How to Make the Perfect Red Eye Coffee at Home

Joshua Allerton
February 21, 2024

I'm about to share a secret that'll save you countless trips to the coffee shop. It's all about mastering the art of making Red Eye Coffee at home. This potent brew, known for its eye-opening effect, combines classic drip coffee with a shot of espresso, delivering the kick you need to tackle your day.

Making it at home isn't just convenient; it's a game-changer. You'll control the strength, the quality of the beans, and, importantly, save a pretty penny in the process. Let's dive into how you can become your own barista with this simple Red Eye Coffee recipe.

Benefits of Making Red Eye Coffee at Home

When I switched to making Red Eye Coffee at home, the perks were immediately obvious. Not only did I save a significant amount of money by sidestepping daily café visits, but I also gained full control over my coffee's strength and quality. Here’s why I think brewing this potent coffee at home is a game-changer.

Tailored Strength - At home, I can adjust the strength of my Red Eye Coffee exactly to my liking. If I need an extra kick on a particularly drowsy morning, I simply add a bit more espresso. This level of customization ensures I'm always satisfied with my brew.

High-Quality Beans - Opting to brew at home means I can handpick my coffee beans. I tend to go for premium, sustainably sourced beans, which dramatically improves the taste of my coffee. It's an easy way to ensure every sip is as delicious as it is invigorating.

Cost-Effective - Let’s talk numbers. On average, a cup of artisan coffee from a café might set you back £3 to £4. In contrast, brewing a Red Eye Coffee at home costs significantly less, saving me hundreds over the course of a year. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Cost ComponentCafé PriceHome Brew Cost
Espresso Shot£2.00£0.50
Drip Coffee£1.50£0.30
Total per Cup£3.50£0.80
Annual Savings-£985 (assuming one cup per day)

Convenience - There's nothing quite like the ease of brewing a comforting cup of Red Eye Coffee in my own kitchen. It eliminates the need to queue at crowded coffee shops, especially during morning rush hours, allowing me a few extra moments of serenity before starting my day.

Becoming My Own Barista - Mastering the art of making Red Eye Coffee has given me a new hobby. I enjoy experimenting with different beans and ratios, refining my technique to craft the perfect cup each time. It’s a rewarding process that makes every sip even more satisfying.

Ingredients You'll Need

Before diving into the actual recipe, let's chat about what you'll need to whip up a Red Eye Coffee. Trust me, it's as simple as it gets, and you might already have everything in your kitchen. The beauty of this drink is in its simplicity and the punch it packs.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Freshly brewed coffee: About 240 ml or a standard cup.
  • Espresso shot: Just one, but you can adjust this based on how strong you like your coffee.
  • Optional: Sugar or any sweetener of your choice, and maybe a splash of milk or cream if that's your thing.

Getting your hands on high-quality coffee beans can make all the difference here. I always recommend shopping for beans that offer a rich, robust flavor, as this forms the backbone of your Red Eye. For the espresso, a good espresso machine can do wonders, but there are also some great stovetop options for those of us who like keeping things traditional.

  1. Brew Your Coffee: Start by brewing a standard cup of coffee. This can be from a drip coffee maker, French press, or any method you prefer. Aim for a strong brew to balance the espresso.
  2. Pull an Espresso Shot: While your coffee is brewing, get your espresso ready. If you've got an espresso machine, perfect. If not, a stovetop espresso maker can also yield great results. Once ready, pull a single shot of espresso.
  3. Combine: Pour the freshly brewed coffee into your cup first, then add the espresso shot on top. This order helps to mix the two seamlessly.
  4. Customize: Now's the time to make it yours. Add sugar, sweetener, milk, or cream to taste. Stir well.

Remember, the key to a great Red Eye Coffee lies in the quality of the beans and how you choose to brew both components. Experimenting with different beans and brewing methods can uncover new depths of flavor, making each cup a unique experience. Moreover, adjusting the ratio of coffee to espresso lets you tailor the strength to your preference, making you the master of your morning brew.

Brewing Red Eye Coffee: Step by Step Guide

Making Red Eye Coffee at home is simpler than one might think, and I've perfected a process that is both easy to follow and delivers a deliciously potent cup every morning. Here's the step-by-step guide that I swear by:

