Caffè Breve vs Latte – How well do you know the difference?

Breve vs Latte Differences

Latte is that hot drink made from espresso coffee and frothy milk. With its smooth and comforting taste, it is one of the most popular caffeinated drinks of recent years.

However, breve cafe is a less intense version of latte with the difference being the half-and-half of steamed milk and cream.

Both types of coffee originate from Italy but there’s a difference in taste, preparation, and ingredients.

Are you finding it hard to tell the difference between a café latte and breve café? Thinking of making a café breve or café latte (or even cappuccino mousse) at home? Why not try to make the two types of coffee and tell what the difference is by yourself.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything, from the common differences to the ingredients needed and the preparation steps.

To create the perfect Breve or Latte, you need a good coffee maker. If your hardware is a little dated and not up to the job, check out our review of the latest grind and brew espresso machines.

What’s the Difference between the Caffè Breve and Latte?

A café latte is a type of coffee that is made from steamed milk and espresso with a foam topping. 

Similarly, also, a breve is a coffee type made of espresso that is steamed half-and-half. Whole milk is not used in making breve coffee as in the case of latte.

Breve coffee is the Italian-invented American version of latte, with a slightly richer and much more delicious recipe.

Contrary to people’s opinions, breve is seen as a low-calorie type of coffee than latte. This is because it is not prepared with whole milk, but half-and-half. The fat percentage of half-and-half is just 3.3% while in whole milk, the fat percentage ranges from 10 to 18%.

Also see: Cappuccino vs Traditional Coffee Types – How well do you know the difference?

How to make Caffè Breve at home

What is a caffe breve

A caffe breve is a lot like a cafe latte but the half-and-half is vital to a breve. It’s a really nice, thick, and pretty sweet tasting cafe latte. So the milk must be ice cold right out of the fridge. If it’s warm at all or if it’s room temperature, it’s not going to foam correctly to make perfect foam.

A caffe breve is an espresso-based drink. It’s made like a cappuccino but with half-and-half instead of just milk. It’s also called breve latte, café breve, or breve coffee. Breve is an Italian word that means “short.”


Usually 1 to 2 shot of espresso, 10 to 12% of fat


Richer and creamier than a latte

What you’ll need


  • Finely ground coffee
  • Half-and-half
  • Sweetener (optional)


  • Milk frothing tool
  • Espresso making machine
  • Coffee mug
  • Paddle 

How it is made

Detailed step-by-step instructions

  1. To make the perfect cup of caffè breve, we’re going to need 16 ounces of cold half-and-half. Half-and-half is a mixture of milk and cream.
  2. First, you’ll need to steam and froth the half-and-half. It’s temperature-sensitive, so we’re going to use a culinary temperature gauge and we’re going to aim right in the center of the red zone at 160 degrees. You do not want to burn a half-and-half or it will not taste right.
  3. So pop the thermometer in the coffee preparation mug and walk over to the steam wand at the espresso machine.
  4. Now the trick to making a really good foam is you don’t want to bury the steam wand in the bottom. And you don’t want to have it risen above the top of the surface. You’re just going to splatter everywhere and just make it sudsy.
  5. When you turn on the steam, you’re going to have to do it by sound more than by sight. You can hear a real subtle hissing but not splattering. It should turn the milk like a whirlpool and should not produce big bubbles.
  6. So, while you’re approaching 160 degrees, you’re going to cut it a little early from the heat source because it’s going to continue cooking itself. Now, set the milk aside and let it cool a little bit, and tighten up the foam.
  7. Bring out a portafilter from the espresso machine. Pull a double shot of espresso. The first step is we’re going to pull espresso grinds around just before making this into a nice little pile.
  8. Then use the espresso tamper to smash down 30 pounds of pressure. You can test it on a scale if you want to test exactly what 30 pounds of pressure looks like. Clean it off.
  9. Now, make the second tamp and press down 15 pounds of pressure and clean it off. You need to get all the grinds off the top so it has a nice seal. That will give you a nice little puck of espresso ready to grind. Pop it in nicely into the machine and tight.
  10. Put two demitasses cups under and start extracting. The time it takes to extract is exactly 18 to 22 seconds and it’s going to come out in two little streams.
  11. It should not be too fat and not dripping and the reason why they’re so light brown is down to the pure crema which is a real oily substance that floats like foam on the top of a well-pulled espresso.
  12. If your espresso comes out looking like black coffee, then you need to dump it out and readjust the grind of the espresso or maybe tamp it down a little harder.
  13. Next, you’re going to take your favorite mug over to the nice steamed half-and-half. With a kitchen ladle, hold back the foam and pour in all the nice hot steamed milk. Then pull in the foam (not scoop).
  14. Grab your double espresso. Note that the real trick to having this beautiful breve look is you’re going to pour in the espresso on the half-and-half slowly.
  15. The reason we do this is that the steamed half-and-half is so thick with air that it’s going to hold it buoyant on the surface. And you’re going to get this great-looking fade from espresso to milk.
  16. Set the espresso cups aside and now take the ladle and lay the last little bits of nice foam on top. And finally, you have a café quality breve.

