Breve vs. Mocha: What’s the Difference?

As we continued our journey through coffee, we landed on these two fascinating beverages. Mocha, one that I consider an entry-level for coffee, due to its chocolate flavor that reduces the bitterness of commercial coffee, and breve coffee, a more complex drink with its creamy silk texture. Anyone will note that our two selections today are indeed delicious and rich espresso variants. 

A breve is a mixture of espresso and a steamed half-and-half mix of whole milk and light cream or (heavy cream). Meanwhile, mocha is an espresso mixed with chocolate syrup and milk. However, both mocha and breve are espresso-based lattes. You can enjoy both iced or hot versions of the two latte drinks. 

This blog will closely look at these two unique drinks’ nuances and what makes each one unique. We will also share recipes to make mocha and breve that you can try at home (if you feel brave) and the two drinks’ health implications. So, let us stick together and continue our journey into exploring coffee with these two deliciously flavored drinks.

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

What are the Significant Differences between Latte Breve and Mocha Latte

As I stated early on in the introduction, mocha latte and latte breve both have espresso in them. The mocha and breve are also drinks that one can easily make in the comfort of their home. So what are the factors unique to each of these drinks? Mocha latte requires coffee, and latte breve requires a half-and-half mix.

Mocha Latte

  • Chocolate syrup as its main content
  • Numerous possibilities for alternatives to modify the original mocha latte
  • Complete steamed whole milk for its latte portion
  • If you include cream in a mocha latte, it will be for decoration, usually as whipped cream.

Breve Coffee

  • It requires a steamed half-and-half light cream and whole milk mixture.
  • It has fewer alternative modifications at the moment.
  • The latte breve requires cream.
  • Its whole milk content is half that of a Caffe mocha.
  • The milk and cream ratio is 50:50
  • If you include chocolate syrup, it will be for decoration.

What is a Coffee Mocha?

Mocha, coffee mocha, Caffe mocha, or mocha latte is another category of customizable coffee (latte), and it is exactly like any regular latte with an addition of chocolate syrup.

Unlike most popular coffee variants, it has its roots in America rather than in Italy. In the American culture, caffe latte started booming in the 1980s from Seattle, and the mocha latte became popular not too long after.

The inspiration for Caffe mocha is from Bicerin, which is an Italian native hot coffee beverage. However, the distinguishing factor between mocha and espresso is the layering. In Bicerin, you layer the espresso, milk, and chocolate carefully on top of each other. Meanwhile, in a mocha latte, you mix all three components.

Should You Be Drinking a Coffee Mocha?

Coffee mocha, with its calorie content, is one of Starbuck’s unhealthiest drinks. Its chocolate content indicates its need for a lot of sugar and fat. Having a white chocolate mocha will leave you taking more syrup than espresso. Having an iced skinny mocha is a better and healthier option because the sweetener they use is sucralose. 

Characteristic Content of a Starbucks Grande Sized Mocha LatteWhite Chocolate MochaCaffe MochaIced Skinny Mocha
Calorie content430360120
Fat content18 g14 g1.5 g
Sugar content53 g35 g8 g
Milk percentage2%2%0%
Whipped cream present?yesyesno

Based on this table’s values, whipped cream contributes a lot to the number of calories present in a mocha latte. Therefore, if you want to reduce the calorie content, you can ask them to remove the whipped cream from your order.

Another option is to have your Caffe mocha on a less regular schedule than usual because the chocolate syrup is also very sweet.

How to Make a Coffee Mocha?

The steps to making a regular latte and Caffe mocha are very similar. If you have an espresso machine and the other equipment at home, the process would be more straightforward and comfortable. I categorized the procedure for making a mocha latte into four steps, which are as follows.

Step One: Gather and Measure Your Ingredients

The ingredients you will need are:

Ingredients and MaterialsMeasurement
Ground Espresso16.5 grams
Steamed Milk8 oz
Latte cup10-12 oz
Chocolate Syrup½ oz  or three teaspoons

Now you need to gather your ingredients and supplies. Grind the 16.5 g of espresso and place it in your machine’s filter. Pour the chocolate syrup directly into the latte cup.

