What is a Breve Coffee, cuffee cup and a spoon in a plate and a cloak and coffee beans with it

What is a Breve Coffee

A breve coffee is a delicious and creamy coffee drink made by combining espresso with steamed half & half instead of regular milk. This gives the breve a richer, creamier texture than other coffee-based beverages.

The term breve comes from the Italian word for “short”, referring to the use of half & half rather than full cream. Half & half contains around 10-12% milk fat, compared to the 3-4% found in whole milk. This higher fat content is what creates the signature velvety texture of a breve coffee.

“What is a breve coffee” a little history: Breve coffees first emerged in the early 1990s in the coffee shops of Seattle. The concept gained popularity when Starbucks added it to their menu, standardizing the recipe. Since then, breves have become menu staples at coffee houses and cafes across America.

Some key features of a breve coffee include:

  • Base of espresso – 1-2 shots
  • Steamed half & half instead of milk
  • A frothy, creamy texture
  • Subtle sweetness to balance bitterness
  • Strong coffee flavor

While similar to a cappuccino or latte, the use of half & half gives the breve a richer mouthfeel and bolder coffee taste. The drink can be customized with flavors and toppings, but always contains the signature combination of espresso and steamed half & half.

Key Takeaways “What is a Breve Coffee”

Takeaway Description
Creamy, frothy texture Breve coffee is made with steamed half & half instead of milk, giving it a richer, creamier texture than other coffee drinks. The half & half is steamed until frothy.
Strong coffee taste Breve coffee highlights the bold, robust flavor of espresso. The espresso provides a strong coffee base.
Origins in Seattle coffee culture The breve was invented in Seattle in the 1990s and popularized by Starbucks, reflecting the city’s innovative coffee culture.
Highly customizable Breve coffee can be customized with different types of milk, sweeteners like flavored syrups, and toppings like whipped cream.
Uses half & half The key ingredient that sets the breve apart is the use of half & half instead of regular milk. Half & half contains 10-12% milk fat.
Sweeter than regular coffee The half & half gives breve coffee a subtly sweet, indulgent taste compared to black coffee or coffee with regular milk.
Higher fat content The high fat content of half & half provides a rich, velvety mouthfeel.
Frothy texture Steaming the half & half makes it hot, frothy, and creamy. This adds to the breve’s distinctive texture.
Satisfying caffeine kick With its base of espresso shots, breve coffee provides a solid caffeine jolt.
Order at coffee shops Brevés are menu staples at coffee shops like Starbucks as well as local independent cafés.


The signature ingredients that go into a breve coffee are:

  • Espresso – The breve starts with a shot or shots of espresso made by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso forms the base and provides the strong coffee flavor.
  • Half & half – This blend of half milk and half cream is steamed and frothed to create the creamy texture. The higher fat content compared to milk gives it a richer, more velvety mouthfeel.
  • Sweeteners (optional) – Sugar, honey, flavored syrups can be added to balance and enhance the flavor. Sweeteners cut through the bitterness of the espresso.
  • Toppings (optional) – Whipped cream, chocolate shavings, cinnamon are popular additions that contribute extra flavor, aroma, and texture.

Some other key ingredients that can be used are:

Ingredient Details
Non-dairy milk Soy, almond, oat milk for dietary needs
Heavy cream Even higher fat content than half & half
Flavored syrups Vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, etc extra flavor
Cocoa powder For chocolatey taste
Cinnamon Warm spice flavor

The core espresso and steamed half & half are what define the breve, while other ingredients customize the flavor profile, sweetness, and mouthfeel.


Making a breve coffee involves just a few simple steps:

  • Brewing the espresso
  • Use a high-quality espresso machine and espresso roast coffee beans
  • Grind beans to a fine consistency specifically for espresso
  • Tamp grounds firmly and evenly in portafilter
  • Pull espresso shots – 1-2 shots depending on cup size
  • Steaming the half & half
  • Pour cold half & half into steam wand pitcher
  • Position wand tip just below the surface and turn on steam
  • Steam until hot and frothy but not overly foamed
  • Swirl pitcher to incorporate foam
  • Combining ingredients
  • Pour steamed half & half into cup
  • Slowly pour espresso on top
  • Gently stir to incorporate
  • Customizations
  • Add sweeteners and toppings as desired

The key steps are extracting the espresso well and steaming the half & half to create a rich, frothy texture. The ingredients can then be combined and customized to taste. Correct preparation brings out the best flavors and mouthfeel.

Taste and Texture

Taste and Texture, thick white coffee in a white cup with cinnamon

The signature taste and texture of a breve coffee comes from its key ingredients:

  • Strong espresso flavor
  • Prominent coffee taste from espresso
  • Bolder and more intense than lattes
  • Creamy, rich mouthfeel
  • Smooth, velvety texture
  • Half & half coats the tongue
  • Subtle sweetness
  • Enhances espresso without overpowering it
  • Frothy top layer
  • From steamed half & half
  • Visually appealing

Some other aspects of the breve’s taste and texture include:

  • Well-balanced flavor profile
  • Notes of chocolate and caramel
  • Low acidity and bitterness
  • Rich, indulgent mouthfeel
  • Satisfying, long finish

The breve coffee imparts a strong coffee flavor with a creamy and frothy texture. It is sweeter and more velvety than regular coffee drinks thanks to the signature use of steamed half & half instead of milk.


