Red Eye Coffee: When Normal Coffee Is Not Enough 2024

Red Eye Coffee offers the perfect solution to your caffeine needs, combining a standard coffee with the powerful punch of an espresso shot.

Named symbolically after overnight ‘red-eye flights’, this coffee has a special place in the coffee culture, offering a strong and easy recipe for those in need.

Diving deeper, you’ll discover its variations, alternative names and health considerations – all rooted in the desire for that extra caffeine hit.

Red Eye Coffee: What Is It?

Red Eye coffee is essentially a strong cup of brewed coffee enhanced with a shot of espresso. It offers an engaging flavor profile and a higher caffeine content compared to a standard cup of Americano or latte. Here’s a simple breakdown of its composition:

  • Start with a brewed coffee base (about 8 oz/ 240 ml).
  • Add a single shot of espresso for the classic Red Eye Coffee.

Brewing Technique: How to Make a Red Eye Coffee

 A person pouring a cup of Rey Eye Coffee next to a muffin.
by Pinterest

Red Eye Coffee is a potent combination of brewed coffee and espresso, designed to offer a substantial caffeine kick. Here, you’ll find out how to craft a Rey Eye Coffee at home.

Step 1: Brew about 8oz Coffee

When making traditional Red Eye Coffee, start with your choice of 8oz brewed coffee. This can be made using a drip coffee makerFrench presspour-over methods. The goal is to create a solid base with complex flavors to support the espresso addition.

Step 2: Prepare an Espresso Shot

Next, prepare a single shot of espresso using an espresso machine or a moka pot if you don’t have a machine.

Step 3: Mix It!

Pour your 8 ounces of brewed coffee into your coffee mug and add the shot of espresso on top of the brewed coffee.

If you like your coffee with a smoother edge, you can add milk or cream. For sweetness, consider sugar or healthier alternative sweeteners like honey or agave nectar. Play with these add-ins until you find your ideal balance of flavor and sweetness.

💡 Note

Make sure to use good quality, finely ground beans for the espresso to ensure proper extraction and optimal flavor.

Red Eye Coffee Variations

The traditional red eye has spawned several variants, each with an additional espresso shot:

  • Red Eye: You’re already familiar with the standard Red Eye—a cup of drip coffee with a single shot of espresso
  • Black Eye: Crave more caffeine? A Black Eye might be your choice, which doubles the espresso fun with two shots in your coffee.
  • Dead Eye: For the ultimate caffeine kick, the Dead Eye triples down with three shots of espresso mixed into your coffee.

Each variant offers a distinct flavor and varying levels of intensity to cater to different preferences. Here’s a comparative look:

VariantEspresso ShotsCaffeine Level (approx.)
Red EyeSingle160-180 mg
Black EyeDouble220-240 mg
Dead EyeTriple280-300 mg

Health and Enjoyment

 A cup of coffee with a shot of espresso, creating a Red Eye Coffee
by Pinterest

Exploring the Red Eye Coffee, you’ll find that it’s not just another energizing beverage but also an energy boost that can aid in increased alertness and improved focus. But as you can imagine it comes with a price.

Caffeine Content and Side Effects

A standard 8-ounce Red Eye Coffee typically contains:

  • Brewed Coffee (8 oz): Approximately 95 mg of caffeine
  • Espresso Shot: Approximately 64 mg of caffeine
  • Total Caffeine: About 159 mg per serving


  • An energy boost that can aid in increased alertness and improved focus.

Side Effects may include:

  • Dizziness: Too much caffeine can make you feel dizzy or anxious.
  • Sleep Disruption: Drinking caffeine late in the day might affect your sleep quality.
  • Acidity: Caffeine can contribute to stomach discomfort for some people.

What does it taste like?

Think about it like fusing two coffee worlds: You get the boldness of espresso and the comforting familiarity of your regular cup.

  • Espresso’s Bitterness: This is the kick that stands out. Espresso adds a dense, deep flavor, and a slight bitterness that’s the signature of a well-crafted Red Eye.
  • Drip Coffee’s Sweetness: It balances the bitterness. Depending on your coffee’s origin, these sweet notes might range from sugary undertones to caramel-like hints.
EspressoBitterness, strength
Drip CoffeeSweetness, smoothness

Experiment with different coffee beans and roast levels

  • Acidity and Fruity Tones: Using a lighter roast can introduce a pleasant acidity and bright, fruity flavors.
  • Richness of Darker Roasts: Choose a darker roast for a smoky edge and more pronounced boldness.
Light RoastsEnhanced fruity tones, prominent acidity
Medium/Dark RoastsStronger coffee taste, potential smoky notes

History and Origins

Red Eye Coffee gained its name from passengers on late-night “red-eye flights” who needed an extra jolt of caffeine. This beverage has since become a popular choice for its potent energy boost.

The exact origins are unclear, but it is an American invention that married espresso with traditional drip coffee to cater to those seeking a stronger coffee experience.

Other Names For Red Eye Coffee

When you order a Red Eye Coffee, you might hear it called by several other names, depending on where you are.

Here’s a quick reference:

  • Hammerhead: A popular alternative name for a Red Eye Coffee, invoking the strength and power associated with it.
  • Sludge Cup: Unique to Alaska, inspired by the local petroleum industry. It reflects the state’s industrial heritage, notably its connection to the oil industry, and hints at the coffee’s thick, potent consistency.

So next time you need a pick-me-up, and you’re met with these variations, you’ll know exactly what to expect in your cup!

💡This might also interest you

Explore our blog post on the difference between an espresso and a macchiato.

FAQ – Red Eye Coffee

How to make Red Eye Coffee?

To make a Red Eye Coffee, start by brewing a standard 8-ounce cup of drip coffee. Then, pull a single or double shot of espresso and add it to your brewed coffee. The ratio typically involves using one shot for a regular Red Eye and two for a Double Red Eye.

What is another name for Red Eye Coffee?

A Red Eye Coffee is also known colloquially as a “Shot in the Dark” or a “Hammerhead.” It’s a combination of regular drip coffee with an added shot of espresso.

How many shots of espresso are in a Red Eye?

A traditional Red Eye Coffee contains one shot of espresso added to a cup of drip coffee. If you opt for a Double Red Eye, it will contain two shots of espresso.

How much caffeine is in a large Red Eye?

A large Red Eye Coffee, typically 12 to 16 ounces, contains the caffeine of its drip coffee component plus the caffeine from the espresso shot. On average, you can expect about 200 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup with one espresso shot, so a large Red Eye may contain around 300 to 400 mg of caffeine.

Why is Red Eye Coffee called that?

The term “Red Eye Coffee” is believed to have originated from the notion that this strong coffee is capable of waking up tired travelers with “red eyes” from long flights or journeys. The “red eye” term metaphorically refers to revitalizing someone who is fatigued.

If you liked our blog post on the topic “Red Eye Coffee”, don’t forget to leave us a comment down and share your thoughts on this topic.

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Wadim Urbanowitsch

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