Starbucks red eye vs. Americano: which one is better?

Starbucks has its unique jargon and one word you will hear is the red eye. When I first heard about it, I was curious to see what it was all about, so I embarked on small research, only to discover that it simply meant a single shot of espresso added to drip coffee. I have often heard the debate about the red eye being similar to the Americano, but the difference is apparent from how it’s prepared to its taste. In this post, we shall look at the differences between these two drinks. By the end, we shall tell you which one is better, so keep reading.

What are the differences between Starbucks red eye vs. Americano?


Red Eye



Single espresso, drip coffee

Double espresso, hot water

Taste Profile

Earthy, with sweet notes

Caramel sweet

Caffeine content

225mg per Grande, 15 calories,0 fat, 0 sugar

158mg per short, 12 calories, o fat 1g carbs, 0 sugar




Starbucks red eye vs. Americano- How they compare

Starbucks red eye vs. Americano

What it’s made of (ingredients)

The Starbucks Americano is one of the most basic coffee that is made with a double espresso and hot water. It can be consumed as it is or added with sweeteners. The hot water is added quickly to foam a light layer called crema.

On the other hand, the red eye is a single shot of espresso added to drip coffee. The difference between the red eye and the Americano is the lack of hot water in the former.

In this category, the red eye takes the lead as it has some substantial ingredients that make a difference in its taste.

Taste Profile

The Starbucks Americano is hot water and two espresso shots. The espresso is a medium roast and has notes of caramel sweetness, with an intense, bold coffee flavor. The Starbucks espresso is strong with an earthy flavor that prevails in the Americano.

The red eye has a different taste from the Americano. It comes between a dark roast and a medium roast flavor. This stems from the strong espresso that meets a mild drip coffee flavor. In the end, you will taste a balanced, rich earthy taste.

In this category, the red eye takes the lead. The flavor is richer, fuller, and bolder compared to the Americano.

Caffeine content/Nutritional Value

A Grande Starbucks Americano comes in a whopping 14.06mg of caffeine per ounce and 15 calories per Grande. This is not the highest in caffeine as there are drinks that come with 18mg. If you ask for a Grande, you will consume 225mg of caffeine. This serving has no fat, no sugar, and contains 1g of proteins. It also comes with 10mg of sodium.

The red eye short serving gives you a comfortable 158mg of caffeine. An espresso gives you 63mg, and the drip coffee gives you the remaining 95mg. The same serving gives you 12 calories and 0 fat and sugar. You will also get 1g of carbs.

In this category, the red eye takes the day due to its superior caffeine content. The nutritional value, however, is the same for both drinks.


Starbucks will always have an Americano no matter what time of the day and season you order it. Starbucks makes sure that it has a stable supply of coffee beans throughout the year.

The red eye is also available all year round. This is because you will always find espresso and drip coffee at Starbucks.

In this category, we get a draw as both drinks are easily accessible and available throughout the year.

Starbucks Red Eye Vs. Americano: A comparison Overview

Starbucks Americano-Overview

Starbucks red eye vs. Americano: which one is better?

The Americano is a sweet caramelly espresso drink. It is added to hot water, and this dilutes the strong espresso. I liked the caffeine boost a tall Americano gave me and how fast it was made. The drink is basic as it only has two espresso shots and hot water. I chose to sweeten and loved the new addition. However, it was a little light for my liking.

What I liked

  • The sweet caramel notes
  • The high caffeine

What I didn’t like

  • The texture was too light

Who it’s best suited for

  • Its best suited for those who love coffee with no other additives.

Starbucks Red eye-Overview

Starbucks red eye

This was an earthy taste with sweet caramel espresso notes. The caffeine was quite a boost, due to the combination of two coffees. I found it to be too strong, but I liked the overall flavor. The barista added a shot of espresso to drip coffee, and it was done.

What I liked

  • The simplicity of the drink
  • The sweet and earthy flavor

What I didn’t like

  • It was too strong in caffeine

Who it’s best suited for

  • This works best for those who like overly caffeinated drinks.

Final Verdict. So, which is better? – Starbucks red eye or Americano

The Starbucks red eye is the better drink due to its richer flavor and double caffeine. The two drinks are almost similar, but the red eye has more flavor and tastes better.


Is a Starbucks red eye an Americano?

No, the Americano is a double espresso with hot water, while the red eye is solo espresso with drip coffee.

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