Red Eye Coffee – Stay Awake for Longer!

In this article you’ll find all the information about the origin and ways of making red eye coffee.
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 17, 2023
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Do you want to know something crazy? There are hundreds of different types of coffee in the world. Pretty crazy for those of us that thought there were only the basic ones you see at grocery stores. American’s alone drink over 400 million cups of coffee Trusted Source America's Coffee Obsession: Fun Facts That Prove We're Hooked | HuffPost Life But why are we obsessed: is it the flavor, the caffeine kick? Let us know why you love coffee in the comments below. in a day! That’s a lot of people drinking coffee. With the information above, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that coffee is the most valuable commodity we have next to oil.

With all of the different types of coffee on the market, it would take years to write about each one. So today, we’re going to talk about red-eye coffee, what it is, and how you make it. So if you are interested, continue reading, and you may learn a few things.

Origin of “Eyes” Coffee

There are three main types of “eyes” coffee they are red-eye, black-eye, and dead-eye. Each one of these is coffee with espresso added. The main difference between the three is how much caffeine is in each one.

Unlike most types of coffee, the United States is where red-eye coffee originated from. In the mid to early 90s, people, it was introduced on a secret menu at Starbucks. The original name wasn’t red-eye but instead was called “shot in the dark” or “coffee with a shot.”  As its popularity grew, a name was adopted for it and is what most people call it today.

Red Eye Coffee - Stay Awake for Longer!
It is concerned that Starbucks is the place where “eye” coffee has become popular.

The “red-eye” was created in the United States to deal with “red-eye” flights. You know the flights, we mean, and you may have even taken a few. Those late-night, long flights that take hours, and then you get off the flight exhausted and barely able to keep your eyes open.

What we do know is where their names originated from. Black-eye coffee has two different stories about why it goes by that name. The first one is because of when the espresso is added. It resembles a black eye. The second one is that taking the first drink gives you the same feeling as being punched in the eye.

What is triple red-eye coffee? That would be another name for dead-eye or green-eye coffee. This is another coffee that first made its appearance on a menu at Starbucks. As the first sentence suggests, this coffee contains three shots of espresso-making your eyes go from half-shut to open fully. Another way the coffee may have gotten its name is because the extra shot of espresso shuts down your organs, rendering them dead. Regardless of where the name came from, it’s still one strong cuppa joe.

What is Red Eye Coffee?

Red-eye coffee is the perfect drink for those nights you stayed up way too late, had a late-night flight, or may just run a marathon. To deal with the day ahead, you know your regular cup of coffee just isn’t going to cut it. Named after the red-eye flight, this coffee is going to help you stay awake for the long haul.

Red-eye coffee is a combination of regular slow-drip coffee along with a shot of espresso. When making the “eyes” coffee, you’re going to want a high-quality espresso, and we found a high-quality fine gound medium blend.

What is Black Eye Coffee?

Black eye coffee is almost the same as red-eye. You still use regular slow drip coffee, but instead of adding one shot of espresso, you add two shots. You can drink all of the “eyes” coffees hot or cold all that matters is the intense kick of caffeine you get after drinking it.

What is Dead Eye Coffee?

Let’s see if you can guess the difference between black-eye coffee and dead-eye coffee? If you said there are three shots of espresso added to dead-eye coffee, you were right. It doesn’t matter if you like light, medium, or dark roast coffee. The results are the same—a cup of coffee with one heck of a kick to it. If you’re a fan of dark-roasted coffee, we found an excellent brand.

The Number of Caffeine in All of Them

There are still many debates about the health benefits of coffee, or it should be considered unhealthy due to the high amount of caffeine it contains. A recent article by John Hopkins medicine Trusted Source 9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You | Johns Hopkins Medicine A Johns Hopkins research nutritionist shares the benefits of coffee and a recipe for a healthy pumpkin spice latte smoothie. suggests that there were many benefits of coffee, such as.

