Caffe Breve is an espresso-based drink that’s made like a cappuccino, but with steamed half and half instead of milk. Try it if you want a decadently rich (but sugarless) espresso drink.
Origins of the Cafe Breve
This drink is an Americanized take on the classic Italian cafe latte, which is strictly milk-based. But caffe breve drinks tend to be more fluffy than the average latte made with standard milk, since steamed half-and-half increases the foam volume of an espresso beverage.
A caffe breve also has significantly more fat and cholesterol than lattes made with milk, even if the milk is whole milk rather than low-fat or non-fat. But many coffee drinkers find a cafe breve rich enough that they can go without adding any sweetener to it. It's typically served as a "dessert" beverage, but there are some who like it as their morning caffeine fix.
How to Make Espresso
Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso is generally thicker than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids, and has crema on top (a foam with a creamy consistency).
As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are very concentrated. Espresso is also the base for other drinks such as a caffè latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, or caffè Americano.
Espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most coffee beverages, but because the usual serving size is much smaller, the total caffeine content is less than a mug of standard brewed coffee, contrary to a common belief.
Although the actual caffeine content of any coffee drink varies by size, bean origin, roast method and other factors, the caffeine content of "typical" servings of espresso vs. drip brew are 120 to 170 mg vs.
150 to 200 mg.
Varieties of Espresso Drinks
Caffe Breve is the newest variety of espresso-based beverage, but it's far from the only one. In addition to the cafe latte, here are some of the more popular drinks with espresso as their main ingredient.
A cafe Americano is half espresso, half hot water. It's very close in consistency to a standard brewed coffee. Cafe mochas have espresso, steamed milk and chocolate, and are usually topped off with whipped cream. A cafe romano is a shot of espresso with a twist of lemon, and a cappuccino is espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.
A macchiato has a shot of espresso and a small bit of milk foam.