What Is Red Eye Coffee?

Today, we are back with another coffee drink that isn’t quite commonly known, red eye coffee.

While it’s certainly an odd name for a coffee drink, we can ensure you that red eye coffee is an actual coffee drink that you can order at the coffee shop. In fact, red eye coffee is part of the secret menu at Starbucks. Even though you won’t find the drinks that are on the secret menu on the actual menu, it’s possible to order them by simply asking your barista.

So, what is this red eye coffee?

Simply put, red eye coffee is a coffee drink that is prepared by adding a shot of espresso to a cup of brewed coffee. As you can imagine, a cup of red eye coffee is quite heavily packed with caffeine, making it a fantastic option for those who are looking for some strong coffee.

How Much Caffeine Is in a Red Eye Coffee?

As combining a shot of espresso with a cup of brewed coffee amounts to a crazy amount of coffee in a cup, it’s impossible not to question the amount of caffeine contained within such a drink. 

We know that some of you are already excited about drinking a cup of red eye coffee to get your morning going, but you should know the amount of caffeine you are intaking before you do so.

Fortunately, we can easily find out the amount of caffeine contained in a cup of red eye coffee by doing some simple calculations so that you can adjust your coffee intake accordingly.

For our calculations, let’s assume a standard 8 oz cup of coffee that consists of 1 oz (a shot) of espresso and 7 oz of drip coffee.

A shot (1 oz) of espresso contains roughly 64 milligrams of caffeine, and 1 oz of drip coffee contains roughly 12 milligrams.

From these figures, we can say that 7 oz of drip coffee contains 84 milligrams of coffee. If we add the 64 milligrams that come from the shot of espresso, we can find out that a cup of red eye coffee contains roughly 148 milligrams of caffeine.

Compared to a regular cup of drip coffee, a cup of red eye contains roughly 1.5 times the caffeine amount, meaning that for every two cups of red eye coffee, you would be getting slightly more than three drip coffee cups worth of caffeine.

Why Is It Called a Red Eye Coffee?

We can all agree that red eye coffee is a bit of an odd name for a coffee drink. That being said, you will find that the explanation behind it to be quite reasonable, even though you would have never expected to hear it.

The name of red eye coffee comes red eye flights, which are flights that depart at night and arrive in the morning. Essentially, the term red-eye stems from having red eyes as a result of tiredness, which is the actual reason behind these flights being called red eye flights.

As a cup of red eye coffee contains a considerably higher amount of caffeine compared to most other coffee drinks, the name choice ties in nicely, with a cup of red eye coffee providing you the caffeine boost you require to get through your red eye flight. Even though most of us prefer to sleep through long flights nowadays, the name is most likely here to stay.

What Is a Black Eye Coffee?

You’ll be surprised to hear that black eye coffee isn’t the only one in this category as a coffee drink called black eye coffee also exists. While it is indeed quite similar to red eye coffee, there is a small difference between these two drinks.

In the case of black eye coffee, two shots of espresso are added to a cup of brewed coffee instead of one. Naturally, this difference makes it so that a cup of black eye coffee is even stronger than a cup of red eye coffee.

Once again, let’s quickly calculate the caffeine content of a cup of black eye coffee and see how it compares to a cup of red eye coffee in terms of caffeine.

By using the same figures from earlier, we can say that 6 oz of drip coffee has roughly 72 milligrams of caffeine. The two shots of espresso add up to 128 milligrams of caffeine, which brings the total caffeine content of the drink to 200 milligrams of caffeine.

Comparing a cup of black eye coffee to a cup of drip coffee, we can say that a cup of black eye coffee has slightly more than twice (200 mg vs. 96 mg) the caffeine content of a regular cup of drip coffee.

What Is a Dead Eye Coffee?

You might ve thought that we were done after black eye coffee, but not yet. While combining a cup of drip coffee with two shots of espresso is a lot of coffee already, dead eye coffee takes it one step forward.

As you may have predicted, three shots of espresso are added to a cup of brewed coffee in the case of dead eye coffee, making it stronger than black eye coffee. 

To be honest, even as lovers of coffee, we can’t really imagine drinking a cup of drip coffee that contains three shots of espresso in it. Even if we put the insanely high caffeine content aside, the taste of the coffee is way too overwhelming to enjoy.

Speaking of caffeine, let’s get down to the caffeine calculation to see how a cup of dead eye coffee compares to a cup of red eye coffee, and a cup of regular drip coffee.

Once again, we will use the same figures we have been using throughout this article. Starting with the drip coffee, we can calculate that 5 oz of drip coffee contains 60 milligrams of caffeine. Three shots of espresso amount to 192 milligrams of coffee, bringing the total caffeine content of a cup of dead eye coffee to 252 milligrams in total.

Compared to a regular cup of drip coffee, a cup of dead eye coffee has slightly more than 2.5 times the caffeine.

Compared to a cup of red eye coffee, a cup of dead eye coffee has roughly 1.7 times the caffeine. What this means is that if you have two cups of dead eye coffee, you intake more caffeine than you would with 3 cups of red eye coffee.

That being said, having two cups of dead eye coffee would cause you to exceed the recommended caffeine intake amount for an adult, which is why you should limit yourself to a single cup of dead eye coffee at most.

What Is a Green Eye Coffee?

Finally, there is green eye coffee.

If you’re worried about green eye coffee having four shots of espresso in it, don’t be. Quite frankly, we can’t think of a single person in the world who can handle such a drink anyway.

Green eye coffee is the Starbucks version of dead eye coffee. Aside from the name, there aren’t any differences between a green eye coffee or a dead eye coffee, except the fact that you will only hear it be called green eye at a Starbucks.

Aside from green eye coffee, you can also order a black eye coffee or a red eye coffee at Starbucks if you wish to, in either iced or hot forms.

Making a Red Eye, Black Eye, or a Dead Eye Coffee at Home

While making a cup of “eye” coffee will require you to have both an espresso maker and a brewed coffee maker, it’s rather easy if you already have access to the equipment.

All you have to do is to make enough brewed coffee to fill a cup while leaving enough room for the espresso to come in, and then dump the espresso shots into your cup depending on the drink you decided to prepare.

As a reminder, a red eye contains a single espresso shot, a black eye contains two, and a dead eye contains three.

Conclusion

A red eye coffee is definitely an outlier both with its caffeine content and its name.

While a cup of red eye coffee may prove to be too strong for most coffee lovers, we know that there are those of you who would love to have a coffee drink that is even stronger than a regular cup of black coffee. 

That being said, whether you’re enjoying a black eye, red eye, or a dead eye coffee, don’t forget to be careful about the amount of caffeine you’re intaking.

Have a great day, and enjoy your coffee!