  • You could live longer.
  • Your body may process sugar better.
  • It keeps your heart healthy.
  • It helps prevent Parkinson’s
  • May help protect your liver
  • Your DNA will be stronger
  • Your odds of colon cancer will go down
  • Decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • It lowers your risk of stroke

The primary purpose of the “eyes” coffee is to give you an instant jolt of energy after an all-nighter. So how much caffeine does each of these “eyes” have in them?

A regular 8oz cup of coffee has roughly 96mg of coffee, and a standard shot of espresso has 64mg of caffeine. Doing this math, you can figure out how much caffeine each has.

  • Red-eye coffee has around 160mg of caffeine.
  • Black-eye coffee has around 158mg of caffeine.
  • Dead-eye coffee has around 284mg of caffeine.

A few other things to consider when determining the amount of caffeine depends on a few different factors.

  • Type of coffee bean
  • Roast level
  • Serving size

Keep in mind that the health professionals and the FDA agree that up to 400mg of caffeine a day is safe. So don’t drink too many of these “eyes.” Another thing to keep in mind is that the more coffee you drink, the more your body learns to tolerate it, so if the red-eye isn’t giving you the energy it used to, you may need a caffeine reset.

How to Make “Eye” Coffee

Red Eye Coffee - Stay Awake for Longer!
The main difference between all types of “eye” coffee is the amount of espresso.

While there is no red-eye coffee recipe, you can quickly learn to make it at home.  We’re going to tell you three different ways on how to make red-eye coffee depending on the type of coffee maker you have.

What you’ll need

  • Coffee
  • Espresso


“Eye” Coffee Type

For a Regular/Keurig Coffee Maker

  • Brew 6oz of coffee
  • Make 1 shot of espresso
  • Pour the shot into your coffee
  • Brew 6oz of coffee
  • Make 2 shots of espresso
  • Pour the shots into your coffee
Dead (Lazy)-Eye
  • Brew 6oz of coffee
  • Make 3 shots of espresso
  • Pour the shots into your coffee

The Taste of “Eye” Coffee

Not all coffee beans are created equally, and the type of bean used to create your coffee will significantly impact how it tastes. The taste of the “eye” coffee varies a lot. Many things depend on it. What coffee are you using, what type of espresso are you using. What’s the strength of each one, and what else do you add to it.

A good rule of thumb is that the darker the roast, the more bitter it will taste. A lighter roast will have more of a smooth acidity taste.

Most “eye” coffees use a medium roast that combines a variety of nutty, flowery, spicy, with a bitter and acidic flavor.

Once you start adding espresso, it will change up the taste too. The more espressos added, the richer the coffee will taste. Some of the flavors can be too powerful for some, so they may want to add what they typically use.

This probably won’t taste like the coffee you set and enjoy over breakfast for the most part. It’s not meant to be enjoyed; it’s intended to give you a big shot of energy.

Final Thoughts

One of the “Eyes” coffee is often the first choice for sleep-deprived coffee enthusiasts everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you decide on the red-eye coffee or take the risk and go for the dead-eye one. You’re certainly going to be awake for the day. It also works if you need to stay up all night studying for a college exam.

After reading the information in this article, you know what each of these coffees is and just how much you need to knock back at the start of your day. If you’re looking to pull an all-nighter, it’s the dead eye coffee all the way, but if you know that the red-eye just isn’t going to keep you going and you just need an extra shot, then stick with the black eye coffee.

Seriously, have you heard of these coffee variants before now? If not, if you’re ever feeling brave, give them a try. Remember, though, with the large amount of caffeine contained in each of these, it may not be a good idea to replace your daily morning coffee with them.


But why are we obsessed: is it the flavor, the caffeine kick? Let us know why you love coffee in the comments below.
9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You | Johns Hopkins Medicine
A Johns Hopkins research nutritionist shares the benefits of coffee and a recipe for a healthy pumpkin spice latte smoothie.

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