Step Two: Extract the Expresso

You will need to extract two expresso shots onto the chocolate syrup in the latte cup. Typically, the temperature of the espresso will warm the chocolate syrup up to create a nice mixture. After extracting the espresso, you will need to ensure the two flavors blend well together by mixing them.

Step Three: Steam the Milk

Although this is the third step on my list, you will have to do it simultaneously with the second step. So, while your espresso is still brewing, you can start steaming the milk. If you hear a sound like someone tearing paper, it shows that air is blending well with the milk to foam adequately. Around 165℉ or when the pitcher is too hot to touch, the steaming is complete.

Step Four: Pour and Decorate 

After steaming the milk, you can pour it on the espresso chocolate mix. It should have a thin foam layer on top. If you feel like, you can decorate your Caffe mocha anyhow you like. Some suggestions for decoration are:

  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon
  • Milk
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Nutmeg
  • Sprinkles  

How Much Caffeine is There in a Coffee Mocha?

Due to the additional caffeine from chocolate, the caffeine content of a mocha latte is quite much. I will give thee caffeine measurements based on Starbucks’ Caffe mochas and Flavored mocha lattes.

SizeCaffeine content (mg)
Short90 mg
Tall 90 mg
Grande175 mg
Venti180 mg

Possible Modifications of a Coffee Mocha

Just like its progenitor drink, the latte, a Caffe mocha, has a lot of variety. You can customize it by changing ingredients or preparation methods. At the end of the day, the outcome will be a tasty latte filled with silky chocolatey goodness. So what are the most common changes you can make in your mocha latte?

White or Dark Chocolate Syrup

A standard mocha latte requires milk chocolate as its main ingredient. However, there are two other types of chocolate syrup that can be on your list:

  • White chocolate syrup
  • Dark chocolate syrup

All of them have slight nuances in taste. The white chocolate syrup is sweeter, and the dark chocolate syrup is slightly bitter. If you aren’t sure or want a chocolate overload, you can go for the marble mocha latte, combining all three chocolate types.

The next time the barista asks you if you prefer a white or dark mocha, I hope you can answer boldly without hesitation.

Using Cocoa Powder to Substitute for Chocolate Syrup

When you add cocoa powder to your mocha latte, you can regulate the amount of chocolate that enters your coffee. If you have leftover packs of hot chocolate mix or a can of cocoa powder at home, you can enjoy it with your Caffe mocha in numerous ways.

Substituting the Type of Coffee

If you happen not to have an espresso machine at home, drip coffee will also work. When making your mocha with drip coffee, aim for a medium roast, french roast, or dark roast. Afterward, enjoy your mocha latte by combining the finished drip coffee with steamed milk and chocolate syrup.

Iced Mocha Latte

One of the best parts of a Caffe mocha is that you can ice it. On a hot sunny day, to avoid a heatstroke from taking hot coffee, you can mix the mocha latte to get an iced version. After extracting the espresso and combining it with chocolate syrup, you replace the steamed milk with cold milk and pour some ice to enjoy an iced mocha latte.

Using Chocolate Milk with Your Espresso

If you want to avoid using chocolate syrup or cocoa powder when making your mocha latte, you can substitute chocolate-flavored milk. You can also use it during desperate times when all you need is a cup of mocha latte to make your day. Instead of using chocolate syrup, you mix the espresso with chocolate milk that contains both the chocolate and milk needed to make a good cup of latte.

What is Breve Coffee?

Breve coffee, breve, Caffe breve, or latte breve is an American variant of the Italian cappuccino. It got its name from the Italian translation for short, concise, little, or brief since that is how it should be.

