If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you are probably pretty familiar with Lattes. With the Caffe Breve becoming more popular, you might be wondering what the difference is. Although both of these drinks may look similar, there are definitely a few key differences between them.
What’s a Latte?
The Café Latte is probably more familiar to you than the Caffe Breve, as it is on the menu in almost every coffee shop. It originated in Italy after espresso was invented.
It is known for its smooth texture and its taste. This is because it is made of only espresso, steamed milk, and a little bit of milk foam. Although it is usually made with 2% or whole milk, you can use any kid of milk to make a Latte.
And, if you want it to have a more unique flavor, you can also add flavored syrup to for a different taste. You are probably familiar with some of these flavors, since a lot of the Lattes in Starbucks use flavored syrup.
It is usually made with a single or a double shot of espresso; the number of espresso shots you use only depends on how strong you want the coffee to be. It is served in varying sizes; anywhere from 6 to 20 fluid ounces.
What’s a Caffè Breve?
The easiest way to describe the Caffe Breve is as an American version of the Latte, which, as stated before, is originally from Italy. This is because they use very similar ingredients, and are made with an almost identical process.
Like the Latte, it is made with espresso, usually 1 to 2 shots depending on what strength you want. However, a first main differences is that the Caffe Breve is made with steamed half and half instead of milk.
Because of this, it also has half and half foam on top, instead of milk foam. It is typically made with a lot of half and half foam, much more than the milk foam that is present in a Latte. Half and half is a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream, and has a 10 to 12% fat content.
Because of this, using half and half gives the Caffe Breve a creamy texture. It is typically a dessert coffee, since the half and half also sweetens it.
If you see the word “Breve” alongside another type of coffee, it just means that the milk has been exchanged for half and half. If there is not another type of coffee next to it, keep in mind that a Caffe Breve can also sometimes just be called a Breve.
Caffè Breve vs Latte
The main difference between the Caffè Breve and the Latte is the dairy product: the Caffe Breve uses half and half, and the Latte uses milk. Because half and half is made of milk and cream, the Caffe Breve is usually creamier and richer than the Latte, almost more like a Cappucino.
The Caffe Breve is also fluffier, because the half and half increases the foam volume. This increase in volume also explains why the Caffe Breve seems to have a lot more foam on top than the Latte does.
The Caffe Breve also has more fat and cholesterol than the Latte because of its dairy product. Also because of the half and half, the Caffe Breve is sweeter and has a stronger coffee taste, since less half and half is used.
The Latte, on the other hand, is more milky, and also has a less strong coffee taste because of the strength of the taste of the milk.
In terms of how they look, they are pretty similar, because they use almost the same ingredients. However, the half and half does make the Caffe Breve look a little different than the Latte. The thickness of the half and half makes it so that the cream is a little bit more separated from the espresso.
Thus, when you look at a Caffe Breve, it looks kind of layered, almost like a dry cappuccino. The layering is pretty easy to see, since there is a clear difference between foam and coffee coloring. The Latte, however, is layerless, since the milk is mixed with the espresso and since it has a thinner foam layer.
One similarity between them is that they are both 1/4 espresso. However, the rest of their components differentiate them again. The Caffe Breve is 1/4 espresso, 1/2 steamed half and half, and 1/4 half and half froth, since the half and half increases foam volume, as said before.
The Latte is 1/4 espresso, 3/4 steamed milk, and then is only topped with a little bit of milk froth, as the milk does not have much of a volume. At some coffee shops, your Latte might also come with Latte art in the milk foam.
They are also both usually served hot, although Iced Lattes have been growing in popularity.
How to Make Them
Making a Latte and making a Caffe Breve is a pretty similar process. For both of these drinks, you have to make sure that you are using an ice cold dairy product; milk for a Latte, half and half for a Caffe Breve. If it is not cold like this, it will not create the foam correctly.
For both of these drinks, you should be using freshly and finely ground coffee beans, as this will make the drinks more authentic, and thus make them taste better. In addition to this, having an espresso machine with a steam wand will make the process easier for both drinks.
For making the Caffe Breve, you should warm your half and half using a steam wand, until it is around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, put the steam wand just beneath the surface of the steamed half and half to make the foam.
After this is done, set the half and half and foam aside, and brew 1 to 2 shots of espresso, depending on how strong you want your coffee. After this is done, put the espresso into a mug. Then, hold back the foam using a spoon, and pour the steamed half and half into the espresso. Finally, pull the half and half foam on top of your coffee. If the Caffe Breve is not sweet enough for you, you can put in a little bit of sweetener.
Making a Latte is almost the same process. You are first going to warm up your milk using a steam wand. Then, you are going to make milk foam just like you would with a Caffe Breve, holding the steam wand just below the surface of the milk.
Once this is done, make 1 or 2 shots of espresso. One difference here is that once your espresso is in your cup, you can now put in a small amount of flavored syrup if you want your Latte to have a different taste.
Next, just hold back the milk foam and pour the steamed milk into the coffee. Just like with the Breve, pull the milk foam onto the coffee, and you are done. Like the Caffe Breve, you can put some sweetener into the Latte now if you want it to be sweeter.