Everyone loves to start their day over a fresh cup of coffee. It gives you the much-needed boost to begin your day and keeps you alert all day long. But have you ever felt that you no longer get the same kind of kick when you drink coffee? Introducing the Eye coffees. So what are they?
Red eye coffee, black eye coffee, or dead eye coffee signify the number of espresso shots added on top of a hot brewed coffee. Red eye coffee has one espresso shot, black eye contains two espresso shots, while the dead eye includes three espresso shots for that extra kick of caffeine in the morning.
This article will explain the details of each eye coffee variety and compare each of them in terms of caffeine content and taste. We will also give out some tips on preparing eye coffees at home. So stay tuned!
Red Eye, Black Eye, Dead Eye, Normal Drip Coffee: An Overview
To understand eye coffee, you need to know what a drip coffee is first. Drip coffee is also more popularly known as the pour-over.
Brewing coffee using the filtration or dripping method is pretty straightforward. You will require an apparatus called the dripper. Most drippers are portable due to their small size and generally inexpensive.
So how do you brew coffee using this method? Pour over hot water over your freshly ground coffee beans which usually sit in a filter. It would be best to use a gooseneck kettle to help control the pour rate. Use a slow and steady pour of hot water in a spiral motion from the center and outwards. This will thoroughly saturate all the grounds evenly that helps optimal coffee extraction.
The resulting cup of coffee tends to be more vibrant, strong, and full-bodied due to the longer brewing process. Many coffee lovers vouch that the dripping method produces the best coffee out there.
Now, simply put, an eye coffee is a cup of normal drip coffee with the addition of either one, two, or three shots of espresso.
A red eye coffee drink contains one shot of espresso. It packs quite a punch, and only those who prefer strong coffee will enjoy it. You can drink it chilled or hot as per your preference.
Black eye coffee is loaded with two shots. Black eye coffee has a much stronger flavor and taste. You can change the taste, heavy or light, if you crave a caffeine kick at the end of a hectic day.
Dead eye coffee uses three espresso shots for your highest dose of caffeine. Premium coffee shops like Starbucks call it green eye coffee or triple red eye coffee.
Why are they called Red Eye Coffee, Black Eye Coffee, or Dead Eye Coffee?
As the name suggests, red eye coffee gives you that extra boost when you need it the most – that is, when you need to keep awake, but your eyes don’t want to cooperate. Typically, it helps you stay awake longer and gives you the much-needed boost to work overnight.
Some people also call this exciting beverage the ‘Hammerhead.’ The names really depend on which part of the world you are from. So it may be useful to know the names when you travel. The complete list is as follows:
- Sludge Cup (Alaska)
- Shot in the Dark (SW Colorado, New Mexico, Pacific NW)
- Train Wreck (North California)
- Mondo (NE Coast)
- Oil Spill (Kansas)
- Stink Eye (Oregon)
- Double Drip (Canada)
- Hammerhead (Other various places)
If you extrapolate this concept of the red eye coffee, the black eye and dead eye coffees only mean doubling or tripling down on the caffeine boost to help you last longer regardless of how fatigued you are. The names are just a helpful way for you to remember how much caffeine you need in terms of the espresso added into your cup of joe.
Comparing the Eye Coffees
Now that we have briefly touched on what eye coffees are let’s jump into the differences between them. We’ll go through two main differences: caffeine content and taste.
The following table illustrated the caffeine content in the various eye coffee variety.
|Eye Coffee||Caffeine in Drip Coffee||Caffeine in Espresso||Total|
|Red Eye Coffee||95 mg||64 mg||159 mg|
|Black Eye Coffee||95 mg||128 mg (64 mg x 2)||223 mg|
|Dead Eye Coffee||95 mg||192 mg (64 mg x 3)||287 mg|
On paper, the values may look excessive. Those who prefer to take heavy doses of caffeine would love these strong beverages. However, all varieties of eye coffee are safe as long as you keep your daily consumption of caffeine under the recommended limits.
