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What is Red Eye, Pros & Cons – Ultimate Guide for Red Eye Lovers


In a world with a range of coffee drinks combined with the regional variations and names there seems to be an unlimited number of drinks out there with coffee beans as their main ingredient. There are many different kinds of espresso drinks out there. One of these drinks is Red Eye which is also known as a Trainwreck or a Shot in the Dark depending on which part of America you order it in. This drink takes its name from the red eye flights which themselves are named after, well, the red eyes of passengers after travelling all night.

What is Red Eye?

A Red Eye is the best of both worlds in that it has both regular brewed coffee and espresso. If you add just one shot of espresso to a cup of slow brewed drip coffee you have yourself a red eye. There are variations of this drink depending on how many shots of espresso are added. A double shot creates Black Eye while three shots of espresso make Dead Eye. Starbucks, of course, has its own version of Dead Eye known as Green Eye.

Texture and Taste of Red Eye

The main ingredients are water and ground coffee brewed in two different ways. Most of the taste will depend on the roast and the coffee bean that has been used to make the base coffee and you can get a wide variety of flavor profiles from chocolatey to spiced to floral. The espresso will also add to the flavor and for it the flavor and consistency also depends on the brewing ratio and temperature used by the barista. Mostly it will lie on the stronger side of the spectrum.

How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Red Eye?

A Red Eye is known for its caffeine content as it is meant to keep you awake through the night (or day). The caffeine range differs from bean to bean or from one coffee house to the next but if we were to generalize usually one cup of regular coffee is 8 ounces and has 95 mg of caffeine while one shot of espresso which is 1 ounce has 64 mg of caffeine. Combined this makes 159 mg of caffeine in a cup of Red Eye.

How to Make Red Eye

Once you have your cup of coffee ready, you pull a shot of espresso. For a Red Eye you add the coffee to the cup first and then pour the espresso in it.

Types of Red Eye Makers

A good espresso machine can range from a 100 bucks and go upto 7 grand whereas a regular coffee machine can even be under $ 25. It all depends on your requirements and whether you need it for domestic or commercial use.

Pros and Cons of Red Eye

Here’s what’s good and what’s bad about a Red Eye:


  • Coffee is a great antioxidant
  • It may help in losing weight
  • It keeps you focused and alert
  • Coffee can boost your immunity
  • Espresso has a lot of nutritional benefits like niacin and riboflavin


  • Red Eye can be dangerous if consumed abundantly in a short duration
  • It may exacerbate or cause insomnia
  • It can make you restless and overstimulate your nerves
  • Espresso machines can be expensive
  • In large quantities it can lead to digestive issues

Red Eye vs Black Eye

A Black Eye is just a variation of a Red Eye. While a Red Eye has one shot of espresso, a Black Eye has a double shot. The name comes from the black ring that the espresso makes on top of a coffee with cream.

Benefits of Having Red Eye

A Red Eye has the best of both worlds: it has the great taste and caffeine content of an espresso and the...well caffeine content of regular coffee. While a Red Eye is quite alright, consume Dead Eye at your own risk.