What is Red Eye Coffee? (Black Eye and the Dead Eye!)

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Johny Morrisson

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♡ Written by Humans for Humans

Red Eye Coffee, Dead Eye, Black Eye – these aren’t code names for a covert mission; they’re variations of your regular cup of joe with an extra kick.

If you’re curious about how to inject more caffeine into your coffee routine, you’re in the right place. Let’s uncover the mysteries behind these eye-catching brews.

Eye Coffees

What is Red Eye coffee?

Red Eye coffee, also known as a “Shot in the Dark,” is a simple but powerful coffee drink made by adding a single shot of espresso to a cup of drip coffee.

It is called Red Eye coffee as this ultra-caffeinated drink helps to alleviate the reddening of the eyes caused by sleep deprivation or fatigue.

Red Eye coffee is the perfect on-the-go pick-me-up for those who need an energy boost but don’t have time for a full breakfast. It’s a popular choice for truckers, students, and anyone who needs to stay awake and focused.

The combination of the strong espresso shot and the milder drip coffee creates a drink that is not only potent but also flavorful. This simple coffee drink has become a staple in many cafes and restaurants and is also a popular choice for home brewing.

Red Eye Coffee

Red-eye coffee is also known by several other names, depending on the region or culture. Here are a few other names for red-eye coffee:

  • Shot in the Dark
  • Hammerhead
  • Depth Charge
  • Eye Opener
  • Stink Eye
  • Turbo Coffee
  • Sludge Cup
  • Oil Spill
  • Red Hammer

Black Eye Coffee

Black Eye coffee is a stronger version of Red Eye. It is made by adding two shots of espresso to a cup of drip coffee, giving it an extra jolt of caffeine. It is also known as a “double shot in the dark” in some regions.

Dead Eye Coffee

Dead Eye coffee is the strongest of the Eye coffee drinks. It is made by adding three shots of espresso to a cup of drip coffee, giving it an extra powerful caffeine punch. It is also sometimes called a “triple shot in the dark”

At Starbucks, Dead Eye Coffee is known as “Green Eye”

How to Make Red Eye Coffee?

You can easily make red-eye Coffee at your home by following these simple steps:

Red Eye coffee Recipe

1- Prepare Black Coffee

First up in making red-eye coffee is to brew 8 ounces of regular black coffee using your preferred brewing method.

I find that a pour-over coffee maker works great as the base, but you could also use a drip coffee machine, French press, or Chemex if you prefer.

2- Make Espresso

Now prepare a single, double, or triple shot of Espresso depending on whether you want a red eye, black eye, or dead eye.

Place the cup of freshly brewed coffee under the Espresso machine and brew the shot of Espresso straight into it.

Give it a quick stir, and your drink is ready to serve!

When making a red eye, go with medium or light roast beans for the regular coffee and dark roast for the espresso. This mixes the sweet, citrusy notes of the brewed coffee with the rich, smoky, chocolatey flavors from the espresso. The medium and dark roasts complement each other perfectly. Trust me, it takes the red eye to a whole new level of tasty!

What does Red Eye Coffee Taste Like

As someone who enjoys a strong cup of coffee, I can say that Eye coffee drinks definitely pack a punch in terms of taste.

The addition of espresso gives it a unique flavor profile that is not found in regular coffee. The bitterness of the espresso complements the richness of the coffee, resulting in a bold and intense taste.

Overall, these coffee drinks are not for the faint of heart, but rather for those who prefer a strong, bold cup of coffee. Due to the high level of caffeine in these coffee drinks, they are not recommended as a day-to-day drink.

How much caffeine is in the Red Eye coffee?

According to the USDA, a single shot of espresso contains around 63 milligrams of caffeine, while an 8-ounce cup of drip coffee has about 95 milligrams of caffeine.

  • A Red eye prepared with a Single shot has around 160-180 mg of caffeine
  • A Black eye prepared with a Double shot has around 220-240 mg of caffeine
  • A Dead eye prepared with a Tripe shot has around 280-300 mg of caffeine

Additionally, factors such as the type and roast level of the beans, and the brewing time can also affect the caffeine content in these coffee drinks.

Red Eye coffee packs a high caffeine punch, which may be overwhelming for some people, especially those with caffeine sensitivities. Adults are recommended to consume no more than 400mg of caffeine per day.

That’s why it is OK to drink Dead Eye coffee occasionally, but shouldn’t be your regular coffee choice.

Read a guide on How many shots of Espresso are safe to drink

How to order Red eye coffee at Starbucks?

If you want to order one of these Eye coffee drinks at Starbucks, here’s what to ask for:

Red Eye coffee: Ask for a regular brewed coffee with a shot of espresso

Black Eye Coffee: Ask for a regular brewed coffee with two shots of espresso

Dead Eye coffee: Ask for a regular brewed coffee with three shots of espresso. It is also known as Green eye Coffee.

When ordering your Eye coffee drink, you can customize it by requesting additional ingredients like milk or sweetener. For example, you can ask for a Red Eye with cream or a Dead Eye with sugar.

Final Thoughts

And that’s the complete lowdown on red-eye coffee! Now you know how to make this high-octane brew at home and even order it like a pro.

Let me know if you decide to try out a red eye after reading this. I’d love to hear how your blend of regular coffee and espresso turns out.

Got any tips or tweaks to make red-eye coffee even better? Share them in the comments below!

Read about other Espresso based coffee drinks


What’s the difference between Red Eye and Americano?

Americano is a milder drink prepared by adding a shot of Espresso to hot Water. While the Red-eye coffee is an intense drink prepared by adding a shot of Espresso to brewed coffee.

Can you add milk to Red Eye coffee?

Yes, you can add milk to Red Eye coffee, just like any other coffee drink. It’s all about personal preference, and adding milk can help balance out the bitterness of the espresso.
Traditionally, milk or cream is not added to red-eye coffee since it is meant to be consumed strong and unsweetened.

What is a lazy eye coffee drink?

A lazy eye coffee drink is similar to Red eye coffee, but instead of adding a shot of espresso to regular coffee, it’s made by adding a shot of decaf espresso to regular coffee. It’s a good option for those who want the strong taste of coffee but don’t want the extra caffeine.

Red Eye Coffee Recipe

With just a few simple steps, you can easily make a delicious and invigorating cup of red eye coffee at home.
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • 1 Espresso machine
  • 1 Coffee grinder
  • 1 Drip or Pour over Coffee Maker


  • 8 oz Brewed Coffee
  • Single Shot Espresso, Double shot for Black eye and Tripe shot for Dead eye
  • Sugar or Sweeteners (Optional)


  • Start by brewing a cup of drip coffee using your preferred method.
  • Place the cup of freshly brewed coffee under the Espresso machine and brew Espresso straight into the cup of coffee
  • You can add milk or sugar to taste if desired. Your Red Eye coffee is ready to drink!

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About, bringing passion and expertise to the world of coffee.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.