What Is A Red Eye Coffee and How Can You Make One?

What Is A Red Eye Coffee and How Can You Make One?

Sean Gregory
5 minute read

Red Eye Coffee is great for starting the day with a hot (or chilled) cup of coffee. It wakes you up and prepares you for the day ahead.

Do you need a pick-me-up? You simply cannot go wrong with Red Eye Coffee! Why not blend drip coffee with espresso when you can't decide between the two? This drink has extra caffeine for those days when you need a little extra energy to get through the day. While there are many different coffee options to choose from, Red Eye Coffee is the place to go when you need a quick fix!

What exactly is red-eye coffee?

Red-eye coffee is a coffee beverage made using drip coffee and one or two shots of espresso. The name most likely refers to flying a "red eye flight," which is an overnight airline flight that causes passengers to have fatigued red eyes.

Unlike most espresso drinks of Italian provenance, this one appears to have originated in the United States. It is named after the famous red-eye overnight trip from America's west coast to the east coast. Do you have to stay awake all night? This is your beverage.

Consider it an Americano. Except that instead of hot water, you use brewed coffee. The end product is a highly caffeinated beverage with a rich flavor and a heavier body than your typical cup of joe.

Red Eye Coffee Caffeine Content

If you are looking for a jolt, you should check out Red Eye Coffee.  After all, the sole purpose of this drink is the help you pull all-nighters. It's in the name! We'd be disappointed if Red Eye Coffee didn't provide us with that pick-me-up.

When it comes to determining the amount of caffeine you'll find in a Red Eye Coffee, you will need to do a little math.  Please keep in mind that these numbers will be approximate.  The caffeine content in any particular drink depends on many factors –such as the type of coffee used, brewing methods, and serving size, to name a few.  

Red Eye Coffee has a roughly 160 mg of caffeine. This number comes from combining the standard 8-ounce cup of coffee (96 mg) with an expresso shot (64mg). 

What are Some Signs You've Had Too Much Caffeine?

Some signs that you might have had enough are feeling restless, anxious, having the jitters, or getting a migraine. These are signs that your body is signaling that it has reached its caffeine limit. You might want to reduce the number of Red Eyes (or the number of espresso shots) if you are experiencing any of these. 

While caffeine has different effects on people, the Red Eye is by no means harmful. The FDA states that a person can consume up to 400 mg safely. But that isn't a good number for everyone. It also will depend on how often you drink caffeine. If you have any of these negative side effects, you should probably work on reducing your caffeine intake. 

Making Red Eye Coffee

A Red Eye Coffee is simple to prepare at home. All you have to do is choose between drip coffee and espresso. Here's a quick rundown of the stages, followed by more specifics on the coffee-making methods:

1 cup of drip coffee (10 ounces)

1 single or double shot espresso (2 oz.)

Fill the drip coffee with espresso.

What Does Red Eye Coffee Taste Like?

It tastes like drip coffee with a dash of bitter espresso flavor. I you prefer a bitter coffee, it is recommended that you use two shots of espresso, as the flavor of the espresso tends to get lost. 

Is a Cup of Red-Eye Coffee Strong?

A red-eye coffee is intense due to the addition of espresso to conventional drip coffee.

The rich, strong, bitter taste of espresso is due to it being a highly concentrated coffee.  It is made by pushing pressurized water through finely-ground coffee beans. 

Adding regular drip coffee to the espresso helps balance the flavors and create a more palatable cup of coffee. Many people even believe it provides a similar boost as a cold brew.

Different Names the Red Eye Coffee Might be Called

The drink may be served under various names depending on where you get it. A "Black Hole" or "Shot in the Dark" are the most prevalent. You may also come across beverages called Black Eye or Depth Charge.

If you hear the term black eye, this typically referred to a Red Eye with a second shot of espresso added. Then came the dead eye, with you guessed it, three whole shots of espresso.

Since most specialty coffee shops now pull two espresso shots as a standard, the term Red or Black Eye coffee has become far less popular. With caffeine becoming more and more popular many retail chains have increased the caffeine levels in their standard roast. Starbucks for example as over 300 mg of caffeine in their Pike Place 16 ounce pour.


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