half have different textures and tastes, but both are delicious options for coffee lovers.


When it comes to breve vs. latte, the taste is a crucial factor that varies based on personal preferences.

While both espresso drinks are smooth and delicious, a breve coffee is richer and creamier than a latte because it’s made with half and half.

The taste of both espresso drinks is influenced by various factors such as the volume of milk or half and half milk used, the number of espresso shots, and the type of coffee beans used. The milk used in a latte makes more of a difference in taste than in a breve coffee. For instance, a latte consists of steamed whole milk, whereas a breve coffee is made of half-and-half steamed milk.


Breve is made with half-and-half and espresso in equal parts, which creates a creamy texture. Using finely ground coffee beans is essential to achieve the rich, bold flavor that pairs perfectly with the breve coffee.

Conversely, espresso and steamed milk are combined to create a smooth, creamy texture for a Latte. When selecting the coffee for the latte, it is best to choose a balanced and smooth espresso flavor that compliments the milk well. Typically, Arabica beans are used in lattes because of their sweet and mellow taste.

breve coffee making through machine

Caffeine content

Coffee enthusiasts are often curious about the caffeine content of their espresso drinks. A traditional latte and a breve espresso have approximately the same amount of caffeine, ranging from 80-120mg. 

This is similar to the caffeine amount in a double espresso shot, but the milk masks the taste of the coffee. Although neither drink has a prominent coffee flavor, a latte is usually bolder in taste than a breve espresso due to the type of milk used.


The texture of a cafe breve and a latte differ noticeably, with the former being thicker and more affluent. The use of half-and-half milk in a cafe breve contributes to its smooth and foamy texture, while a latte is typically lighter and milkier in texture.

Milk and foam ratio

In modern espresso drinks, milk and espresso are the key components, but the ratios of each ingredient differ depending on the specific coffee drink.

For instance, a cafe con leche is coffee-focused with only a tiny amount of milk, while a breve and latte have a larger milk-to-espresso ratio.

A breve and latte typically consist of 1/3 espresso shots, 2/3 steamed milk, and a thin foam layer. The primary difference between a breve and a latte is that a breve uses half and half instead of regular milk, resulting in a bolder and creamier foam.

Latte art is a popular feature of both drinks and baristas often take pride in creating unique designs on the milk foam.

latte coffee glass


Breve and latte coffee are not only delicious but also have numerous health benefits.

  • They are rich in antioxidants that protect the body against cell damage, helping to prevent cancer and other ailments.
  • Additionally, they contain essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and niacin, providing numerous nutritional benefits.
  • Moreover, the caffeine in breve and latte coffee can help reduce stress, increase alertness, promote weight loss, improve cognitive function, and reduce the risk of heart diseases by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Calorie count

If you’re watching your calorie intake, a latte is a better option than a breve. A regular 12-oz breve can have 420 calories, while a 12-oz latte has only 150 calories. The difference in calories is due to the higher fat content in half and half used for a breve.

Additionally, adding flavored syrups to either drink can increase the calorie count. So if you’re trying to cut down on calories, you must be mindful of what you’re adding to your drink.

Brew Time

To make a breve and a latte, you require a traditional, basic espresso machine. The preparation process for both is almost identical, except for using half and half milk instead of whole for the frothed and steamed milk layers in the breve.

To make either drink, it only takes a few minutes.

You need the same equipment for both, including an espresso machine (or a double shot of espresso already prepared), a steam wand or milk frother to make the steamed milk product and milk foam correctly, a milk jug, and a thermometer to ensure that the milk reaches the required temperature of 160 degrees.

Serving size

Breve and latte coffee differ in serving size. Breves are usually served in an 8-ounce cup, while lattes can vary in size from 12 to 16 ounces, depending on where you order.

The Takeaway 

Breves and lattes are similar espresso-based coffee drinks with steamed dairy and foam. However, the main difference between the two is that a caffè breve uses half and half instead of milk.

The use of half and half results in a creamier and richer breve coffee drink, preferred by those who enjoy a more intense espresso-based drink. By understanding the distinctions between these two drinks, you can confidently order the one that suits your preferences.


Is a breve or latte healthier? 

In terms of calories, a latte is generally considered healthier than a breve because it is made with whole milk instead of half and half, which has a higher fat content. However, both drinks can be made with added syrups and sweeteners, which can increase the calorie count.

Why does Starbucks call it breve? 

Starbucks calls the drink “Breve” because it is a shortened version of the Italian term “caffè breve,” which translates to “short coffee.” The term describes the drink’s smaller serving size compared to a latte.

Does a breve have a lot of caffeine?

The amount of caffeine in a breve depends on the number of espresso shots used to make the drink. Typically, a breve uses one shot of espresso, which contains around 63 mg of caffeine. However, you can order a breve with more espresso shots to increase the caffeine content.

What is the difference between a cappuccino and a latte?

The main difference between a cappuccino and a latte is the ratio of steamed milk to foam. A cappuccino has a thicker layer of foam, while a latte has a thinner layer of foam and more steamed milk. Additionally, cappuccinos are traditionally served in smaller cups than lattes.

Does a breve have fewer carbs? 

A breve made with half and half will have slightly fewer calories than a latte made with whole milk, as half and half have a lower carbohydrate content. However, the difference is insignificant, and you should consume both drinks in moderation if you watch your carb intake.

How many shots of coffee are in a latte?

A traditional latte is made with one or two shots of espresso, depending on the size of the drink. Larger sizes may come with two shots to balance out the amount of milk in the coffee drink. However, some coffee shops and chains may offer variations with more or fewer espresso shots.

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