Content Summary

If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you’ve probably tried or heard of red-eye coffee. But what exactly is it, and how is it different from black eye coffee, dead eye coffee, and Americano? Read on for an overview of the caffeinated drinks that will pop your eyes wide open!

What Is Red Eye Coffee?

Red-eye coffee is simply a cup of regular brewed coffee with an added shot of espresso in it. The name “red eye” comes from the fact that it contains two different types of caffeine. The espresso shot gives it a dark, reddish hue.

The extra espresso shot gives the drink more caffeine and a more intense flavor. This type of coffee is perfect for those who want to get their energy up but don’t prefer a strong espresso on its own.

You can also customize your red eye by adding cream or sugar (or both!) to make it more palatable.

The Differences

1. Red Eye vs. Black Eye Coffee

Black-eye coffee differs from a red-eye in that it's made with two shots of espresso. However, instead of regular brewed coffee, the black-eye uses drip-brewed coffee for a more intense flavor profile.

Because the black-eye has two shots instead of one, it can be quite strong and bitter for some people. As such, it packs even more caffeine than regular red-eye, perfect for those who need an extra jolt in the morning.

The name "black eye" comes from the fact that it contains two shots of espresso and a darker color than the red eye.

2. Red Eye vs. Dead Eye Coffee

Dead-eye coffee is similar to the black eye except…you guessed it—it has three shots of espresso instead of two! This version has even more caffeine, making it even stronger than both regular red-eye and black-eye coffees.

Those who want an ultra-boost may find this option appealing but it should be consumed with caution. Remember to take breaks throughout the day so they don't experience any negative effects from too much caffeine consumption in a short period.

The name "dead-eye" comes from the fact that it contains three shots of espresso, which can make you feel like you've been hit by a truck!

3. Red Eye vs Americano

An Americano is made by adding hot water to an already brewed shot(s) of espresso.

This beverage does not contain as much caffeine as either red or black eye or dead eye, and therefore may be better for those who prefer much less intense flavors or simply want something different than their usual cup of joe in the morning.

How To Make A Red Eye Coffee

Red-eye coffee is a unique and delicious way to get your daily dose of caffeine. All you need are some freshly ground beans, hot water (preferably filtered), a regular or drip coffee maker, and an espresso machine or Moka pot.


  • 2 ounces espresso
  • 6 ounces of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee beans


Making a red eye using an espresso machine:

  1. Set the espresso machine to double strength and brew two ounces of espresso.
  2. Meanwhile, measure two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee and add it to the drip filter, add hot water.
  3. When the espresso is ready, set it aside.
  4. Once the regular (or drip) coffee is done, fill it into the cup or mug.
  5. Add the brewed espresso on top of the regular or drip coffee cup.
  6. Stir and enjoy.

Making a red eye using a Moka pot:

  1. Fill the Moka pot's lower chamber with hot water.
  2. Add two tablespoons of freshly espresso ground coffee to the filter basket.
  3. Place the Moka pot on the stove over medium-high heat.
  4. Meanwhile, measure two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee, add it to the drip filter, add hot water, and wait.
  5. Once the drip coffee is done, fill it into the cup or mug.
  6. Once the moka pot starts to simmer, remove it from the heat and pour what is now a single shot of espresso into your cup.
  7. Add the brewed espresso on top of the brewed regular or drip coffee cup.
  8. Stir and enjoy.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you want to sweeten up your red eye, add a little sugar, milk, or cream.
  • You can add ice cubes to your red-eye to make it a cool and refreshing drink.
  • For a really strong cup of coffee, make a dead-eye coffee with a three-part ratio of espresso, and one-part dripping coffee.
  • For a cappuccino-like drink, try adding a dollop of foam on top.
  • Experiment with different ratios until you find what you like best!
Specialty Coffee Drinks Explained - What is a Red Eye? | FreshGround Roasting

Each type offers something unique and delicious so why not try them all out until you find your favorite? Whether you opt for the red-eye, black-eye, dead-eye, or Americano option, you can rest assured knowing that your coffee will be full of flavor and extra energy.

Need an espresso machine or a coffee espresso combo machine? Check out the below blog post to find your favorite gadget among our top picks of 5 best coffee and espresso maker combos.

Best Coffee And Espresso Maker Combo: Your Barista Bundle
Making a great cup of coffee is an art form. The best coffee and espresso maker combo is your way to create daily delicious drinks. Pick yours now!

Get brewing and get your caffeine fix today!

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