How awesome is it to start your day with a warm (or maybe iced) cup of coffee? It alerts you and makes you ready to start the day.

But what do you do if you feel like you don’t get the same buzz from your coffee as before? Well, some people might suggest you drink a few extra cups of coffee. But how about adding a shot of espresso to your coffee?

Quick Answer: What is a red eye coffee?

A red eye, black eye, and dead eye coffee basically mean how much caffeine you want in your cup of brewed coffee. A red eye coffee has one shot of espresso added, the black eye has two shots, and the dead eye has three whole espresso shots!

What Is a Red Eye, Black Eye, And Dead Eye Coffee?

But that’s not all. Below, you will learn exactly what each “eye” coffee is, how much caffeine it contains, and how you can brew it at home. Let’s begin!

First, ‘Eyes’, really?

That was exactly my reaction when I first heard of these different-sounding names, but don’t worry; you will understand what they mean to your cup of freshly brewed.

I will explain all the eye colors below for you, and in the end, you will learn how to brew it yourself at home.

"Red eye, black eye, and dead eye coffee comparison."

These “eye” coffees are the easiest, caffeine-packed coffees you have ever made at home. I will start by covering the red eye coffee, and then I will move on to the other “eye” coffees.

What is a Red Eye Coffee?

Red eye coffee is a coffee with an added espresso shot. The espresso shot is poured directly into the coffee cup and then stirred in. These will definitely keep you up as long as you want.

They say that the name “red eye” coffee was named after the extra zip needed to stay awake through an overnight “red eye” flight from the West Coast to New York.

Of course, red eye coffee isn’t the only name for this awesome cup of joe. Another alternative to the red eye is the hammerhead.

Is a red eye coffee strong?

A red eye coffee is strong because it is made with espresso and added to regular drip coffee.

Espresso is a very concentrated form of coffee that is brewed by forcing pressurized water through finely ground coffee beans. This makes for a very strong, rich, and somewhat bitter cup of coffee.

Adding regular drip coffee to the espresso helps to balance the flavors and make for a more drinkable cup of joe.

What is a Black Eye Coffee?

A black eye coffee is almost the same as a red eye, but it’s a cup of coffee with not one but two shots of espresso added to it.

You’re probably wondering now where the name came from, right?

I guessed that you get so much energy that you want to fight with someone and get a black eye.

Although that might still be the case, the real reason it’s called “black eye” coffee is because of the black ring that appears in your coffee after pouring in the espresso shots.

What is a Dead Eye Coffee?

So now that you know what a red eye and a black eye coffee are, you can probably guess already what a dead eye coffee is, right?

Correct! A dead eye coffee is a cup of coffee with not one, not two, but three added espresso shots. The triple red eye coffee!

Does that make you sweat already?

Below, you learn how much caffeine there will be in each of these “eye” coffees. I think you can guess then why it’s called the dead eye coffee!

However, the dead eye isn’t the only name for this strong cup of coffee. It’s also called the Green Eye.

Can you guess where they mainly call it this?

Correct! At Starbucks.

How much caffeine is there in all of these “Eye” Coffees?

So now you know what the Red Eye, the Black Eye, and the Dead Eye coffee are, but how much caffeine will you take in if you drink one of them?

Well, considering that the coffee will contain two different caffeine-filled drinks in one, it packs quite a punch.

Let’s start with the basics. Your cup of brewed coffee, eight ounces (around 240 ml), contains, on average, around 95mg of caffeine. (Source)

Stirring Hario V60 brew.

On the other hand, one ounce (around 30ml) of espresso is around 63mg of caffeine per shot. (Source)

When you add the two of these together, you are left with an awesome cup of coffee that will get you these caffeine levels:

  • Red Eye coffee: 95mg + 63mg = 158mg of caffeine
  • Black Eye coffee: 95mg + (63mg x 2) = 221mg of caffeine
  • Dead Eye coffee: 95mg + (63mg x 3) = 284mg of caffeine

That’s enough to keep you up the night, right?

But of course, you can always go higher with the caffeine levels if you mix stronger versions of the coffee with espresso.

Brewed espresso shot.

While this may sound like fun, don’t forget to keep under the 400 milligrams of caffeine per day mark. 400 milligrams has proven to be a safe amount of caffeine for a healthy adult to take in daily. (Source)

Of course, you should listen to your body and brain to decide if this is right for you.
If you start to feel a lot of anxiety, nervousness, and restlessness, it may be time to cut back on your caffeine consumption. (Source)

How to make an “Eye” Coffee at Home?

Now that you have read all about what these “eye” coffees mean, it’s time to get into the brewing guide of these coffees.

It’s actually really simple to make, and you just need two ingredients. Coffee and more coffee.

A freshly brewed cup of coffee made while using a Chemex, Hario V60, or even the French press. The choice is up to you.

Next up is the espresso. Brew an espresso and mix it with your favorite brewed coffee. If you want to go the original route, you’ve got to pour your espresso onto your brewed coffee.

