What Is Black Eye Coffee & Does It Have More Caffeine Than Red Eye?

Three out of every four Americans start their day with a jolt of caffeine from coffee, and a whopping 87% of Americans consider themselves obsessed with coffee, according to Drive Research. So considering Starbucks enjoyed $8.4 billion in revenue in Q4 of 2022, it's safe to say consumers love waking up to a cup of joe.

What varies from person to person, however, is everyone's individual coffee order. Espresso, lattes, and black coffee are some of the most popular coffee drinks out there, while chains like Dunkin Donuts also serve up fun holiday menu beverages like the Toasted White Chocolate Signature Latte. 

But for those who aren't looking for a fancy, milkshake-sweet drink to get their caffeine fix, some menus also offer the red eye. As you may expect from a drink that conjures an image of a sleep-deprived person with blood-shot eyes, a red eye hardly sacrifices caffeine content — the typical red eye is a cup of coffee topped with a singular espresso shot.

Does that still sound too wimpy to get you through your all-nighter? You may want to try a black eye instead, although it's hard to tell from the name alone if the drink contains more or less caffeine than a red eye — so let's find out.

A black eye doubles down on espresso

People typically get black eyes from getting punched in the face. So how exactly does that correlate to caffeine content in a coffee drink? Some speculate that the beverage was named because every sip makes you feel like you're getting punched in the face, and considering how much caffeine is in a black eye, the name seems appropriate. 

While a red eye adds one shot of espresso to a cup of coffee, a black eye adds two. Considering the average espresso shot has 64 milligrams of caffeine, and every 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 96 milligrams of caffeine, you're getting a good 224 milligrams of caffeine in every black eye you order.

That's well below the FDA's recommendation of consuming less than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day to avoid negative effects, but only two black eyes would put you over that limit. However, if you're looking to consume your caffeine as efficiently as possible, you'll certainly drink less liquid with a black eye than, say, three cups of coffee. If you really need a boost of energy, you can even dabble in a dead eye, which adds three espresso shots to a cup of coffee (also called a green eye at Starbucks).

And while all these different eye-colored coffees sound sure to get the job done, there's no shame in sticking with your Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino if you don't need that much caffeine.