Red Eye Coffee

4 min read MAR 29, 2022

Coffee is a ritual that most people have in their lives. Morning coffee, afternoon coffee, or the occasional late-night work-session-coffee all play important roles in how we go about our days.

Some days, we rely on a few espressos throughout the day to fuel us, but others we like to sip a latte in the morning and go to sleep early.  

Red-eye coffee comes in when you need an extra boost to get you through the day (or night). 

Preferably made with dark roast coffee beans, red-eye coffee combines at least two doses of caffeine to give you that jolt of energy that pushes you through your work. 

We’ll be explaining how to make red-eye coffee as well as some milky alternatives you can enjoy. 

What is Red Eye Coffee?

Red-eye coffee is named after the typically red eyes that travelers get after flying from the West Coast to the East Coast. They get these red eyes as a result of being awake for too long and drinking so much caffeine.

Typically, there’s more than one type of red-eye coffee, expanding onto black-eye and dead-eye, each with varying amounts of eye coffee drinkBlack eye coffee was coined due to the “black eye” that would mark your cup of coffee as you poured the espresso into it.

How to Make Red Eye Coffee

The base coffee recipe for red-eye coffee is drip coffee with one shot of espresso in it. Depending on your preference or where you order it, you can add up to three shots of espresso if you feel the need. 


If you’re making it at home, we recommend making a long black coffee. You can do this with a french press, drip coffee, AeroPress, or an espresso machine. After that, put your desired amount of espresso into the coffee and enjoy.

If you’re looking for a black eye coffee recipe simply add 2 shots instead of 1. 

For a dead eye coffee, you guessed it, add 3 shots.

If you prefer cold coffee, you can also easily make red-eye coffee with cold brew. 

Simply brew your coffee overnight, or add ice to your hot coffee, and add in the desired amount of espressos.

At a Cafe

Most cafes won’t specify which type of  ‘eye’ coffee you’re ordering, so you can just order red-eye and they’ll ask how many shots of espresso you want.

If you like sweeter coffee, getting a red-eye coffee at a cafe gives you the opportunity to add some nice flavors to it, so get creative and see what combinations you can come up with. 

Versions with milk

If you prefer coffee with milk, you can stick to the basic red-eye coffee recipe and just add in your preferred amount of milk.

If you’re feeling fun, you can also make a cortado coffee drink. A cortado is an espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk, so it’s perfect to add to your red-eye. what is a red eye coffeeIf you’re wondering what the difference is between a cortado and espresso, there isn’t really one. Cortado is simply just espresso with an equal amount of milk. 

How Much Caffeine Will I Be Consuming? 

Now that you know what the different types of “eye” coffees are, you’re probably interested in knowing how much caffeine is in each drink. 

Here are the facts:

1 cup of coffee: 95 mg of caffeine

1 espresso: 63 mg of caffeine

So if a red-eye coffee is a standard cup of coffee with at least one shot of espresso, that means its caffeine content is a staggering 158 mg.

A black eye coffee comes to 221 mg, and a dead-eye coffee comes to a whopping 284 mg. 


The world of “eye” coffees might be new to you, so approach them with caution. 

They can be super fun to make, especially by giving them your own twist but make sure to drink in moderation as they can be quite a shock to the system. 

Red Eye Coffee FAQs

What Do They Taste Like? 

Even though it sounds quite strong, red-eye coffee actually has quite a smooth taste. Because you’re adding espresso into normal coffee, all it does is intensify the coffee flavor without making it much bitter or harsher. red eye drink coffeeWe recommend our Dark Roast Coffee Beans as the intensity and the flavor is present without the acidity. 

Must I Drink It Black? 

You can drink red-eye coffee in whatever way you choose. The key factor is that you have a base of a long black coffee drink and then combine that with an espresso, however you take it.

You can add sugar, creamer, sweetener, or even use flavored coffee beans.

Coffee or Espresso First?

Some people argue you have to pour the shot into the long coffee, but we say do whatever you like. In the end, it’s just one drink so pour in whatever way feels right to you. 

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