One of the best things about breve coffee is how customizable it is to match individual tastes and preferences:

  • Espresso
  • Single origin, blends, decaf
  • Affects flavor nuances
  • Milk
  • Non-dairy milks, heavy cream
  • For dietary needs
  • Sweeteners
  • Sugar, honey, flavored syrups
  • Cater to taste
  • Toppings
  • Cocoa, cinnamon
  • Extra flavor and texture

Some popular custom breve recipes include:

  • Caramel breve – caramel syrup, whipped cream
  • Mocha breve – chocolate syrup, cocoa powder
  • Pumpkin spice breve – pumpkin syrup, cinnamon

The core ingredients can be varied in many ways to create a unique breve suited to your preferences. Customizing the breve allows coffee lovers to make it their perfect coffee drink.


Drinking breve coffee offers several advantages:

  • Provides a creamy, indulgent treat
  • Satisfies cravings for something rich and sweet
  • Gives a caffeine boost
  • The espresso provides a jolt of energy
  • Lower in calories than many specialty drinks
  • Compared to blended, sugary coffee beverages
  • Endlessly customizable
  • Make it your own unique coffee drink

Some other key benefits of breve coffee include:

  • Velvety, frothy texture
  • More luxurious mouthfeel than regular coffee
  • Strong coffee flavor
  • For true coffee lovers
  • Subtle sweetness
  • Enhances the espresso
  • Fun to recreate specialty coffee shop drinks

With its indulgent taste and creamy texture, breve coffee is a delicious way to get your caffeine fix each morning. The drink can be customized to match your preferences, making it a satisfying choice for coffee enthusiasts.

Where to Order

There are two main options for enjoying a breve coffee:

Where to Order, coffee shops market people sitting outside on wooden chairs

  • Coffee shops
  • Major chains like Starbucks
  • Local independent cafes
  • Baristas use quality espresso and half & half
  • Make it at home
  • Invest in espresso machine and milk frother
  • Gives you control over ingredients used

Some tips for ordering a breve:

  • Specify single or double shot of espresso
  • Select your preferred milk or cream
  • Add any customizationssweeteners, flavors
  • Ask for an extra hot breve if drinking later

To make it at home, you’ll need:

  • Espresso machine or moka pot
  • Half & half or heavy cream
  • Optional: milk frother, flavors

With the right gear and ingredients, you can create café-quality breve coffees at home. But visiting a skilled barista can be a special coffee experience.


The breve coffee is a delicious twist on traditional coffee drinks that combines espresso with steamed half & half for a creamy and frothy texture. This use of half & half instead of regular milk gives the breve a richer, more indulgent mouthfeel.

Some key points about breve coffee:

  • Starts with quality espresso as the base
  • Half & half is steamed to create a velvety froth
  • Has a bold coffee flavor
  • Tastes sweeter than regular coffee
  • Highly customizable with flavors and toppings

Breves first emerged in Seattle’s coffee culture in the 1990s and were popularized by Starbucks. Now they are menu staples at coffee shops across America.

While similar to a cappuccino or latte, the breve offers a truly luxurious coffee experience thanks to its high fat content and frothy texture. Drizzled with caramel or mocha sauce, it makes for a delicious high-end coffee drink.

So for coffee lovers who want to indulge in a richer, creamier coffee drink that still packs a strong espresso punch, a breve is the perfect choice. Try this signature Seattle coffee treat at your local café or make your own breve at home.

Frequently Asked Questions about Breve Coffee

Q1. What exactly is a breve coffee?

A breve coffee is an espresso drink made with steamed half & half instead of regular milk. The use of half & half gives it a richer, creamier texture than a typical latte or cappuccino.

Q2. Where did breve coffee originate?

The breve coffee first emerged in the early 1990s in the coffee shops of Seattle. It was popularized when Starbucks added it to their menu. The concept reflects the innovative coffee culture of the Pacific Northwest.

Q3. How does a breve coffee differ from a latte?

A breve coffee contains half & half instead of regular milk. Half & half has a higher fat content, around 10-12%. This gives the breve a thicker, richer, and sweeter flavor compared to a regular latte made with 2% or nonfat milk.

Q4. What is the consistency and texture of a breve coffee?

A breve coffee has a very creamy, velvety texture. Steaming the half & half makes it frothy with a foamy layer on top. It coats the tongue more than regular steamed milk. The mouthfeel is indulgent and luxurious.

Q5. Does a breve coffee contain more calories than a latte?

Yes, a breve coffee generally contains more calories than a latte made with nonfat or low fat milk. The higher fat content of the half & half results in more calories per serving. But it provides a more satisfying, dessert-like coffee experience.

Q6. How can you customize a breve coffee?

Brevés can be customized with different types of milk, flavored syrups like caramel or mocha, and toppings like whipped cream or chocolate shavings. The options are endless for creating your perfect breve coffee.

Q7. Where can you order a breve coffee?

Breve coffee is offered at most coffee shops and cafés, especially major chains like Starbucks. You can also make it yourself at home with an espresso machine and milk frother.

Q8. Should a breve coffee be sweetened?

A breve coffee is usually not sweetened because the half & half provides a subtle sweetness. But you can add sugar, honey, flavored syrups, or other sweeteners to taste.

CEO at CoffeeLifious | simon@coffeelifious.com | Website | + posts

Simon is a coffee enthusiast who has spent years exploring the world of coffee. He has a deep passion for the art of brewing and enjoys experimenting with different brewing methods to create the perfect cup of coffee. His love for coffee has led him to become an expert in the field, and he is known for his meticulous attention to detail when it comes to selecting and brewing the perfect cup. Simon is also an avid traveler who loves incorporating new flavors and techniques into his brewing.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *