Red Eye Coffee: What is It and How To Make One?

Red Eye Coffee: What is It and How To Make One?


Are you addicted to a cup of hot coffee every morning? Everybody likes a morning cup of coffee. It is one of the best beverages, that you can start your day with.

However, if you have lately felt that you do not get the same results from your old coffee, it is time for a rejig in all probability.

Some of your peers may ask you to increase the dose. But that may not be feasible for you.

You must have heard of Espresso? Is one cup of espresso not enough to satisfy your thirst?

Here comes an exciting blend of two different servings of coffee. It is called the Red Eye Coffee. The Red Eye Coffee will ensure that you get the fun of having both espresso and drip coffee in one cup only.

So, when it is about immediate coffee, try this one today. We promise you will not regret the flavor either.

Now, we will unearth several possibilities to tell you what exactly this coffee style is about.

However, you should know about the other types before, plunging head on into the world of Red Eye Coffee.

Please go through the article thoroughly for understanding the concept of such a fabulous creation in the world of caffeine and more on coffee.

What is the Red Eye Coffee?

Red Eye Coffee is a combination of drip coffee and one to three shots of espresso. It gives rise to variations.

The name Red Eye Coffee comes from the red eyes of the passengers who flew back in the 90s from the West Coast to New York and developed bloodshot eyes due to fatigue and jet lag.

This gave rise to this super-strong concoction that can make you stay wide awake all night long.

The moment you order this coffee, the café guy knows that you are tired. However, there is some debate over which coffee is first poured into the coffee cup.

Specialty Of Red Eye Coffee

Most of you may be confused with the ‘Eyes’ part. These are basically the most caffeine-enriched coffees that you can make at home.

Let us start with the red one. The name itself symbolizes that you are going to get red eyes. However, it is not literally true. Furthermore, the inspiration came from the name of the airline Red Eye Flight.

It is famous for its overnight flights. Due to lack of sleep, the passengers often get red eyes after riding this particular aircraft.

It is nothing but iced or hot drip with some espresso shots. Therefore, it is clear that having Red Eye Coffee will provide a strong flavor indeed.

The variation contains around two shots of espresso with some drip coffee. However, you can determine the number of espresso shots you like while ordering from a menu card in any café (For Example, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts).

The impressive strong aroma and the bitter taste are the unique characteristics of this coffee. Hence, Red Eye Coffee will be an apt choice if you need a quick jolt from stress, tiredness, and anxiety.

Making Of Red Eye Coffee At Home

You want to try this at home? The tricks are present here. The process is not anything alien to normal coffee.

You have to be sure about the quantity of espresso and drip coffee. A perfect combination can only make an ideal cup you wish to have.

To prepare the Red Eye Coffee, you have to separately prepare the drip coffee and the espresso shots to mix them finally.

Generally, the recommendable ratio is two espresso shots in one and a one-fourth cup of drip coffee. This will provide the right texture, flavor as well as taste.

You can select any methods like Aeropress, Pour Over, or the French Press to prepare the drip coffee.

Related: French Press VS AeroPress

It is often the daily dose of strength you need before an eventful day. On the other hand, some people will like to have a thicker drink.

Hence, the espresso is the perfect option for these coffee lovers. You can use specific pots to prepare the beverage or turn to the espresso machine for a refreshing cup.

For a lovely espresso, it is better to go for an affordable espresso maker where you can mix the ingredients manually.

Now comes the most important part of mixing the drinks to obtain an excellent cup of Red Eye Coffee. Compared to the above two types of coffee, of course, this coffee will have more caffeine content.

The average amount is 247 grams. So, it may not be an everyday choice for many. However, the answer is pretty simple when you need a quick fix.

The most basic recipe for Red Eye Coffee is given here:

Prep Time – 2 mins

Cook Time – 4 mins

Total Time – 6 mins


  • Drip Coffee Maker
  • Espresso Machine
  • Coffee Cup



  • Start brewing the drip coffee
  • Brew the espresso before brewing the drip
  • Then, pour it into the cup
  • After, you are satisfied with the decoction, pour it on the espresso.
  • It is ready for consumption.

The Starbucks Red eye secret is not a secret any longer. It is just your regular coffee, either hot or cold, with a single shot of espresso added.

You can also try their other variants, like the Black Eye and the Green Eye. These will surely give you the quick fix, you require.

Taste and Dosage Of Red Eye Coffee

Now, there is no one answer to this one. It mainly depends on the roast that you are using. It can be bitter, slightly acidic, and smoky as well.

You should check out which roast you are using. If you mix dark roast coffee with espresso, you get a spicy, somewhat bitter, and nutty taste.

If the roast is a bit lighter, you get a sweeter taste. It is more balanced. In terms of the quintessential Red Eye. Moreover, there is one single reason behind all the taste and variations.

The expresso enhances the flavor and the qualities of the final brewed cup. However, if you head to any coffee shop, you will find them mixing medium roast and espresso.

You will find the sweetness of coffee and the bitterness of espresso, to be the main element of this concoction.

Now, no matter how good the concoction maybe, you have to know your limits. The FDA has approved 400 mg of caffeine as the ideal limit.

So, when you are downing cups of Red Eye, you should keep note of the fact that it has to be within the above limits.

Keep a close watch on your body. Check your heartbeat and pulse rate. If you find anything amiss, change the dosage quickly.

You can alter the amount of caffeine in your Red Eye. Additionally, there are many reasons behind choosing it.

The type of coffee bean you use has a huge effect on the taste. Robusta has more caffeine than Arabica.

Lighter roasts pack a bit more punch than harder roasts. Take the instance of the French roast. The process generally burns some of the caffeine, so it results in a lighter concoction.

You should also check the serving size as well. It can range from 6 ounces to 16 ounces. The kind of jolt you get, also depends on the serving size.

Now, you may have another common question in your mind. Can you have it with sugar or without sugar?

Well, the answer is that you can have it in any manner you want to. When you put sugar into it, it will taste sweeter without a doubt.

However, diabetics can have some reasons to enjoy, as well. Although scientifically not proven yet, coffee tends to have a positive effect on the sugar levels.

So, many diabetics are having the Red Eye Coffee, with hazelnut, cream, or cinnamon creamers.

You can also add stevia. So, there is simply no end to the experiments that you can do with your coffee here.

The dose of the espresso is as important.You can also have your Red Eye Coffee, with milk. You can also choose to have it without milk.

It tastes as good, with or without lactose. If you want to have it with milk, maintain the quantities mentioned and then just add a splash of milk.

More Fancy Coffee Drinks In The Market

Now, you will be amazed to know that there are fancier drinks, that you may also go for. The first one, that we will reveal here is the Café Au Lait.

If you happen to visit New Orleans, you will often come across this. It is coffee with hot milk. In other varieties or the simplest form of coffee, we add cold milk.

So, that is where the difference is. You will not find any foam or froth on top. However, you can experiment.

You will be amazed to know, that the French have a variation of their own. The French even have it as their go-to breakfast. You can have it with croissants, or some dark chocolate.

The Oatmeal Latte is also quite famous today. If you are a vegan, who cannot or does not want to have milk then this is for you. Oatmeal milk is the new milk in town.

This dairy-free substitute is great for people who are lactose-tolerant. So, now you can also have lattes, even if you are milk averse.

Coffee can reach you and adjust to your tastes in myriad ways. It is quite easy to make this wonderful concoction. Brew your coffee, like you generally do.

Moreover, you can use any machine which is suitable for you. Heat a cup of oatmeal milk and allow it to thicken. Pour it into the blender and whisk it. Pour espresso into the coffee mug, and then pour the hot oat milk, over it.

Cowboy Coffee is another variation of coffee drink, that is available in the market. Most cowboys on the trail have it.

It is plain and simple and does not involve too many rules. The cowboys have it by brewing some coarsely ground beans and pouring the brew into their cups.

It is the most basic form of coffee preparation. Most people from all over the world use this method.

Some say, it is the French Press type, without a filter. You can make it anywhere, Even on an open flame. If you are an adventure aficionado, you can make this, as well.

However, you should know the exact quantity that you are looking for. A good coffee mug and coffee pot befit the process.

Iced Latte is another coffee variant that is an instant hit in the market today. It is the perfect creamy, espresso drink for you.

Moreover, it is one of the most popular drinks in the market. It is a concoction of espresso, milk, and sweetener. You may even forego the sweetener part.

Furthermore, it has a much stronger and darker flavor. You can prepare it quite easily today.

Make a double shot of espresso coffee. Now, froth ¼ cup of milk. Finally, pour the espresso and maple syrup over ice.

Add the milk and then you are ready to go. Here again, you can replace the normal milk, with oat milk. It is a great vegan choice.

Frothing your milk is another trick, that most people do not do right. You can do it just right, by shaking the contents in a jar, using a handheld frother, or using a French Press.

You can also add a dollop of creamy foam separately. That is what Starbucks does.• Gibraltar Coffee is the fifth type of coffee drink, available in the market today.

It is nothing but an espresso drink, combined with steamed milk. Moreover, it is for all those who love luxury to the core.

It contains micro foam bubbles in it, along with foam. It is a Spanish Coffee drink. It contains equal parts espresso and steamed milk.

However, its main specialty is the glass, it is served in. It is called the Gibraltar glass

Quick Facts About Red Eye Coffee

  • The name was derived from the red eye that people get, on travelling long haul. To help stay awake, most passengers consumed this coffee.
  • A single cup mainly averages at 159mg-223mg. The 159 mg of extra caffeine can help you stay awake till the wee hours of the morning.
  • There are different types of the Red Eye, like Black Eye, Dead Eye and Starbucks variation, the Green Eye.
  • The main aim of these coffee drinks is to give you a jolt of energy and de-stress you.
  • The typical Red Eye is a perfectly balanced coffee, which is less bitter. You can expect it to be dark and nutty. It also depends on the type of beans you are using for the concoction.
  • You can make the coffee at home, very easily. If you have a drip coffee maker at home, it makes your task easier. An Automatic Pour Over, French Press and a Espresso Machine make the task easier.
  • Red Eye Coffee is the one with the lowest strength, amongst the three – Red, Black, Dead types.

History Of Red Eye Coffee

Coffee is something that does not really need an introduction. However, with the huge variety of coffee that is available today, you may be interested in knowing where it all started.

If you study or work till the wee hours of the morning, then caffeine should definitely be your best friend.

A Red Eye Coffee, with espresso on top, surely fits the bill. It is a highly caffeinated concoction that comes with dual strength. So, going back to where it all began.

You can go back in time to the US. It should have come from there. Moreover, it may have originated sometime in the 90s in the coffee shops in the US. However, it must have had a different name at that time.

You will be bewildered to know that Starbucks quickly added it to their already expansive menu.

Well, if you are wondering where the name red eye came from, you will know it now. It draws a resemblance to the red-eye flights, that depart from the airbase at night and land at the destination in the morning.

And it results in bloodshot eyes. So, the travellers required something to energize them. It was basically a result of the desire to cope with such long-distance flights.

Back then, such flights were a lot more uncomfortable than what they are now. The idea of the Red Eye Coffee arose from the need to stay awake.

Now, that makes you more well-acquainted with it. You will find several different variations of the Red Eye Coffee.

These can help to alleviate your mind from different levels of stress and exertion. There is the typical Red Eye, Black Eye, and Dead Eye.

Some even call another variation as the Green Eye. It depends on the number of Espresso shots present in the drink.

The Red Eye, typically contains about 159 mg of caffeine. If you need something that is much more potent, you should go for the Black Eye, then there is the Dead Eye, and so on.

The Black Eye variant contains two shots of espresso. That makes it around 223 mg caffeine.

Dead Eye contains, three shots and that translates to approximately 287 mg of caffeine. Starbucks uses the name, Green Eye. However, it is pretty much the same as Dead Eye.

In the US, the name of the coffee is governed by where you are at any given time. If you are travelling, and find yourself in Northern California, you will hear the name ‘Train Wreck’.

Now, that is an interesting name for a coffee. If you are in Alaska, you will hear it being called ‘Sludge Cup’. ‘Oil Spill’ is another name for it, and that is what people call it in Kansas.

It mainly depends on the way you prepare it, or the physical appearance. Starbucks has been calling it a part of their secret menu for quite some time now.

However, it is not a secret any longer. The Red Eye is essentially the worker’s drink today. You can consume it on the move.

Moreover, it helps you to stay productive at work. One cup is just enough to keep you alert and active for at least a few hours.

Variations of Red Eye Coffee Explained

Now that you already know the variety of red eyes on offer, you should delve deeper into its origins. If you are working in a coffee shop in NYC, you will hear only one name and that has to be Red Eye.

