Coffee Drinks: What is a Red Eye Coffee

What is a Red Eye Coffee?

There are many different coffees, but one you may never have heard of before is Red Eye Coffee. Let’s dive in and tell you exactly what is a Red Eye Coffee.

We’ll go over everything from the history of the Red Eye Coffee drink and how to make it—detailing its flavor notes and listing other variations of the coffee.

One shot of espresso

Red Eye vs. Black Eye – What’s the Difference 

Along with a Red Eye, you’ll commonly hear another drink similar to it, a Black Eye Coffee. The difference between these two types of beverages is their amount of espresso.

A traditional Red Eye Coffee has one shot of espresso, and a Black Eye has two shots. Double the amount of espresso to give you more energy when needed. Read our article and find out How Many Ounces is a Shot of Espresso?

Other Eye Coffees

On top of Red Eye vs. Black Eye, there are other types of coffee beverages with eyes in their name. These names include Dead Eye and Lazy Eye variations.

A Dead Eye consists of three espresso shots—possibly the most potent variation of the Red Eye. Then there is the Lazy Eye, made with decaf instead of regular coffee.

What’s in a Red Eye Coffee? 

What’s in a Red Eye Coffee is just two types of coffee mixed to form the drink. You put a traditional drip coffee together with a shot(s) of espresso to make a Red Eye.

A shot of espresso is poured over a cup of coffee to make a supercharged cup of coffee. We’ll dive deeper into different variants of the drink in the next section.

Red Eye Coffee Drink Variants 

There are a variety of Red Eye drink variants that now exist. Some of the different types that you can try include:

  • Black Eye Coffee
  • Dead Eye Coffee
  • Lazy Eye Coffee
  • Iced Red Eye Coffee
  • Starbucks Red Eye Coffee
  • Triple Red Eye Coffee
  • Starbucks Green Eye

Iced Red Eye Coffee

An iced Red Eye Coffee is the cold version of the beverage. You could even blend the ice and make a Red Eye frappuccino if you want!

Starbucks Red and Green Eye

Starbucks makes its version of the Red Eye, which is only available on its secret menu. You can order this drink in your choice of either the hot or cold version.

A Green Eye is the name Starbucks gave their style of Dead Eye coffee with three espresso shots. Like the Starbucks Red Eye, the Green Eye is only available on the secret menu.

Triple Red Eye Coffee 

A Triple Red Eye is another name for the dead eye containing three espresso shots. This is also the name Starbucks uses for this drink on their not-so-secret menu.

three espresso shots

The History of the Red Eye Coffee 

The history of the coffee Red Eye and the name’s origin is unique. It got its name from the overnight flight from New York to the west coast, known as the “Red Eye.”

No one has credit for inventing the Red Eye Coffee since it’s just a mix of coffee and espresso.

You’ll hear the name Red Eye more often within New York state and the northeastern region of the US. Other areas within the country make the same coffee drink but call it different names. The US west coast calls a Red Eye a “shot in the dark.”

Alaskans also make a Red Eye but prefer to call it a “Sludge Cup.” You may even hear this drink go by the names “Black Hole” or “Depth Charge,” depending on where you are.

How is Red Eye Coffee Made? 

A Red Eye Coffee is one of the easiest types of coffee that you can make at home. All you have to do is brew a standard cup of coffee along with an espresso.

Brewing Your Coffee

Start by brewing a regular cup of coffee from a drip machine, cone, or french press like you usually would. If you want your Red Eye stronger, you can use a stronger blend or add more coffee grounds.

Brew Your Espresso

Next, you’ll need an espresso brewer handy in your home to make a Red Eye. Make your shot of espresso like you normally would or multiple if you want your Red Eye stronger.

Mix Them Together

Once you’ve made your cup of coffee and espresso, you just pour your espresso shot into your coffee. Mix it well, add sugar if you wish, and your homemade Red Eye is ready.

Want to Try an Iced Red Eye?

Do you take your coffee cold? No problem! After you make your Red Eye, pour it into another cup with ice to make a homemade iced Red Eye.

What Does Red Eye Coffee Taste Like? 

A Red Eye Coffee is a combination of two different styles of coffee brought together to make a special drink. It brings together the sweetness of a drip coffee and the espresso’s bitterness.

The taste is what you would think combining two strong types of coffee would. Very strong, yet it has a good balance between the styles.

Although the Red Eye consists of two strong drinks, it can be hard to identify the individual flavors. You could taste the flaws if the drip coffee or espresso were made wrong in a Red Eye.

How Much Caffeine is in a Red Eye? 

Since the Red Eye is a mix of traditional coffee and espresso, the caffeine content will be quite high. Let’s see exactly how much caffeine a Red Eye may have.

A typical cup of coffee with a serving size of 8 oz (240 ml) has around 0.003 oz (95 mg) of caffeine per serving. An espresso shot has somewhere in the range of 0.002 oz (63 mg) in a 1-oz (30 ml) serving.

That would put a red coffee at 0.005 oz (158 mg) of caffeine per serving. The black and dead eye coffees have well over 0.007 oz (200 mg) of caffeine per serving. Then a lazy eye made with decaf would maybe have 0.002 oz (63 mg) of caffeine from the espresso shot.

Is a Red Eye Coffee Strong? 

When a type of coffee is given a name like Red Eye, you know it’s one strong cup of coffee. From the quantity of caffeine shown in the section above, a Red Eye packs quite the punch.

This is a coffee people drink who have to burn the midnight oil or get a lot of work done. You should consider drinking a Red Eye if you need to find some extra energy to do work.

Espresso coffee shot

That’s a Wrap

As you can see, there is a wide variety of Red Eye Coffees for you to try. Whatever you decide to call the coffee, it’s a strong go-to drink whenever you need a pick-me-up. Try one and see why this coffee got the name Red Eye.