A breve is a creamy Americanized version of the Italian café latte, using half-and-half cream instead of milk. Although it’s an espresso-based drink, a breve is fluffier than other coffee drinks because half-and-half increases the foam and of course, the fat content. In Italian, breve means “short,” and it’s typically served as a “dessert” beverage. It’s typically rich enough that it doesn’t need any sweetener, but you can always add whatever you like. Whether you’re kicking your day into drive, requiring an afternoon energizer, or desiring an after-dinner finale, a breve is an easy selection.
If you’re curious about how to pronounce it, “breh veh” is the correct way. “Breev” is something completely different.
We’ll show you how to make a breve with minimal tools in about 10 minutes. It requires espresso, so use whichever method you find handiest. For this recipe, we’ll be using a Moka pot. You’ll also need a way to froth milk, as well as a whisk. Additionally, if you want to make enough to share, just double the recipe!
Finely ground coffee
Milk frothing tool or whisk
Spoon or measuring cup
1/2 cup half-and-half (about 4 ounces)
2 ounces espresso (2 shots)
Prepping the Creamer
For a microwave:
Place half-and-half in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave, uncovered, on high until hot, with slight bubbles along the edges (approx. one minute).
Remove from microwave and whisk earnestly. You can do this by placing the whisk between your palms and rolling it back and forth.
As foam forms, gently scoop it into another cup. Continue whisking until you have about 1/3 cup of foam.
For a milk steamer:
You can steam and froth half-and-half at 145 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Froth and allow it to set while you make the espresso.
Preparing the Espresso
Pull your shot with the method available to you. Here, we’re using a Moka pot.
Using a Moka pot:
Fill the bottom section with water up to the safety release valve. Place finely ground coffee, whether pre-ground or after grinding beans, into the filter. (Here, we used Lavazza Super Crema whole beans and ground them finely.) Place filter into the bottom section, and then attach the top section.
Place on stove and turn to medium heat. Once your espresso is brewed and ready, remove from heat.
In this step, you’ll add the espresso to your coffee mug. Then, slowly pour in the warmed half-and-half. If you didn’t set aside the foam, just hold it back with a spoon while you pour the creamer into the espresso. Spoon the saved foam on top. To add extra flair, sprinkle the top with cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, or any other topping that you like.
Delicious decadence at your beckoning!
For those who may be unable to use a dairy-based creamer, using full-fat coconut milk will get you a comparable foam texture. If you love your coffee a little sweeter, add your desired flavored syrup or other sweetener into the espresso before pouring it into the mug. As with any recipe, adjust to your liking, whether it’s more or less milk or a different roast of coffee. We’ve just given you a basic guideline, so run with it and make it your own!