One of the most popular choices among these Americanized coffees is the Breve coffee, which is Italian for ‘short’. A Breve is like a latte, albeit with one key difference in the ingredient. But what exactly is in a latte? What’s the unique ingredient? This article will go over the basics of coffee names and teach you how to identify the differences between them. We’ll go over some American versions of these coffees, most prominently the Breve, but also the Americano, and what separates these from the traditional drinks that they were derived from. Lastly, we’ll also teach you how to make Breve at home and enjoy your own refreshing cup o’ joe.
In America, stepping into any cafe is bound to be followed by staring at a board full of various coffee names. Cappuccino, Espresso, Americano, Latte, on and on until perhaps several boards are filled with similar descriptors of the various ways coffee is prepared today. But have you ever wondered what is really the difference between all these Italian names? The US is one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world, and it has its own versions of several popular coffee beverages, like the ones mentioned above.
What is the Difference Between Popular Coffee Drinks?
Names like mocha, cappuccino, and lattes are a staple of cafes all around the world, but the differences between these drinks can often be subtle. Most of them are made with the same set of ingredients, just in different proportions. Drinks like the Caffe Breve too are largely similar to this family of coffee, but with one different ingredient. We’ll describe what some of the common beverages are made out of, and then outline what makes the Breve special.
Be sure to check out “5 Most Popular Coffee Drinks in America” to see more info about these popular American drinks.
All the names on this list contain espresso as their key ingredient, along with a dairy product like milk or cream, and foam. It is one of the most relied on beverages globally for getting the morning buzz to start your day. This is due to the heavy concentration of flavor in espressos. The easiest way to prepare one is to mix some powdered coffee with granulated sugar, and a little warm water, and sugar according to preference. Add some milk, and your espresso is ready.
Interested in making an espresso? Check out “How to Make the Perfect Espresso” for more.
Cappuccino translates literally to ‘little cap’, an appropriate name due to the cloud of foam sitting over the milk. In fact, most of a cappuccino is pure foam on top, with the base consisting of some espresso, with steamed milk on top. You can alter the ratio of steamed milk to foam depending on how you like your coffee, but the traditionally recommended ratio is 1/3d steamed milk to 2/3rds foam. As we’ll discuss, the latte, mocha, and Caffe Breve are very similar to cappuccinos. Also take a look at “How to Froth Milk for Cappuccinos” to see how to perfect that “tiny cap” on top.
This is one of the simplest coffees to make on this list. Normally preferred by those who like the strong flavor of espresso, an Americano is simply warm water added to the everyday espresso. One anecdote claims that the beverage was created as a result of the frustrations of World War II veterans, who simply couldn’t continue to drink coffee the European way, a continent that generally prefers the espresso. Regardless, Americanos are yet other examples of the States having adapted a drink to suit the palate of its population.
A latte is basically a cappuccino, but with the ratio of steamed milk and foam reversed. It’s milkier texture as compared to the foamy cappuccino has made lattes one of the most popular coffees to order across continents. Many lattes today are served with some flavor of whipped cream on top of the foam, and one can add literally anything to coffee. If you haven’t heard of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, you’re going to be able to try it very soon to see what we mean.
Take a look at “How to Make a Latte” to see how to prepare one at your house.
Mochas are yet another example of lattes with an additional flavor. In this case, that happens to be chocolate, which is mixed with the espressos before adding milk and foam, and cream is you so prefer. Check out “Most Popular Types of Latte Flavors” to see other types of drinks related to lattes.
Macchiatos may sound similar to mochas, but they’re actually pretty different. This one is perhaps the hardest to define because macchiatos can vary significantly depending on where you order one. Traditionally, a macchiato consists of espresso, with some milk foam on top. However, some recipes don’t require foam at all, and simply require adding steamed milk and espresso in the ratio of 4:1 to prepare a macchiato. Others say that the milk is used first, succeeded by the espresso and foam. As such, it might be worth checking with your barista regarding how the cafe makes their macchiatos to ensure you don’t end up with an unpleasant combination of ingredients.
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What’s So Special About the Cafe Breve?
A Caffe Breve, or simply Breve, is basically a latte, but with half and half instead of milk. Some even prefer to add heavy cream for the thicker texture. For the uninformed, half and half is simply half milk and half cream. This has the advantage that it helps make your beverages richer and heavier without loading up on the calories of cream. However, it does have approximately three or more times the fat of milk. The thickness of half and a half does mean that the extra fat is somewhat neutralized by the fact that one does not need to add sugar to their Breves, but the exchange is far from equal. It also has more cholesterol than the average coffee, though it is hard to say precisely how much given the variance in production methods between different coffeemakers.
Prepare an Espresso
Just like the mocha is a latte with chocolate, a popular alternative to Breves is the mocha Breve, which contains the same added ingredient, along with some optional whipped cream, and foam. Even without the added chocolate, Breves are normally consumed as with some dessert to compliment the sweetness of both the preparations, but they contain the same amount of caffeine as most of the coffees listed in the previous section. As such, if you can make up for the fat content, Breves can easily replace your morning java.
Making a Caffe Breve is fairly simple. Prepare an espresso by following the earlier description. You can add some sweetener or syrup depending on what you like to drink, at this stage. Mix the espresso and any added flavor with the steamed half and half or heavy cream, and pour the milked foam on top before serving. Done! Your Americanized latte is ready. For a mocha Breve, simply add some hot chocolate to the espresso before mixing it with half and half.
Also be sure to check out “6 Different Types of Espresso Drinks You Need to Try” or “Brew Guide: Espresso Coffee Machine” for more information regarding your espresso drink.
There are tens, perhaps even hundreds, of different coffee preparations that are enjoyed by many across the world today but didn’t find a mention on our list of beverages. We described some of the common coffees available in all cafes, and the subtle differences that are the secret behind the unique taste of each one of them.
The Caffe Breve is a uniquely American take on the traditional latte to give drinkers a creamier coffee with the same caffeine content. While the Americano dilutes the concentrated espresso, a Breve thickens the comparatively lighter milk of lattes. There are several ways to personalize your Breve to your preference. One can add chocolate, serve it iced, including flavoured syrups, or perform any number of other tricks to design the breve that is suited to you. If you follow our simple recipe, you can make your own cup in no time. Enjoy!
We’ll brew ya later!! ☕️