Most everyone has a signature coffee order — unless you're prone to beverage experimentation, it's likely you know exactly what you're going to order before you get to the counter. "Small vanilla latte with oat milk." "Large iced caramel macchiato." Maybe the order takes you 30 seconds to explain, maybe you're just "coffee, black." But if recent coffees have felt a little lackluster and you want to elevate your morning espresso routine, it might be time to branch out and try a breve.
The breve, which means "short" or "brief" in Italian, is an Americanized version of a cafe latte and, as far as espresso drinks go, is quite simple. There isn't a huge difference between a breve and a latte. Whereas a latte is made with espresso and steamed milk, a breve is made with steamed half-and-half. The milk-and-cream mixture creates a richer, fluffier drink with a velvety texture. Even without any sugary flavors added, it's often enjoyed as a dessert drink. But the drink is creamy and lavish without being too heavy or sweet, so it can easily become your go-to morning cup too.
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Start Steaming For The Fuller Flavor
Although coffee has a long history, espresso didn't gain popularity until the 19th or 20th century after Italian inventor Angelo Moriondo created the first espresso machine in 1884, cutting coffee brewing times down to 30 seconds through steam and pressure. The history of the classic latte began later in the 20th century, and the breve likely didn't appear until the 1960s or '70s in the U.S. Its exact origins are murky, but the drink attained popularity both when half-and-half became common and specialty espresso drinks were growing in demand. Even though the breve is a recent invention, the world quickly caught on to its deliciousness.
For those equipped for espresso brewing at home, the breve isn't too hard to make yourself — though it may require a little more care and time than a latte. You can get half-and-half at the grocery store, but you can also make your own by mixing equal parts milk and heavy cream. Once the half-and-half is ready to go, it's time to get steaming. The higher fat content in half-and-half means that you'll need to aerate it more than milk to get the delicious, fluffy foam layer.
Aerating, which is also called "stretching" in the coffee world, means to introduce air into the dairy. With a steamer wand, aerating is done by holding the wand close to the surface of the milk — or in this case, half-and-half. Alternate between keeping the wand near the surface for a few seconds and submerging it halfway into the half-and-half until you create the right amount of foam.
Perfecting Your Espresso Brewing
Foamy, steamed half-and-half is an essential part of the breve experience, but properly brewed espresso is foundational — and there are a few mistakes to avoid when brewing espresso at home. Make sure that your beans are fresh, and use whole beans. Pre-ground coffee tends to lose flavor because it's more exposed to oxygen than whole coffee beans. When you've got the coffee beans, grind them to the correct size for espresso. Espresso needs finely ground coffee beans or the water will pass through the grounds too quickly and produce coffee that's too weak.
Coffee beans are just one part of the equation. Elevate your espresso by turning off the tap — tap water can impart its own impurities and flavor imperfection in your cup. Using filtered tap water is ideal, and lets the espresso's flavor take center stage. You don't need to become an espresso expert, but with an espresso drink like a breve, you won't want any distraction from the lavish texture and rich flavor.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.