What Is a Red Eye Coffee?

There are many different types of coffee, and each has its own unique flavor. However, if you are caffeine-hungry, you have probably ordered a red eye coffee. This is a popular choice for those who need an extra boost of energy, and it is also a favorite among baristas. So, what is red eye coffee?

What Is a Red Eye Coffee?

A red eye coffee is a cup of drip coffee that has been brewed with an espresso shot. This type of coffee is usually stronger and more caffeinated than a regular cup of coffee. It can also be a bit more bitter.

The red eye coffee is made by adding a shot of espresso to a cup of brewed drip coffee. This can be done at home, or you can order it at a café. The caffeine content in a red eye coffee can vary depending on how it is made. However, it is generally higher than a regular cup of coffee.

Woman about to take a sip of her coffee

How to Make Red Eye Coffee at Home

If you want to make a red eye coffee at home, you will need a few supplies. You will need:

To make the coffee:

  • Start by grinding your coffee beans. You will want to use a coarse grind for this type of coffee
  • Brew your coffee using filtered water
  • Once the coffee is brewed, add a shot of espresso. You can add more or less espresso depending on your preferences. If you want, you can also add milk to the coffee.

Usually, a typical red eye coffee has only one espresso shot. If you add a double espresso shot, it is known as a black eye coffee and if you add a daring triple shot, it is known as a green eye or dead eye coffee.

Why Is It Called Red Eye Coffee?

The name ‘red eye coffee’ is said to be a reference to the ‘red eye flight‘. This is where passengers have red eyes after taking a long overnight flight.

The red eyes develop due to the fatigue and dehydration that often comes with flying. Therefore, the name ‘red eye coffee’ is a reference to how this type of coffee can help to perk you up and keep you awake due to the high caffeine content.

What Does Red Eye Coffee Taste Like?

A red eye coffee can taste quite strong and bitter. This is because of the added espresso shot. The more espresso shots, the more bitter the coffee will taste. If you are not a fan of bitter coffee, you can add milk to the coffee to help mellow out the flavor.

In particular, the flavor of the red eye coffee you take will depend on the level of roast of your drip coffee. In a nutshell:

  • Coffee made from a lighter roast, like blonde espressos will taste sweeter and fruity 
  • Coffee made from a dark roast will have a smoky and deeply sweet flavor

On the other hand, if you make your coffee with a pump of toffee nut syrup, you should expect a creamy and nutty flavor with a caramelly aftertaste.

Barista serving a red eye coffee

How Much Caffeine Is in Red Eye Coffee?

A typical red eye coffee has about 95-16 mg of caffeine. This range is due to the fact that the amount of espresso added to the coffee can vary. If you add more espresso, the caffeine content will be higher.

In comparison, a regular cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine and a shot of espresso has about 63 mg of caffeine. Therefore, red eye coffee has more caffeine than a regular cup of coffee or espresso. A typical red eye coffee with one espresso shot will have about 158 mg of caffeine

Is Red Eye Coffee Bad for You?

There is no definitive answer to this question as everyone reacts differently to caffeine. However, some experts say that consuming too much caffeine can lead to side effects such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches

Therefore, it is important to consume caffeine in moderation. If you are worried about the effects of caffeine, speak to a healthcare professional.

Related Questions

Is Red Eye Coffee Strong?

Yes, a red eye coffee is quite strong. This is because it contains caffeine from both brewed drip coffee and espresso. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to avoid this type of coffee.

Is Red Eye Coffee the Same as Black Eye Coffee?

No, red eye coffee and black eye coffee are not the same. A red eye coffee contains one espresso shot whereas a black eye coffee contains two espresso shots.


A red eye coffee is a type of coffee that contains both brewed drip coffee and an espresso shot. It is called a red eye coffee because it is said to be a reference to the ‘red eye flight’. This is where passengers have red eyes after taking a long overnight flight. A typical red eye coffee has about 158 mg of caffeine.