Preparing the latte breve makes it have a creamier and more decadent flavor than a traditional latte. It also shows hints of sweetness from the half-and-half mix. You cannot whip the half-and-half, but it gives your espresso a creamy feel without the heaviness of cream alone. 

The classic signature of a latte breve is the half-and-half mix. It could be in the form of cappuccino, Caffe mocha, or latte as long as the milk content gets replaced with the cream-milk mix. If you do not inform your barista in advance, your breve coffee will not come sweetened.

Should You Be Taking Latte Breves?

When being practical, you will observe that a latte breve isn’t a healthy option because of its calorie count and cholesterol levels. It is best to save your breve coffee for a special occasion to avoid a calorie excess. However, what you take and your preferences are entirely up to you.

The latte breve has a high-calorie count and cholesterol level is because of two main reasons:

  1. Half-and-half does not double in size when you froth it, unlike whole milk. So, it will require a larger quantity for maximal volume.
  2. All the milk and cream content combined with the potential to replace light cream with heavy cream increases the fat percentage up to 18%. And the elevation leads to a calorie increase since fats provide nine calories per gram.

The iced variant will contain fewer calories since it has less milk content due to ice cubes present. Therefore, when looking for a healthier choice that you can enjoy daily, a regular latte is a better choice.

How to Differentiate a Latte and Breve

The latte is the most common coffee variant between these two, with seemingly unending possibilities for variation. Both latte and breve coffee require espresso. However, the main difference between these two drinks is the type of cream or milk one uses. 

With a regular latte, the addition is steamed whole milk. However, a latte breve requires a steamed half-and-half, a combination of whole milk and light cream in a 50:50 ratio.

How to Make a Breve Coffee?

If you plan to make your breve coffee at home, a few things to note are:

  • Warm or room temperature milk will not foam properly, so your milk must be straight out of the fridge and ice cold.
  • A thermometer will help you when making your breve coffee better.
  • A nice fade from espresso to milk implies success.
  • A heat of 160℉ is your best aim to avoid burning your milk-cream mix.
  • If you fill a cup with ice cubes and use a cold half-and-half combination, you can get an iced breve latte.

Step One: Steaming the Half-and-half

Place a steam wand just below the half-and-half. The aim is to hear a hissing noise and see a whirling motion that slightly increases the milk’s size and indicates a creamy combination. However, it shouldn’t make thick bubbles. When the temperature reaches approximately 140℉, cut the mixture from the steam wand.

Step Two: Espresso Preparation

Make a shot of espresso or more, depending on your preferred drink strength.

Step Three: Pouring the Half-and-half

Separate the foam from the steamed milk, pour the steamed milk into a coffee mug, and then pull the foam in with your spoon (avoid scooping). 

Step Three: Pouring the Espresso

Pour the espresso into the milk as slowly as possible. Since the half-and-half mix is thick with air, the espresso can float for a few seconds. 

How Much Caffeine is in a Coffee Breve?

Most coffee breve flavors have similar caffeine content to the mocha latte; however, the 911 latte breve has double the caffeine content. According to Dutch Bros, the caffeine content of different coffee breve flavors are:

Latte Breve Drink TypeThe caffeine content in 12 fl oz (mg)The caffeine content in 16 fl oz (mg)
All flavors of breve93.5 mg93.5 mg
911 breve280.5 mg280.5 mg


The Caffe mocha and latte breve are excellent coffee drinks that one should try in their lifetime and drink with moderation. They have a perfectly smooth taste and quite a rich coffee flavor. The methods of brewing the espresso and preparing every stage may vary per person, so along with the coffee beans, milk brand, chocolate syrup brand, and more, they have the tendency to change the taste of both drinks slightly. Either of these coffee drinks is an excellent choice when you visit your favorite cafe. 


Charlie McFarlane

Specialty Coffee Enthusiast. Hungry for knowledge in the art and science behind specialty coffee and decided to document my journey, sharing it with the public. +10 baristas interviewed. +20 farms toured across 5 countries. +75 Coffee Shops throughout 10 countries.

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