What is a Breve?
A Breve is a hot coffee drink that combines bold espresso and steamed half-and-half. It has a light layer of half-and-half milk foam on top.
Most espresso drinks are made with whole milk or reduced fat milk, but a breve, also called a Caffè Breve, is something different.
The milk is replaced with richer half-and-half.
The high fat content in the half-and-half is what gives a breve its signature creaminess.
Made from equal parts whole milk and heavy cream, the amount of fat in half-and-half ranges from 10.5% to 18%.
For comparison, most espresso drinks, like lattes, macchiatos and cappuccinos, are made with reduced-fat milk (2% fat) or whole milk (3.25% fat).
Additionally, sweetener is not usually added to a breve since steaming the half-and-half brings out its natural sweetness.
You might be wondering about the name, Breve.
Breve translates to “short” in Italian.
Since the volume of aerated half-and-half is shorter than regular steamed milk, the name, “Breve” makes sense.
Breve vs Latte
Both a breve and a latte are espresso-based drinks with steamed dairy.
However, there is one key difference between these coffeehouse classics—the type of dairy milk.
Basically, a breve is akin to a typical American latte, except it’s made with half-and-half in place of whole or reduced fat milk.
The result is, breve coffee has a more velvety sip.
However, there is a trade-off for calorie-counters.
Half-and-half has more than double the calories of whole milk!
What does breve mean at Starbucks?
At most coffeeshops, Breve or Caffè Breve is the name of an espresso-based latte that’s made with half and half.
Take a look at the list of milk options on the Starbucks app to see what I mean.
Nestled in the list, between Almond and Coconut, is the option to pick “Breve (Half & Half).”
Do you remember when baristas used to handwrite drink orders on cups?
The proper cup marking code for half and half was a “B” in the milk box.
Now you know why!
How to Get a Breve Coffee at Starbucks
Starbucks baristas are not trained in coffee terminology, besides what’s on the menu.
And the list of espresso drinks offered at Starbucks does not specifically include a Breve.
Since there is no such thing as a Caffè Breve on the Starbucks menu, “breve” means one thing to most baristas—half & half.
One look at this Reddit thread about ordering a breve at Starbucks and getting a cup of steamed milk sans espresso, showcases the confusion.
One would hope a barista would ask for clarification if they think someone wants a grande cup of steamed half & half, but since they might not, it’s best to order like this:
At Starbucks, ask for a breve in conjunction with the name of a drink. Don’t just ask for a breve. For instance, order a breve latte or breve cappuccino.
How to Order from the Barista
To get a Breve at Starbucks ask for a “Breve Latte,” “Breve Caffè Latte” or a “Caffè Latte with half & half.”
The standard milk in Starbucks espresso drinks, except flat whites, is 2% reduced fat dairy milk.
So getting a Breve Latte at Starbucks is merely substituting one milk for another.
Keep in mind, there’s an upcharge for half & half, but you can get it for free if you have enough Starbucks Rewards Stars.
For a breve latte with more espresso and less dairy, order an 8-ounce short latte with 2-3 shots of espresso.
In addition to a Breve Caffè Latte, you can order any espresso drink breve at Starbucks, such as a Breve Cappuccino, Breve Espresso Macchiato or even a Breve Caramel Macchiato.
How to Order with the Starbucks App
To order a Breve Latte using the Starbucks app, all you have to do is make one modification to a Caffè Latte.
- Go to Hot Coffees.
- Pick Caffè Latte and select a one of Starbucks drink sizes: short, tall, grande or venti.
- In the Milk box switch 2% Milk to Breve (Half & Half).
Caffeine in a Starbucks Breve Latte
- Short (8 fl. oz.): 75 milligrams
- Tall (12 fl. oz.): 75 milligrams
- Grande (16 fl. oz.) 150 milligrams
- Venti (20 fl. oz.) 150 milligrams
A Breve at Starbucks has the same amount of caffeine as a regular Caffè Latte made with Starbucks signature espresso roast.
Notice, the caffeine content is the same in a short and tall, as well as a grande and venti.
This is because the two smaller size are made with a single shot of espresso, and a grande and venti each get a double shot.
Take a look at this: Caffeine in Starbucks Lattes (Every Size, Hot & Iced), for even more inside information.
For extra caffeine in your Starbucks drink, switch the roast to blonde which has 10 more milligrams per shot, or add-in more shots of espresso.
One word of caution, however, bold dark roast espresso stands up to all the cream in a breve coffee better than smooth blonde roast.