Breve vs Latte – What to know?

Photo of a breve coffee on the left and a latte on the right. Breve vs Latte.

You’re in good company if you find yourself confused when trying to discover the difference between a Breve vs Latte. Here’s what you need to know about the main differences between them.

If you order a Breve (a shortened form of café breve), you’ll get a drink that combines one part espresso to three parts half-and-half. It sometimes will be topped with milk foam on top, depending on where you get it from. If you order a Latte, you’ll get a drink combining one part espresso to three parts steamed milk and topped with milk foam.

The critical difference between the two is that a Breve uses half-and-half, and a Latte uses steamed milk. However, there are more differences to know, including taste, personalization, and caffeine!

What is a Breve? 

This kind of drink is growing in popularity. It contains espresso, half-and-half, and sometimes will have milk foam on it. The ratio is one part espresso to three parts half-and-half. Some find that a Breve is better with a double shot of espresso since it brings out that coffee flavor even more.

Those who make authentic drinks tend to opt for a double shot of espresso and only a slight bit of milk foam. No one knows whether traditional Breves came with milk foam or not! 

Fun Fact:

Breve refers to a type of milk rather than the type of coffee itself. That’s why the full title is caffe Breve.

What is a Latte?

A Latte is a trendy drink worldwide, as you likely already know! This contains espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. Like a Breve, a Latte has a 1:3 ratio of espresso and steamed milk. The milk foam is expected on top of the Latte since this is where the now infamous latte art comes from!

Traditional Lattes are made with one shot of espresso, but you can request two shots if you want a stronger coffee flavor.

Breve vs. Latte key differences

Now that you know a bit about these two drinks, let’s get more in detail so that you can really appreciate their similarities and differences and look at the best one for you and your tastebuds.


Many people assume that both a Breve and a Latte come from Italy. Since Italy is known for strong and rich coffee drinks, this is a very understandable assumption. There is some debate, though, over a Breve’s origin. While Italy’s roots are the consensus, others feel a Breve actually came from France.

Most of it comes from the disagreement of when half-and-half was introduced to each culture since this makes up this signature drink!


As you can guess, there will be a few distinctions between the ingredients for a Breve and the ingredients for a Latte.

A Breve keeps it pretty simple with the single or double shot of espresso topped with half-and-half. Milk foam on top of that is optional, though it does add a bit of extra creaminess to the drink.

A Latte has a single espresso shot with steamed milk. There is always milk foam on top of a Latte, and you might even get to see some art on it, too! It’s not uncommon to play around with flavor shots in Lattes, though, so you’ll have your choice of those to add something a bit different to the milky drink!

Brewing process

The brewing process of a Breve and a Latte is pretty similar. You brew the espresso into the cup, then pour the half-and-half or the steamed milk, respectively, on top. You can then add the milk foam if you want.

The only difference in the brewing process will be if you add a double espresso to a Breve.


A Breve and a Latte will come in at one2 oz (three54 ml) for their serving size. This combines 4 oz (oneone8 ml) of espresso with 8 oz (2three7 ml) of half-and-half or steamed milk. The milk foam on top tends to line the rim of the serving cup!

You can get them larger, too, if you go with a double espresso in either choice and/or a flavor shot in a Latte.


There’s a lot of variety in the taste between the two drinks, though they often look very similar to each other. This is my favorite part of understanding the main differences between these drinks!

A Breve is going to be a creamy, rich drink. This is from the half-and-half, of course. I also find that it has a really strong coffee taste to it. This is because the half-and-half tends to draw out the coffee taste. I’ve had it with and without the milk foam. The foam adds extra texture to the Breve, which is neat. 

A Latte, in comparison, is going to be thinner. The steamed milk gives it richness, but it’s lighter than the Breve. This one tastes milkier because it relies on lightweight steamed milk rather than the half-and-half. I also found that a Latte tastes sweeter. This is from the steaming of the milk. The coffee flavor isn’t quite as strong in a Latte, but it’s still enough to enjoy a nice mix in your tastebuds.

Is a Breve or a Latte stronger?

Flavor-wise, as I mentioned, a Breve will be a stronger coffee flavor. A Latte will be noticeably lighter, milkier, and slightly sweeter to the tastebuds. The caffeine content will depend primarily on whether you get a single shot or a double shot of espresso! If you go authentic, a Breve will be stronger in taste and espresso than a Latte.

Calories in a Breve vs. a Latte

I figured that half-and-half would add some calories to a Breve, but I was really surprised at the difference between the drinks, specifically with calorie count! A Breve will have between 300-350 calories, whereas a Latte will have between 150-200 calories. That half-and-half really packs a punch, doesn’t it?!

This is something to think about seriously if you are trying to lose or gain weight! It doesn’t mean that you can’t ever enjoy a Breve if you’re calorie counting, but just be mindful of how many you have at a time.

Is a Breve or a Latte sweeter?

This is a judgment question, for the most part, but here are my thoughts. A Breve is going to be sweeter as far as the overall sugar content. Since half-and-half has sugar added to the mix, it will have a higher sugar content. 

In fact, The Spruce Eats explains that a Breve is often served as a dessert for this exact reason!

That being said, a Latte tastes sweeter, which surprises many who compare the two directly and compare their ingredients. As I mentioned before, this is due to steamed milk’s use!

Is a Breve or a Latte healthier?

If you’ve been following along, you probably already know the answer to this: a Latte will be the healthier choice regarding calories and sugar content. After all, if a Breve can be considered a dessert, it makes a lot of sense that a Latte would be the better health-related choice!

Fun Fact:

The healthiest form of coffee, if you’re looking for the best choice, is coffee served black.

Is a Breve or a Latte better?

Choosing which drink is better is all about taking personal preference into account. If you are someone who enjoys a strong coffee flavor, a Breve is going to be delicious and rich and very coffee-flavored. A Latte will probably be your best choice if you enjoy a strong milky taste blended with the coffee taste. 

That being said, the only way to know for sure what you prefer is to go ahead and try both! For the best results, go to specialty coffee shops that know how to make each drink authentically and try them as they were originally intended. From there, go wild when exploring milk foam, flavor shots, and substitutions.

Exploring the fun, delicious, rich world of coffee is about understanding what you’re ordering. This is your stop for exploring the differences between a Breve and a Latte!

A Breve contains one part espresso with three parts half-and-half. A Latte uses one part espresso with three parts steamed milk. A Breve only has milk foam sometimes, whereas a Latte has milk foam most, if not all, of the time. Breves have a distinctive coffee taste, while Lattes can be milky in flavor and are perfect for experimenting with flavor shots. Understanding which you like most is all about your taste profile!

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Robert Knowlton is an expert barista with more than 15 years of experience. Robert's main goal is to make sure everyone can enjoy the perfect cup of coffee regardless of their skill level.