Red Eye Coffee, Black Eye Coffee, Dead Eye Coffee – What Are They?

Have you ever heard someone order a red eye coffee? Or maybe even a black eye or dead eye coffee? Believe it or not, but all of these coffee drinks actually exist!

And they all actually have to do with the amount of caffeine that’s put in your drink.

In short, a red eye coffee gets one added shot of espresso.

A black eye coffee gets two added shots of espresso.

And a dead eye coffee gets a whopping three added shots of espresso!

So if you want to stay awake for hours on end, then it’s time you start ordering red eye, black eye or dead eye coffees!

Although we wouldn’t recommend ever adding more than a single shot of espresso to your drink!

What is Red Eye Coffee?

As we quickly mentioned above, a red eye coffee is where you take a normal brewed cup of coffee and then add one extra shot of espresso.

What is Red Eye Coffee

The brewed coffee is usually a cup of coffee brewed using a drip coffee maker or maybe even a French press.

An additional shot of espresso is then poured into the drink, making it extra strong and giving you all the energy needed!

The term “red eye” actually comes from how your eyes tire when you take a late night flight and become “red”.

Some also say the name comes from the very well known West Coast – East Coast flight, which is also known as a “red eye” flight.

What is Black Eye Coffee?

Black eye coffee is similar to the red eye coffee, but with a bit more extra caffeine!

Black Eye Coffee

As with the red eye, you take a brewed cup of coffee using a drip coffee maker or maybe even a French press.

But then instead of adding just one extra shot of espresso, you add two!

If you are thinking that just one extra shot of espresso isn’t enough, then perhaps you need to make yourself a black eye coffee!

What is Dead Eye Coffee?

Last but definitely not least is the dead eye coffee.

Dead Eye Coffee

As with the red eye and black eye, you take a brewed cup of coffee using a drip coffee maker or maybe even a French press.

You then add three extra shots of espresso.

So basically, a dead eye coffee is three times as strong as a red eye coffee. Which is pretty crazy!

To be honest, we could never drink a dead eye coffee. Maybe even a black eye coffee is a bit strong.

But everyone has different tastes and preferences.

Caffeine Content In These Drinks

Let’s quickly discuss the caffeine contents in these drinks.

For many, a normal brewed cup of coffee has more enough caffeine in it to kickstart their day.

But for some coffee addicts out there, they need more strength!

On average, a normal brewed cup of coffee contains roughly 95mg of caffeine.

And a single shot of espresso contains roughly 64mg of caffeine.

So with some simple maths, below are the total caffeine contents of each of the three “eyes” drinks:

  • Red eye coffee: 95mg + 64mg = 159mg of caffeine.
  • Black eye coffee: 95mg + 64mg + 64mg = 223mg of caffeine.
  • Dead eye coffee: 95mg + 64mg + 64mg = 287mg of caffeine.

That’s a whole lot of caffeine right there!

As we said before, everyone handles and consumes caffeine differently.

So make sure you never overdo it.

Listen to your body, and stop when you need to!

How To Make Red Eye Coffee At Home

Making a red eye coffee at home is so simple!

Firstly, you need to make your usual cup of freshly brewed coffee.

How to make red eye coffee

This can be done using a coffee drip, or even a French press.

Once your cup of coffee is made, you need to now add your extra shot of espresso.

How to make red eye coffee

If you do not own an espresso machine, then Nespresso pods or K-pods will do just fine.

Add the espresso into your cup of coffee, and voila!

You have now made yourself a red eye coffee, and should be ready to tackle whatever hurdles come your way for the day!

Do Coffee Shops Offer Red Eye Coffee?

Of course you can!

In the USA, red eye coffee is pretty well known. And chances are the barista serving you knows exactly what you are talking about.

However, if they are unsure, then simply order a normal coffee and ask them to add in an extra shot of espresso.

Or more if you are brave enough to have a black eye or dead eye coffee!

Other Names For Red Eye Coffee

Quite a few other names have developed for this popular, strong coffee drink!

In some parts of the world, a red eye coffee is known as a “hammerhead”.

In Kansas, it is known as an “oil spill”.

Another name for red eye coffee which has been used quite a lot is “stink eye”.

And in the Southwest, many people refer to red eye coffee as a “shot in the dark”


If you think you will need to stay up a few extra hours at night due to work or study, then a red eye coffee, black eye coffee or even a dead eye coffee might do the trick.

Most people aren’t even aware of these coffee drinks, and maybe that includes you.

But now you know!

These “eye” coffees are really basic.

They are just brewed coffee, with added espresso!

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