Many consumers use the words ‘latte’ and ‘breve’ interchangeably and even as a combined name (e.g., breve latte). However, the synonymous use of the terms can make it a challenge to distinguish between these two delicious coffee drinks (breve vs. latte).
In addition, when comparing the two drinks, you should also consider the taste, the worldwide consumption, and even the health differences between breve and latte.
So whether you’re a well-seasoned coffee enthusiast or a coffee drinker of leisure who wants to distinguish between latte coffee and breve coffee, we’re here to advise you about the difference between them and why it matter.
Below, we highlight some of the history and the similarities and differences between these two coffee choices and suggested recipes.
What This Article Covers:
- The History of Latte and Breve Coffee
- The Relationship Between Lattes, Breves, and Cappuccinos
- The Main Differences Between Latte and Breve
- Suggested Recipe
The History of Latte and Breve Coffee
The use of the word ‘latte’ to describe a milky coffee goes back to the 1860s, while the use of ‘espresso’ goes back to 1884.
In the 1940s, baristas used the term “pulling a shot” to describe espresso-type coffees for the first time. Finally, in the 1980s, coffee artists started to “paint” their lattes with espresso foam.
The breve, also called the “breve latte,” was invented by Americans but based on the latte principles. Instead of steaming milk for foam, the drink uses half-and-half (half milk, half cream) to ensure a creamier, fuller, and sweeter taste.
The Relationship Between Lattes, Breves, and Cappuccinos
Confusingly, consumers and even restaurateurs sometimes use ‘cappuccino,’ ‘breve,’ and ‘latte’ synonymously.
While a latte and a cappuccino use the same essential ingredients (i.e., espresso, steamed milk, and foam), the texturing and layering of the two drinks differ.
Traditionally, a cappuccino comprises one-third espresso, one-third milk, and a third foam, presented in layers.
On the other hand, a latte (‘latte’ means “milk” in Italian) includes more milk and less foam (one-third espresso, two-thirds dairy). You replace half of the milk used in a latte with cream in a breve.
The Main Differences Between Latte and Breve
Origin and Popularity
Latte coffee is of Italian origin, while breve is American. Lattes are far more popular worldwide than breves, presumably because lattes have been around since before the 1900s. Breves only started to become popular in America in the 1960s.
Most coffee shops worldwide serve either cappuccinos or lattes (or both). Breve is more known in the United States and less well known in other parts of the world.
Milk and Cream content
The main difference between a latte and a breve is the milk and cream content, and both coffee drinks’ names directly refer to it. “Latte” means “milk” in Italian, which makes sense as milk is the essential substance mixed into a latte (in addition to the espresso).
In Italian, “breve” means ”short,” referring to less milk in the drink than in a regular latte.
To make up for the “short milk” in a breve, you add cream to the milk, known as half-and-half.
Breve exhibits more creamy and even more voluminous foam than its latte counterpart due to the inclusion of half-and-half, enhancing the foam quality.
Sweetness and Richness
While many lattes are made sweeter by the barista who adds brown sugar into the mix, breve is naturally sweeter due to the barista adding cream in place of the reduced milk.
If you are more of a sweet tooth that is not afraid of a dessert-type drink with a creamy aftertaste in your mouth, breve will be your natural choice.
We suggest you not add brown sugar to your breve, as the extra sugar would make the coffee overly sweet.
Calories and Fat Content
A breve has almost double the calories as a latte for those counting their calorie and fat intake. In addition, a breve has 4 to 5 times more fat content than a latte.
The creaminess of the breve lessens the acidic taste of the beverage as opposed to the latte.
Coffee Beans and Roast
The preferred coffee beans for latte and breve alike are medium-dark or dark roast coffee beans. Medium-dark and dark roast beans have a bolder, more pronounced flavor that elevates the coffee's taste over the steamed milk or cream.
You might think that breve has less caffeine because the espresso taste is more subtle (because of the cream).
However, you’ll find the same amount of espresso in both a breve and a latte. The caffeine content is, therefore, the same.
Health Benefits / Detriments
Choosing between a breve or a latte for the health-conscious depends on your diet preference.
For many weight-loss diets, a latte is superior because it has fewer calories than a breve.
For those, however, who believe that your fat intake is as important as your calorie intake (e.g., Keto diet), the breve is the preferred choice from a health perspective.
Iced Latte vs. Iced Breve
You can drink both a latte and a breve as a hot drink or an iced breve (also called an iced breve latte), or an iced latte. The ice further dilutes the acidity in both beverages.
To make an iced vanilla breve latte, you can add syrup (e.g., vanilla syrup) to the iced breve latte to enhance the flavor.
Breve vs. Latte vs. Mocha
When comparing breve vs. latte vs. mocha, all three drinks use espresso as the base. While a latte contains milk, a breve contains milk and cream (half-and-half). Mocha has milk and dark chocolate (chocolate syrup, hot chocolate, or flakes).
If you’re searching for a gratifying coffee experience, you can’t go wrong with a latte or breve. Both drinks provide you with your caffeine boost of the day, veiled in steamed milk or half-and-half.
The choice between the two depends on whether you prefer a fuller, creamier breve coffee to a more popular milky latte.
We suggest the following recipe to prepare a latte or breve. But, of course, you can adjust the recipe.
Ingredients: Espresso (2-3 shots); milk for a latte and half-and-half for a breve;
Step 1: Pull 1 or 2 shots of espresso and pour it into the base of your cup or glass
- Place a cup or glass underneath the espresso machine group head
- Pull down the espresso machine lever or press the button
- Boiling water will be released, which water will push through the compacted ground coffee
- Espresso liquid will trickle into the cup
Step 2: Steam the milk (for latte) or milk and cream (for breve) (whole milk suggested)
- Pour milk or milk and cream into a steaming pitcher
- Use a steam wand (attached to the espresso machine) and insert it into the pitcher to heat the milk (or milk and cream) liquid while adding air
- Keep the tip of the wand near the side of the pitcher to create a swirl
- In the absence of a steam wand, consider using a frother or a mixer to hot froth the milk
Step 3: After steaming your milk, tap the jug on the surface to remove any large air bubbles
Step 4: Start pouring from a slightly elevated position (7-8 cm above the cup). As the amount of milk in the cup increases, bring the milk jug closer to the cup and on a steeper angle while speeding up the pouring rate
Step 4: Do latte or breve art on top of the microfoam if you have the know-how
Keep in Mind
It’s important to note that a breve is naturally sweet, and you don’t need to add any brown sugar. In the preparation of a latte, the barista or consumer will, at their discretion, add brown sugar.
Should you want to try out other breve or latte recipes, you could try a chai tea latte with breve recipe, also called breve chai.
The base of the breve chai drink is a chai tea concentrate (strong black tea with spices) instead of an espresso. You can make the tea almost exactly like you make a breve by adding half-and-half to the chai tea concentrate.
While latte is a more popular drink worldwide, breve is a distinctive drink that will remind you of a latte with a creamier and sweeter taste due to the half-and-half. Both drinks have health benefits, depending on your diet preferences.
The recipe to prepare these two drinks overlaps to a large extent. The main difference is the milk and cream content, with a latte taking steamed milk and a breve taking steamed milk and cream.
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