Red eye (drink)

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A red eye is a fortified coffee drink in which espresso is combined with normal drip brew coffee.[1] It is known by various names, some of which refer to different variants. Drip coffee to which espresso is added may be called a Red Eye (1), Black Eye (2), Dead Eye (3), depending on the number of espresso shots added.[2]

While "black eye" was named for the appearance of the circular black marking caused by pouring the shot on the top of the cup of coffee with cream, the "red eye" was named for the extra added zip needed to stay awake through an overnight "red eye" flight from the West Coast to New York City or Washington, D.C..[citation needed]

Alternative names[edit]

The red eye has many monikers, depending on the region:

  • In the upper midwest, this drink is ubiquitously referred to as a depth charge. This term is actually a federally registered trademark of Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee, which has led to some legal issues with other coffee shops using the term on their menu or in advertising. [3]
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, it is often known as a sledgehammer or hammerhead.
  • In Alaska, it is known as a sludge cup, possibly in reference to the state's large petroleum industry (see oil sludge).[4]
  • In the Pacific Northwest, a single and double shot is known as a shot in the dark and a double shot in the dark respectively.[5]
  • At Dunkin' Donuts, the drink is known as a turbo, and is available either hot or iced.[6]
  • In some regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, a dead eye is called an Al Pacino due to his enjoyment of coffee drinks and his participation in a Vittoria Coffee commercial in 2010.
  • In the german area in Baden-Württemberg the red eye is also called Sell-Le Blanc Normal.
  • US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan refer to the drink as a MOAC (Mother of all coffee) in a play on the name of the GBU-43/B (Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb) MOAB, colloquially referred to as the "Mother Of All Bombs".
  • A weaker variant on the drink is the lazy eye, a shot of espresso is added to decaffeinated coffee.
  • At Sonic Drive-ins, the drink is known as a Sonic Boom, a shot of espresso added to shake or coffee.
  • At Leoni Coffee, the name given to a Espresso Shot added to Brewed coffee is a very particular one Lion Roar - Since there's no possibility for anyone to fall asleep at the roar of a Lion.


  1. ^ Arndorfer, Travis; Kristine Hansen (2006). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea. Penguin. p. 122. ISBN 978-1-59257-544-2. 
  2. ^ "Coffee Terms - Drinks and Recipes". Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  3. ^ "Brewing up controversy: Beaner's Central forced to remove popular espresso drink from menu". Northland's News center. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Anchorage Press[dead link]
  5. ^ "Seattle Food and Beverage Coffee and Espresso Lingo". Go Northwest. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Dunkin' Donuts Fuels Customers with New Turbo Hot Coffee". Dunkin' Donuts. 15 March 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2013.