What Is Red Eye Coffee And How Does It Taste?

Double shot of espresso being poured
Double shot of espresso being poured - Nimito/Shutterstock

Do you know those days when you're simply too tired to head to work or hit the gym? You grab one coffee and then another, but your eyes are still heavy. One solution is the so-called red eye coffee, which will give you that extra caffeine kick to start your day on a high note. It's strong enough to wake you up but has a smooth taste that will delight your taste buds.

This beverage consists of regular drip coffee topped with an espresso shot and boasts around 160 milligrams of pure caffeine per cup. By comparison, standard brewed coffee has 96 milligrams. "Red eye coffee is for when you're writing a paper at 12 AM that's due in 8 hours, and you've been up for the last 36," says a Reddit user.

You may have already tried this drink — but under a different name. For example, Alaskans refer to it as a "sludge cup," but if you travel to the West Coast, you'll find it listed on menus as a "shot in the dark." As far as flavor goes, the red eye has a bold, rich aroma with bitter notes. However, its taste may vary depending on the roast level and other ingredients you add to the mix.

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Red Eye Coffee Has A Strong Yet Smooth Flavor

Iced coffee in glass
Iced coffee in glass - VasiliyBudarin/Shutterstock

A red eye coffee has a more robust flavor than your regular cup of joe. The bitter notes from the espresso and the smoother, more mellow flavors of the drip coffee create a unique aroma that awakens your senses. Some coffee shops add not one but two espresso shots, resulting in an even stronger flavor. However, this beverage is usually referred to as black-eye coffee. Another version is the green eye, or "triple death," which calls for three shots of espresso plus regular coffee.

The red eye is typically served black, but you may add sugar, cream, or other ingredients to your liking. An iced red eye is made with brewed coffee, espresso, ice, and chilled cream. But you can skip the cream and top your coffee with caramel, vanilla, lavender, or cinnamon syrup for extra flavor (and, in some cases, another caffeine boost). Some recipes also call for milk, which can give the coffee a velvety texture and mellow out its bitterness.

Generally, using the same type of coffee for both the espresso and the base coffee is recommended to get a clean, balanced flavor. Some coffees are best for a cold brew, whereas others are perfect for a hot brew. While the original recipe calls for a single espresso shot, you can add more or less to adjust the flavor intensity.

This Popular Beverage Has A Surprising Origin

Man drinking coffee on plane
Man drinking coffee on plane - LightField Studios/Shutterstock

As surprising as it may seem, this coffee drink has ties to the aviation industry. In the 1960s, many Americans who embarked on long cross-country or international trips booked flights that departed at night. These flights were usually rather pricey but had several perks, such as larger seats and fancy meals. Dreary-eyed passengers who traveled through the night would often arrive at their destinations tired, causing a red-eye, sleep-deprived look.

The beverage, or at least its name, may also have something to do with the so-called red-eye trains common in the United Kingdom, China, and other countries in the 1980s. They left the station in the middle of the night and spent more than half a day in transit, leaving travelers feeling drained at the end of the trip.

This caffeinated drink became mainstream and is now widely available in pubs, coffee shops, and tea rooms worldwide. Though it's important to monitor your caffeine intake, a red eye occasionally is a nice change from your standard coffee order.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.