Caffè Breve vs Latte: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated: by: Amanda T

breve vs latte

A latte is a basic espresso beverage that we commonly hear about and see on coffee shop menus. A less common beverage to see on a menu is a caffe breve. It actually goes by two different names: breve latte or caffe breve. Whatever you call it, when it’s compared to the classic latte there are some similarities, but these drinks also contrast in many ways. Read on to find out what makes them different.

Latte Basics

Let’s start with an espresso beverage you’re familiar with: a latte. To make a classic latte you need two simple ingredients, espresso, and steamed milk. A latte starts with the espresso shots, and then a large amount of steamed milk is added, often with a small layer of foam on top.

Lattes can be served in sizes varying from six to 20 ounces, so you can have as much or as little of it as you prefer. The latte has a smooth texture and a lot of espresso flavor without being overpowering, thanks to the milk. The best part is, lattes can have a variety of flavors added, like hazelnut or caramel, to make them just right for you.


Image credit: Takeaway. Wikimedia

Caffè Breve Basics

This drink is actually an Americanized version of the Italian cappuccino. It is just as simple as a latte, because it too only has two ingredients. It is an espresso-based drink that is made with half and half instead of milk. The half and half is frothed very well and added to the espresso to make a caffe breve. This higher amount of aeration means the beverage contains a large volume of foam, just like a cappuccino. It has a thicker and fluffier consistency than a latte would. It also tastes creamier than a latte.

caffe breve

Highlighting the Differences

Lattes and Caffe breves are similar drinks, but with one important difference: the dairy product used. This is followed by a few other technique differences that cause the two drinks to taste different.

  • Half and half is used in a caffe breve, while lattes usually use 2% or whole milk.
  • The half and half is frothed for a longer amount of time than the milk in a latte.
  • A caffe breve has a high volume of thick foam that a latte doesn’t have.
  • Caffe breve tastes more decadent and creamy than a latte.
  • Lattes have a smooth heavy mouthfeel, while a caffe breve has a fluffier texture.