On the West Coast, they call it ‘shot in the dark’. You will be ordering it in the Pacific Northwest and West Coast as well.In the oil-rich region of Alaska, it is famously compared to the sludge.

You must know about the association of sludge and oil. So, the name is just apt. Now, let us define it in a bit more detail for you.

A Sludge cup is an American-made drip that does not use water. A couple of shots of espresso make it all the more enticing. ‘Mondo is a name that is likely made on the Northeast coast.

Well, that is not all. There is a pub called Horse Brass Pub in Oregon. People call it ‘Stink Eye’ there.The Double Drip, comes from Canada.

It utilizes high extraction methods, and hence the name. Now, it’s time to move on to the Hammerhead. It is one of the true caffeine fixes.

It consists of a shot of espresso, in a normal coffee cup. It is first filled with drip coffee.So, now you know the details of several variations of the Red Eye Coffee.

Various Types of Coffees

Now, you must have had the experience of standing in that queue for your favorite beverage at the coffee shop.

Arabica and Robusta are probably the two main flavors that you are acquainted with. Well! It is much more than these two.

The world of coffee is much more vast, than you think. There are numerous concoctions, like Black Coffee, Coffee Latte, Cappuccino, Americano, Espresso, Doppio, Cortado, Red Eye Coffee, Mocha, and so on.

Then, there is Irish coffee as well. You will also come across several varieties of iced coffees as well.

If that was not enough, you should also know about the different types of coffee makers that are available in the market.

Moreover, each one serves a different specialty. French Press, Percolator, Single Press, Drip, and Pour Over are to name a few. Now, that is one overwhelming lot.

Are you interested in knowing a bit about all of these? If you affirm, that is the right course for you.

Black Coffee is the simplest type of coffee. It is nothing but coffee beans soaked in warm water and served. You can also call it Café Noir, a fancy name.

Coffee Latte is the most popular drink in the market. It consists of a shot of espresso and hot, frothy milk.

You can either order it in this very same form, or with a shot of vanilla or spices. Cappuccino is another variation of the latter that contains more froth and foam than the latter.

You will find it garnished with cocoa powder or cinnamon spices. Some people also add a dollop of cream over it.

Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee and is served as a shot. Furthermore, it may serve the basis for other coffee varieties.

Doppio is a double shot of espresso. Whereas, the Cortado is the perfect blend of espresso and steamed milk.

If you are a chocolate lover, you should definitely have had Mocha. It is a chocolate espresso with steamed milk and foam.

And, for all your liquor aficionados out there, there is Irish Coffee. It is a generous concoction of black coffee, whiskey, and sugar. You will find it topped with dollops of cream.

Coming to the type of coffee maker, we will be mostly dealing in drips here. Scoop it, filter it, drop some water, and press start.

The coffee will drip right into the pot. So, now you have a fair idea about machines. However, the French Press, Espresso Machine, and Pour Over also comes in handy.

The Bottom Line

So, we have come to the conclusion that the Red Eye is a strong caffeinated drink. The caffeine content mainly depends on the serving, the coffee beans, and the way you prepare it.

The espresso shot added to the mix, are also a deciding factor. Now, you should also know about its myriad benefits.

You can gain an alert mind on having this concoction. It also reduces tiredness and improves cognition.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, this is your ideal drink. Another benefit is the antioxidant content in the same. It can help you to recharge your body in a natural and healthy manner.

So, this is one drink which you either love to have or not. It has been there in the states and elsewhere for quite some time now.

Truck drivers love it in the US, especially when they have to drive overnight and cross borders. However, many people still lack the

knowledge and skill to make it. So, they end up making a bad tasting concoction. So, that is where it has got some bad publicity from.

You can surely try it, when on the move today. It will keep you energized and strong.
Brewing and mixing take a new form when you prepare the Red Eye Coffee.

Therefore, try this lovely flavor if you want to have something interesting immediately. On the other hand, if you favor a strong coffee, such a choice will not upset you.


A coffee enthusiast from Asia keeps trying new hot beverages and sharing all his experiences with the internet. Aayush is a writer by profession who only thinks about coffee. He loves to brew and create unique recipes and share them with the public. Aayush had tried different types of coffee from different sides of the world. His favorite coffee is the Hawaiin Kona Coffee.

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