How to make Caffè Latte at home

What is caffè latte?

The latte is composed of a double shot of espresso as well as micro-foam milk. Its texture is smooth, creamy, and uniform. The proportions of the latte vary enormously from one establishment to another.

The perfect latte is smooth, tasty, delicate. It is one of the most popular caffeinated beverages in the world. 

While one might think that the café latte is an invention created by and for Italians, this would only be half true. Indeed, this drink was created in Italy, but it was intended for American tourists, who found the espresso too intense. The invention of the term caffè latte is said to be attributable to the essayist William Dean Howell, author of Italian Journeys (1867).

Depending on the country, café latte is also called café au lait (France) or cafe con leche (Latin America). Small elements differentiate them, but the basis remains the same.

Then, with the latte came the latte art (the art of making drawings in the coffee crema thanks to the frothed milk). According to sources, latte art first appeared in Italy or the United States.

What is certain is that the great popularity of latte art is due to David Schomer, owner of the Schomer Espresso Vivace café in Seattle. He is credited with creating the rosetta, one of the most popular designs in latte art. Today, latte art championships are multiplying across the world, techniques are always refined and equipment is developing.


Contains two shots of espresso


Looks creamy and can be sweet depending on the flavor, but not as mocha

What you’ll need


  • 1/2 cup of skimmed milk
  • 2 shots of espresso
  • Boing water
  • Flavor (optional)


  • Milk frothing tool
  • Espresso making machine
  • Coffee mug
  •  Pitcher

How it is made


  1. To make a latte cafe, first, you’ll have to heat the cup. This is an essential step because thanks to this, the latte will remain hot during the tasting. You just need to fill the cup with boiling water.
  2. Next, pour the milk into a pitcher. Even if cold milk rises better than hot milk, we recommend that you heat the milk to prevent it from cooling the latte on its own. 1/2 skimmed milk works better than soy milk.
  3. Just like we did in the cafe breve preparation, you’ll have to froth the milk. With a milk frother (an emulsifier), you’ll need to make the milk to form foam. The objective is to triple the volume of milk in the pitcher.
  4. Make your espresso in a large cup. Do not let the espresso wait more than 10 seconds without adding the milk. You can also make yourself a double espresso if you like its more full-bodied latte.
  5. Next, pour the frothed milk into the espresso. You can give the latte art a try by making a lateral wrist movement (from left to right and vice versa). Be careful, it is the pitcher of milk that you’ll have to move above the cup.


There are not many differences in latte and breve cafe but for the half-and-half in a breve cafe. Both have foam toppings but while milk isn’t used in making breve. A breve coffee is an American version of a latte, with a slightly richer and much more delicious recipe.

Usually, for a small latte (about 8 oz), a single shot of espresso is served with about 6-7 oz of milk, and for a medium / large latte (about 12 to 16 oz), it’s a double shot with 9 -10 oz of milk.

The key to making latte and breve is the froth. It takes time and practice to master and, when poorly done, it ruins the brew altogether. The microfoam should be liquid, but not like milk, smooth, but without bubbles. It should be uniform, shiny, and slightly sweet.

home > Perfect your Brew > Caffè Breve vs Latte – How well do you know the difference?

Evelyn J Stafford

Evelyn is a Coffee enthusiast and writer for Wins Coffee Bar. Her work has appeared in Bean Scene, The Home Kitchen and other publications.

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