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?

A red eye, black eye, and dead eye coffee basically mean how much caffeine you want in your cup of brewed coffee. The red eye got one shot of espresso added, the black eye got two shots and the dead eye got three whole shots of espresso! These will definitely keep you up as long as you want.

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 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, then I will move onto the other “eye” coffees.

What is a Red Eye Coffee?

A red eye coffee is a very simple drink. It’s a cup of normal drip coffee, either iced or hot, with a shot of espresso.

Red eye coffee

They say that the name “red eye” coffee was named after the extra added 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.

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 into it.

Black eye coffee

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!

Dead 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, dead eye isn’t the only name of 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)

Freshly brewed cup of coffee

One ounce (around 30ml) of espresso on the other hand 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.

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” coffee mean, it’s now time to get into the brewing guide of these coffees.

It’s actually really simple to make, you just need two ingredients. Coffee and more coffee, a freshly brewed cup of coffee made while using a Chemex, 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.

That’s all you’ve got to do to make an “eye” coffee at home. Simple right?

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.

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-ons 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?

Yes, if you don’t want to brew it at home, then 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 could read above, is the same as the Dead Eye coffee. That will definitely give you enough caffeine to get through the day or night!


So, if you ever wondered now 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? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

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


On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about!

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