What is a Black Eye Coffee

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Coffee. Itโ€™s more than just a morning ritual or a pick-me-up. It’s an experience, and for those who crave a more potent caffeine kick, black eye coffee has become the go-to option. Dive into the world of black eye coffee, learn its origins, preparation methods, and what sets it apart from its coffee counterparts.

Key Takeaways

  • A Potent Mix: Black eye coffee melds brewed coffee with two espresso shots for a deep flavor and caffeine boost.
  • Name Origins: Named for the espresso-induced “black eye” appearance in the coffee.
  • Easy Prep: Make black eye coffee using a 4:1 ratio of brewed coffee to espresso, adjustable to taste.
  • Diverse Ingredients: Beyond brewed coffee and espresso, add dairy, sweeteners, or spices for flair.
  • Caffeine Packed: With around 224mg of caffeine in an 8 oz cup, it rivals many energy drinks.

What is a BlackEye?

A black eye coffee is a powerful mix that blends two shots of espresso with a regular cup of drip coffee. This creates a drink with a bold taste and a high caffeine content. It’s ideal for people who want a strong caffeine boost and prefer their coffee without any extras like milk or sugar.

My Personal Brush with Black Eye Coffee

In 2006, while working close to the lively UC Santa Barbara campus at the Goleta Starbucks, I was introduced to the term “Black Eye”. The early hours saw a steady stream of college students, still bearing the signs of the previous night’s escapades, eager for their caffeine remedy.

Hungover College Student Drinking A Black Eye Coffee In A Starbucks Paper Cup
Said college student.

Their choice was unequivocal: The Black Eye coffee. Its powerful caffeine kick was the precise antidote for their morning haze, prepping them for the day ahead and helping shake off remnants of their nocturnal endeavors.

Origin of Black Eye Coffee

While the exact roots of black eye coffee remain shrouded in mystery, it’s believed to have evolved from its sibling, the red eye coffee. The latter combines drip coffee with just one espresso shot.

Some say the moniker “black eye” also stems from the sensation of a caffeine jolt, akin to a playful punch in the faceโ€‹โ€‹. Itโ€™s this bold experience that many caffeine-seekers adore.

The nicknames for Black Eye Coffee include:

  • Double Shot in the Darkโ€‹ (most common)
  • Drip with 2 shots (more common)
  • Sling Blade
  • Hammerhead
  • Autobahn
  • Cafรฉ Tobio
  • Golden Nugget
  • Shot Put
  • Depth Charge

How to Make Black Eye Coffee at Home

  1. Begin with Basics: Start by brewing a standard cup of coffee. Whether you’re a fan of the drip machine, the pour over, or the French press, the choice is yours.
  2. Espresso Time: If you own an espresso machine, pull two sharp shots. If not, donโ€™t worry! You can use a Moka pot or a French press to brew super-strong coffee as a replacement.
  3. Combine & Stir: Pour the espresso or the strong coffee into the brewed coffee, maintaining a 4:1 ratio. Adjust this based on your taste preference.
  4. Finishing Touches: Though optional, consider adding milk, sugar, or even a sprinkle of spices like cinnamon for an elevated taste experience.

Remember, the essence of black eye coffee lies in its strong, robust flavor. So, if you’re not using an espresso machine, ensure that your alternative brewing method produces a potent, rich coffee.

Pouring Rich Espresso From A Moka Pot Into Hot Coffee, Thus Creating A Black Eye
Pouring rich espresso from a Moka pot into hot coffee, thus creating a black eye

Key Ingredients

While simplicity is at the heart of black eye coffee, its two foundational ingredients are:

  • Brewed Coffee: Typically a medium to dark roast to complement the espresso’s strength.
  • Espresso: Two hearty shots, either as doubles or two singles, for that added punch.

Feel free to explore variations with additional elements like milk, cream, sweeteners, or even spices. The choice is yours.

Caffeine Content in Black Eye Coffee

Now, to the core โ€“ caffeine content:

  • An 8 oz cup of this invigorating drink houses approximately 224mg of caffeine.
  • 8 oz brewed coffee delivers around 95mg of caffeine.
  • The two espresso shots add a combined 128mg of caffeine.

By comparison, an 8.4 oz can of Red Bull offers 75mg caffeine, making the black eye coffee a formidable choice for those seeking a caffeine surge.

However, remember that caffeine concentrations can fluctuate based on the beans chosen and the brewing techniques employed.


At the crossroads of tradition and intensity stands the black eye coffee. Its profound flavor profile combined with an enviable caffeine content makes it a preferred choice for many, from students pulling all-nighters to professionals needing that extra jolt. Always consume responsibly and be conscious of your caffeine intake. When relished in moderation, black eye coffee can be a delightful addition to oneโ€™s coffee repertoire.


What’s the primary difference between black eye and red eye coffee?

Black eye coffee includes two shots of espresso, whereas red eye has just one.

Are there other names for black eye coffee?

Yes! It’s also known as “depth charge,” “hammerhead,” and “double-shot in the dark.”

How much caffeine is in an 8 oz cup of black eye coffee?

Approximately 224mg, making it a powerful caffeine source compared to many other beverages.

Can I add other ingredients to my black eye coffee?

Absolutely. Dairy, sweeteners, and spices like cinnamon can elevate the flavor.

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.