Exceeding the daily limit of caffeine consumption will lead to sleep deprivation, muscle aches, and anxiety. Excess caffeine can also cause irritability, muscle tremors, stomach ache, and increased heart rate. You can read more in my article on the negative effects of caffeine.
So how much caffeine is too much? The recommended daily caffeine consumption is to keep it under 400 mg per day, a safe amount for a healthy adult. This means that you can only consume 2 cups of red eye coffee (318 mg) or 1 cup of red eye and 1 cup of black eye (382 mg) in a day. If you prefer a dead eye, you can only have 1 per day.
You will mostly find spicy, flowery, acidic, and bitter taste when testing any eye coffee. However, it is not overwhelmingly intense and bitter like what you may have in mind. The sweetness from the drip coffee helps balance the acidity and bitterness of the robust coffee rather well. All in all, you will get to taste a super-rich aromatic coffee.
The taste of red eye, black eye, and dead eye coffee have noticeable differences, to say the least. Coffee aficionados will say that the taste depends on many factors, from the quality and the roasts of the coffee beans to the temperature of the hot water and the pouring rate.
Assuming all factors are consistent amongst eye coffees, we can differentiate them on the number of espresso shots added to the coffee. In general, the more espresso shots you add, the more intense the flavor gets.
For some, if the taste seems a tad too intense, it may be best to add some additives to your eye coffee. The flavors and preferences vary from person to person, but people mostly prefer to add a bit of cream, sugar, milk, or different syrups to their cup of coffee.
Tips to Prepare Eye Coffee at Home
Here are few tips on how to prepare eye coffee at home.
Prepare all brewing equipment before starting
Make sure you prepare all the apparatus you need before you start brewing. In general, making a red eye coffee requires two brewing methods: pour-over and espresso brewing.
The simple checklist below can assists you in making sure you have all you need before starting the brewing process.
– Drip filter
– Gooseneck kettle
– Weighing scale
– Coffee grinder
– Coffee mug
|– Espresso machine|
– Coffee grinder
– Knock box
– Microfiber cloths
– Espresso cup
Remember the different grind sizes
For drip coffee, you will need medium grind size coffee grounds. Espresso typically uses a fine grind for that optimal extraction.
If you are using the same coffee grinder for both, do make sure you clear all the leftover coffee grounds in the machine before you grind the next grind size. You don’t want to end up with a mixture of grind sizes in the same container, which will spoil the flavor and taste. But if you have two different grinders, you won’t need to worry too much about this.
Alternatively, you can use pre-ground coffee beans to brew your eye coffee at home. Just make sure that you store your coffee grounds properly to last longer. I wrote another article on the best ways to store coffee beans which you can refer to.
Drip coffee followed by espresso brewing
I know it is obvious that you should prepare your drip coffee before brewing your espresso shot. But the question is, when do you start your espresso extraction?
Simple. Drip coffee takes approximately 5 minutes to brew. You should start about 30 seconds before the end of the drip coffee for the espresso brewing. If you have a timer, this will be a breeze. Just set your timer at the 4 minutes 30 seconds mark. Once it hits, start to brew your espresso shot. By the time your shot is ready, your drip coffee should be ready too.
Do adjust the timer according to which eye coffee you are making. For black eye coffee, two shots of espresso are required. At the same time, dead eye coffee needs three shots of espresso.
Is Red Eye, Black Eye, or Dead Eye Coffee Available At Starbucks?
If you don’t prefer to brew your coffee at home, you can order a red eye coffee at Starbucks.
At times, the coffee shops might not understand what an eye coffee is; if that is the case, try to order regular coffee with one or more espresso shots, and you will end up with the same thing.
You can also order a green eye coffee, which, as highlighted above, is similar to a dead eye. Some extra shots of espresso will surely give you a caffeine boost to make you feel charged for the day.
Now that you understand exactly what eye coffee is all about, you can go ahead to enjoy them within safe boundaries. Just make sure not to go over the recommended limits of daily caffeine consumption.
I hope this article has been useful to you. Do remember the tips and advice provided in the article and relish your cup of eye coffee.