Below, you can see how the coffees turn out depending on the number of espresso shots you’re going to add:

That’s all you’ve got to do to make an “eye” coffee at home. Simple right? You can follow the recipe below to try it out:

5-Minute Red Eye Coffee

Red eye coffee, ready to put together.

If you're in need of a caffeine boost, the red eye coffee is the perfect drink to make! I've also listed the amounts you need to make the black eye and dead eye coffee.

Prep Time 3 minutes
Additional Time 2 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 cup (0.24 l) of brewed coffee
  • One espresso shot (1 oz or 30 ml)


  1. Start by brewing your coffee. Use your preferred method for this. I like to use Chemex coffee for this recipe.
  2. While the coffee is brewing, prepare your espresso shot. You can use an espresso machine, AeroPress, or Moka pot.
  3. Pour the brewed coffee into a tall glass of choice and leave a small amount of room for the espresso.
  4. Slowly pour the espresso onto the brewed coffee.
  5. If you prefer, add a sweetener or other add-in to the coffee.
  6. Give it a quick stir to combine the flavors, and enjoy!


  • If you want to make a black eye coffee, use two espresso shots.
  • For a dead eye coffee, use three espresso shots

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Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1

What does it taste like?

The taste of red eye, black eye, and dead eye vary a lot. This depends on the coffee roast and the overall flavor of the coffee.

It will also depend on the number of espressos you are going to add to your cup of joe to create the Red Eye, the Black Eye, or the Dead Eye.

When a darker roast of coffee is used, it is likely to have more bitter and smoky flavors. While a lighter roast usually packs a bit more acidity and tastes a bit brighter.

Dark roasted coffee beans.

Most “eye” coffees are made using a medium roast, which combines the flavor profiles of the other roasts. Blending this with a shot of espresso (for the red eye coffee) will enhance the flavors even more.

The flavors you will most likely encounter when tasting an “eye” coffee are nutty, flowery, spicy, and even a little bitter and acidic.

Medium roasted and dark roasted coffee beans next to each other.
Medium roast on the left. Dark roast on the right

Once you start adding the espressos to your coffee, you will end up with a super rich-tasting cup of joe. I like to drink a red eye coffee on days that I really need to up my caffeine level to get through the day.

These flavors can be a bit overpowering for some, so I suggest using your favorite add-ins when tasting one of the “eye” coffees.

This can change depending on the person, but most like to add a bit of sugar, milk, creamer, or even some flavorful sirops to top off their coffee.

Can you order the Red Eye, Black Eye, and the Dead Eye Coffees at Starbucks?

If you don’t want to brew it at home, you can order these caffeine-packed coffees at Starbucks.

Don’t forget that the barista there might not know what these ‘Eye’ coffees are. If they don’t understand, you can always order it like coffee with one or multiple added espresso shots.

Plus, don’t forget that you can order the Green Eye, which, as you can read above, is the same as the Dead Eye coffee. That will definitely give you enough caffeine to get through the day or night!

What is a lazy eye coffee?

A lazy eye coffee is a decaf drip coffee with an added espresso shot. The espresso shot gives the coffee a bit of extra flavor and caffeine, which makes it more interesting to drink than regular decaf drip coffee.

Lazy eye coffees are a great way to get your caffeine fix without having to drink regular coffee.

They’re also a good option for people who don’t like the taste of regular coffee or who are trying to cut back on their caffeine intake.

What is a dripped eye coffee?

A dripped eye coffee is just another name for a dead eye coffee. It’s drip coffee with three shots of espresso, making it incredibly strong and caffeinated.

If you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up or need to stay up all night studying, this is the drink for you. Just be warned that it packs quite a punch!

What is the difference between an Americano and a Red Eye?

The main difference between an Americano and a red eye coffee is that an Americano is made by adding hot water to espresso, whereas a red eye is made by adding espresso to drip coffee.

An Americano tastes more like traditional coffee, while a red eye has a stronger espresso flavor.

How do you make a Red Eye with milk?

There are a few different ways to make a red eye with milk:

  • The most popular method is combining equal parts coffee and hot milk, then sweetening to taste with sugar or another sweetener. This results in a rich, creamy coffee that is perfect for sipping on a cold winter day.
  • Another way to make a red eye with milk is to first froth the milk, then add it to strong coffee. This creates a lighter, airier coffee with a bit of foamy texture.
Frothing milk with a handheld mixer.

No matter which method you choose, making a red eye with milk is easy and tastes delicious!


So, if you ever wondered what to do when you want to stay up at night, just brew a Dead Eye coffee! Or maybe just a Red Eye, haha.

But seriously, did you know about all these caffeine-packed coffee variants? If not, then I hope you will try them at home one time to see if you can take the caffeine high or not.

Have you ever heard about these “eye” coffees? Also, let me know if you’re going to try the Red Eye, the Black Eye, or the Dead Eye coffee!

If you feel like trying some more coffee recipes today, I’ve listed a few recipes below. Good luck with your coffee journey and everything that you’re going to do today!

More coffee recipes

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