  1. Start With Quality Beans: First, you can't skimp on quality. Find yourself a good blend of coffee beans, something that matches your taste preference. I prefer a bold, dark roast for the added depth of flavour, but it's all about what tickles your palate.
  2. Brew Your Coffee: Next, brew your base. Depending on your preference and the gadgets you have at home, you can use a drip coffee maker, a French press, or any method you're comfortable with. Aim for about 8 ounces of coffee. Use the following ratios for guidance:
  • French press: 15g of coffee to 250ml of water.
  • Drip coffee maker: 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water, depending on how strong you like it.
  1. Pull an Espresso Shot: While your coffee is brewing, it's time to pull a shot of espresso. If you've got an espresso machine, you're in luck. If not, don’t fret. A stove-top espresso maker like a Moka pot does the trick just fine. The key here is to ensure it's strong and bold to give that extra kick.
  2. Combine and Customize: Pour the freshly brewed coffee into your favourite mug, followed by the espresso shot. Stir gently to combine. This is your basic Red Eye Coffee, potent and ready to drink. But here's where it gets fun—customization. Feel free to add sugar, a splash of milk, or even a dollop of cream to your liking. Sometimes, I'll add a pinch of cinnamon for a spicy twist.
  3. Taste and Adjust: Take a sip. If it's too strong, don't hesitate to dilute it with more brewed coffee or water. Remember, it's all about crafting that perfect cup to your liking.

Tips for Perfecting Your Red Eye Coffee

In my journey to craft the ultimate Red Eye Coffee, I've picked up some tricks that elevate it from good to stellar. It's a trial and error process, but these insights might just save you some time and beans.

  • Water Quality Matters: Trust me, the water you use has a huge impact. If your tap water tastes a bit off, it'll affect your coffee too. I always use filtered or bottled water to ensure there's nothing interfering with the coffee's flavour.
  • Grind Size is Key: For the base coffee, a medium grind works best in most drip coffee makers or French presses. For espresso, a fine grind is crucial to get that rich and bold shot. Consistency is everything here, so invest in a good grinder.
  • Temperature Control: Getting the water temperature right can make or break your brew. Aim for between 195°F to 205°F. Too hot, and you risk burning the coffee. Too cold, and you won't extract enough flavour.
  • Don't Skimp on the Coffee: A common mistake is using weak coffee for the base. Remember, you're adding espresso to it! I recommend using a robust dark roast for both the drip coffee and espresso to get that powerful flavor Red Eye is known for.
  • Adjust the espresso amount: Not everyone's caffeine tolerance is the same. Start with one shot of espresso and go up or down depending on your preference.
  • Sweeteners and creamers: Here's where you make it your own. Whether it's sugar, honey, or your favourite syrup, add it into the mix. A splash of milk or cream can also soften the intense coffee flavour, making it smoother.

Each cup of Red Eye Coffee I make feels like a new experiment. And with these tips, I'm closer than ever to perfecting my recipe. Whether I'm tweaking the grind size or experimenting with different sweeteners, the process is just as enjoyable as the final sip.

Enjoy Your Homemade Red Eye Coffee!

After mastering the fundamentals of water quality, grind size, temperature control, and exploring the depths of dark roasts, I'm confident in my ability to guide you through the simple, yet profoundly satisfying process of making your own Red Eye Coffee at home. Best part? It’s absolutely within your reach, and I'll show you how.


  • 240 ml (1 cup) of freshly brewed dark roast coffee
  • 30 ml (1 shot) of espresso


  • Espresso machine or coffee maker
  • Coffee grinder (if using whole beans)


  1. Begin with brewing your dark roast coffee. Aim for about 240 ml (1 cup). Remember to use filtered or bottled water for the best taste and adhere to the ideal temperature range of 195°F to 205°F.
  2. While your base coffee is brewing, grind your espresso beans to a fine consistency. This is crucial as it impacts the espresso’s extraction and overall flavour of your Red Eye.
  3. Prepare your espresso shot using your espresso machine. If you don’t have one, a stove-top espresso maker does the trick nicely as well.
  4. Pour the freshly brewed espresso shot into your cup of dark roast coffee.
  5. Here’s where it gets personal. Adjust the amount of espresso according to your preference. Some like it stronger; others may prefer a gentler kick. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

At this point, your kitchen is likely filled with the rich aroma of meticulously combined coffee beans, each element bringing its own character to create something truly unique. Whether it's the start of your day or a much-needed afternoon boost, the craftsmanship you’ve poured into this beverage is bound to make each sip all the more rewarding.

  • A pinch of brown sugar or a drop of vanilla essence can add a whole new dimension.
  • A splash of cream or a dollop of milk foam can soften the intense flavour, creating a smoother, silkier texture.


Crafting the perfect Red Eye Coffee at home is more than just a routine; it's an adventure into the world of rich flavours and aromas. I've shared the essentials - from selecting the right beans to the final touches that make your cup uniquely yours. Remember, the key lies in the details: filtered water, fine grinding, and personalising your brew with your favourite add-ons. Whether you're kickstarting your morning or need that midday pick-me-up, this coffee promises a delightful experience. So, grab your espresso, pour over that hot water, and enjoy the journey to creating your perfect Red Eye Coffee. Trust me, it's a sip worth savouring.

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