How to Brew Red Eye, Black Eye, And Dead Eye Coffee At Home

Last Updated on May 23, 2022 by John Moretti

Have you ever found yourself needing an extra punch of caffeine that regular filter coffee or your standard americano cannot provide? In these hard situations, it is beneficial to know how to brew intensely strong, highly caffeinated coffee drinks to help boost you through those late nights or early mornings. The best drinks to do this are the Red Eye, the Black Eye, and the Dead Eye.

To brew a Red Eye, add a single shot of espresso a mug of brewed filter coffee. A Black Eye is made with two shots of espresso added to a mug of filter coffee. The Dead Eye is a combination of a large volume of filter coffee and triple espresso. The Dead Eye should be slightly diluted with water.

Brewing a very strong cup of coffee is not always easy, and brewing something that is strong enough to be called a Dead Eye requires a combination of techniques and methods. However, creating these very strong drinks to get you through difficult moments of fatigue is not as complicated as it may seem. Let’s learn how to brew a Red Eye, a Black Eye, and a Dead Eye coffee.

The Tools Required

pour over and espresso machine

Before learning the steps and processes required to brew a Red Eye, Black Eye, or Dead Eye coffee, it is important to understand what you need to prepare these drinks.

Brewing any of these over-caffeinated drinks requires a good pour-over brewer or drip coffee maker and an espresso machine. Without having both of these types of brewers, making one of these drinks is not as good or as strong as it should be.

To prepare for brewing, preheat your espresso machine, set up your pour-over brewer, rinse your coffee filters, grind coffee for both processes, grab a mug, and prepare yourself for an intense experience.

How To Brew Over-Caffeinated Drinks

Brewing a highly caffeinated drink is one of the best ways to pick yourself up and keep on going during periods of fatigue or late nights of work, study, or travel. The origin of these drinks is not fully known, but the story is that the original Red Eye was developed for travelers suffering from jet lag.

Brewing a Red Eye, a Black Eye, or a Dead Eye coffee is not a complicated process, but there is a trick for getting the most out of each of these drinks. 

Let’s learn how to brew each of these drinks and understand how to make them taste as good as possible without losing any strength or intensity.

How To Brew A Red Eye

Filter Coffee

The definition of a Red Eye coffee is a full mug of filter coffee, prepared either by a pour-over brewer or a drip coffee maker, combined with a single shot of espresso.

This is the least intense of the espresso-based filter coffee combinations, but it provides more than enough kick to keep you going.

To prepare a Red Eye coffee, brew a full mug of filter coffee. Do not go through any extra steps to make the coffee stronger. Follow the process that you normally would for preparing a regular cup of coffee; just be sure to leave extra space in the mug.

Once the coffee is brewed, add a single shot of espresso to the mug. This addition makes the beverage taste more like an up-dosed americano than a stronger filter coffee, but the effects are very noticeable. 

This coffee is still smooth, rich, and delicious, but it has all of the caffeine and intensity of both types of coffee combined. There is not much to do to improve the taste of this drink, as if you made the coffee well, combining them should taste greater than the sum of the parts.

How To Brew A Black Eye 

Photo of black kona coffee in blue cup and saucer with

A Black Eye coffee is similar to a Red Eye, but this drink includes a double shot of espresso. The Black Eye version of this coffee is more intense and much more flavorful than the Red Eye.

To prepare a Black Eye coffee, brew a mug of filter coffee as normal. Be sure to allow the coffee to brew to completion and cool slightly before brewing your double espresso. Adding a double espresso to an already hot mug of filter coffee will make the drink too hot to sip.

Once the filter coffee is ready, pull a double shot of espresso and add it to the mug. Stir the drink vigorously, as the much more dense and thick espresso will sink to the bottom of the mug. This drink will taste very intense, and without stirring the drink before sipping could leave you with a very bitter tasting the last gulp. 

Adding milk, cream, or sugar to the Black Eye is a common way to mitigate the intensity of the drink. However, if you brew this coffee well, it should still just taste like an intensely strong americano.

How To Brew A Dead Eye 

Espresso Machine for Home Use

The Dead Eye is the most intense, caffeinated version of this drink. Only brew a Dead Eye under extreme circumstances and be careful not to drink too many of these in succession. 

The intensity of this drink is provided by three shots of espresso. This is more espresso than is typically added to any espresso-based drink, which is likely to make this drink the strongest coffee you will ever experience.

The best way to brew a Dead Eye is to brew a very large mug of filter coffee. Find the biggest mug or thermos that you have and fill it with filter coffee. Do not make the coffee any stronger than you normally would, but rather dilute the coffee slightly by brewing it into a larger vessel.

Once prepared, add three shots of espresso to the vessel of filter coffee. Diluting the filter coffee mitigates the intensity of the espresso in the beverage, but this drink will still taste very intense and harsh. 

Stir the drink vigorously and add milk and sugar if required. The purpose of this drink is not to taste good but rather to put as much caffeine into your system as possible, so do not expect to have a good-tasting mug from a Dead Eye.


Brewing any of these drinks is easy to do at home, provided you have the correct machines and brewers for the process. The Red Eye and Black Eye versions will taste good if they are brewed well, but the Dead Eye version will always be harsh. Try diluting the Dead Eye with hot water to make it more drinkable.

Take your time when brewing these drinks, always stir the espresso into the filter coffee, and be sure to use a vessel large enough to contain your drink. These are the basic principles of brewing over-caffeinated coffee drinks at home.