Red Eye Coffee: For People Who Can’t Function In The Morning

What exactly is a red eye coffee? Personally, I have just recently found out about its existence and I’d want to share this new discovery!

Red eye coffee is a good ol’ cup of regular drip coffee topped up with an espresso shot on top. Add more espresso shots and the coffee will be called the “black eye” or “dead eye.” All we can say is if you need to sober up, run for these coffee types ASAP!

Red eye coffee

red eye coffee

As discussed, red eye coffee is a combination of the following:

Drip coffee

Drip coffee is prepared when water drips through the grounds and is easily made with an electric drip coffee maker. With a single push of a button, you’d have your coffee in no time. One of the famous brands is the Keurig which we use to make our own red eye coffee.


With an espresso, you’d need an espresso coffee machine to have water pressurize through ground beans. The concentrated coffee the process produces is an espresso shot with crema on top. If you don’t have an espresso machine or if it’s too pricey for you, try using a moka pot.

So what is a red eye coffee for? Sometimes coffee isn’t quite enough, and I don’t know about you, but there are occasions when I feel the need to drink 4 cups of coffee, or 2 ventis from Starbucks and I dread from all the aciditc feeling I get, or the amount of liquid consumption.

So, we spike a black coffee with a shot of espresso for an extra pick-me-up. This is for those who desperately need to stay awake and need something to pull them through! Now add another shot of an espresso and you’ll have a black eye coffee. Then add another one, a total of three, then you’ll have the dead eye or green eye coffee.

Also, did you know that this is included in Starbucks’ secret menu? Try asking for it and the barista might just know exactly what to do! 


red eye

Red eye actually is a condition referring to severe and extreme exhaustion of the eye. This is something people who run long flights experience everyday! This is where the red eye coffee came to play. Thus, the purpose of the coffee is to help people experiencing a red eye situation. With the strong kick the caffeine content of a red eye coffee gives, anyone who takes it will definitely feel more alert and awake. Although this is not a very popular coffee type yet, you’ll be surprised at how some coffee shops actually do carry it!

Red eye coffee variants

I may sound like a broken record here, but let’s break the variants down one more time!

  • Red eye coffee: drip coffee + 1 espresso shot
  • Black eye coffee: drip coffee + 2 espresso shots
  • Dead eye coffee: drip coffee + 3 espresso shots 
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Quick tip: Starbucks’ green eye coffee is a regular cup of coffee with added three shots of espresso. In short, this is also known as your dead eye coffee and it really isn’t for the faint hearted!

Caffeine content

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  • Red eye coffee: 159 mg of caffeine
  • Black eye coffee: 223 mg of caffeine
  • Dead eye coffee: 287 mg of caffeine

While we already think that red eye coffee is packed with caffeine, just look at how extreme the contents of its variants are! I suggest you try red eye coffee first before trying the stronger ones just to make sure your heart can handle it!

As a rule of thumb, an adult should only consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day. Consume more than this and coffee may be more harmful than helpful! Known side effects of caffeine overdose are stomach pain, palpitations, and nervousness.

Red eye and other nomenclatures

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Now you may haven’t heard about the red eye coffee because it might actually come in a different name in your area! So here’s a list of how other regions call this cup of Joe:

  • Alaska: A sludge cup
  • Pacific Northwest, New Mexico, SW Colorado: Double shot in the dark
  • Whitemoor Mine: Wellard coffee
  • Northeast coast: Mondo
  • Kansas: Oil spill
  • North California: Train wreck
  • Orgen: Stink eye
  • Canada: Double drip
  • Elsewhere: Hammerhead

Benefits of red eye coffee

I believe that people will reach for a red eye coffee for one thing: they desperately need to be kept awake and alert for a long time! Also, if you’re not a fan of black coffee (like me!) and you need something to pull you through hours of work or studying, a red eye coffee is a great option! 


  • Enhances mental alertness
  • Enhances level of awakeness
  • Prevents dizziness


  • May lead to insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Acidic
  • Hazardous during pregnancy
  • Stomach inflammation
  • If taken regularly, may be a risk factor to cancer


You can expect any red eye coffee to taste smoky and bitter. It is acidic and has a significant brightness to it. But all these of course depend on the coffee’s roast. With a dark roast, you’ll have a nutty, spicy, and bitter cup. On the other hand, a light roast will provide you with a more balanced cup with sweet and nutty notes. But you’ll find a lot of baristas actually using medium roast for their red eye coffee! 

How to make red eye coffee DIY guide


  • 1 cup of coffee
  • 1 shot of espresso


  1. Brew your favorite coffee as per usual.
  2. Brew an espresso hot using either your French press, moka pot, or espresso machine.
  3. Pour the espresso shot on top of your coffee.
  4. Optional: add any add-ons of your choice, whether sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, or some creamer!
  5. Stir and enjoy!

Alternative coffee beans

Now if you cannot be bothered to drive out nor brew yourself some red eye coffee, you may opt to brew coffee with high caffeine content instead. These are our recommendations:

  • Black Insomnia Coffee: A cup contains 1105 mg of caffeine per 12 ounces and comes medium roasted with a strong flavor. This comes in Nespresso-compatible pods.
Black Insomnia Whole Bean Coffee - The Strongest Coffee in the World - 1lb Bag
  • Want better flavor and more caffeine than any other coffee? With Black Insomnia you’ll be more awake than you’ve ever been before!
  • Wake up! Black Insomnia Coffee has been independently verified as The Strongest Coffee in the World with 1105 mg of Caffeine per 12 fl.Oz cup
  • Caramel, hazelnut, and macadamia aromas, on top of a luxurious dark chocolate flavor - high performance coffee has never tasted this good
  • Every Black Insomnia coffee bean is roasted to perfection in a time-tested drum roaster. We roast with highest precision, so you get all the flavor and caffeine without bitterness or burn.
  • The secret to Black Insomnia’s great taste and super high caffeine is the combination of our beans and the artisanal roasting approach. We went to the ends of the earth for this powerful blend!
  • Cannonball Coffee: The strongest coffee in the UK called the Maximum Charge and is available in whole beans.
Maximum Charge Strong Coffee | Imported from the UK | 1101mg Caffeine | | Whole Bean | 1lb
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Maximum Charge Strong Coffee | Imported from the UK | 1101mg Caffeine | | Whole Bean | 1lb
  • SERIOUSLY EXTRA STRONG COFFEE – Finally, a great tasting high caffeine coffee for people who really need to get things done. Imported from the UK, our seriously strong coffee will maximize your charge and make you feel amazing and ready to face the world. One cup and you'll be hooked forever! Are you strong enough for our coffee?
  • LAB CERTIFIED STRONGEST COFFEE – Our very strong coffee contains significantly more caffeine than the 'World's Strong Coffee'. A 12oz serving of this very strong coffee provides over 1100mg of caffeine! Lab analysis reveals 2.98g of caffeine per 100g vs 1.59g/100g for 'Deathwish' (World's Strongest Coffee).
  • 100% AAA TOP RATED SINGLE-ORIGIN BEANS – We use the highest quality robusta beans from Northern Rwanda sourced from sustainable farms. These strong coffee beans in first-rate quality contain no additives, preservatives or flavouring and no blending with cheaper beans. We hand-roast in small batches for freshness and quality.
  • DELIGHTFULLY SMOOTH & GREAT-TASTING – All the depth and complexity of high-quality arabica coffee beans, but the body and crema of the best robusta coffee beans. Delicious notes of dark chocolate, toasted malts, and a caramel sweetness. We use a medium roasting profile for a sweeter flavour and more caffeine. Many other brands use a dark roast which results in a bitter and burnt tasting coffee.
  • REALLY LOW-ACIDITY & FULLY-WASHED – Perfect for making bulletproof coffee as part of a paleo diet. A brilliant source of clean energy, this coffee is a perfect and healthy alternative to pre-workout supplements.
DEATH WISH COFFEE Ground Coffee Dark Roast [16 oz.] The World's Strongest Coffee - Organic, Fair Trade, Strong Coffee Grounds from Arabica, Robusta (1-Pack)
  • WORLDS STRONGEST COFFEE: Our coffee grinds will transform your basic cup of joe into a delicious, bold, and dark coffee that will revolutionize your morning.
  • QUALITY BREW: Hands down, the best ground coffee in the world. One sip of Death Wish dark roast coffee will have you saying goodbye to store-bought forever. Enjoy high quality energy and artisanal flavor with every sip.
  • BOLD FLAVOR: Immerse yourself in a smooth, subtle, never-bitter cherry and chocolate flavor profile. We've carefully selected and expertly ground premium Arabica and Robusta coffee beans from around the world to deliver you a dark roast ground coffee beverage with a bold taste you’ll instantly fall in love with.
  • FAIR AND ORGANIC: Every 16 oz. bag is bursting with Fair Trade, USDA Certified Organic ground coffee, giving you a natural caffeine boost you can be proud to support. Organic Coffee. Strong Coffee. Death Wish Coffee.
  • TRY IT RISK-FREE: Death Wish Coffee comes highly rated by thousands of satisfied customers who can't get enough of our high caffeine coffee. But we'll let you be the judge. If you don't love our dark roast ground coffee, we'll refund your order, no questions asked.
  • Biohazard Coffee: This is made of single-origin robusta beans with 928 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce cup and is available in ground and whole beans.
Biohazard Ground Coffee, The World's Strongest Coffee 928 mg Caffeine (16 oz)
  • Biohazard coffee presents the strongest coffee on Earth.
  • 928mg of caffeine will wake you up from the deepest of sleeps, and get you through the toughest of meetings. Also great for early morning college classes or up-all-night study sessions!
  • This product is the pre-ground variety.
  • Biohazard is made with Robusta beans for a dark organic roast.
  • Our opinion is that this is the best cup of coffee with which to start your day. So please gift this to your loved ones, or drink it yourself, and see the difference!

For more strong coffees, here’s our world’s strongest coffee list & strongest K-cup list.

Strongest Starbucks coffee list for those who rather drive to get their coffee.

Last words

Now the next time you’re in dire need of something to keep you alert and awake, you’ll know what to reach out for or what to brew! Remember, try red eye coffee first before trying out its stronger variants. Happy drinking!

If you click on the Amazon link or Add to Cart and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Update: 2021-08-26


Self-proclaimed coffee drinker. I would, on a typical day, start my day by grinding my coffee with a manual grinder and use a French Press as a starter (2 cups), then a pour-over in the afternoon (4 cups). I had my fair share as a barista but I prefer to drink it, not serve it.