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

Though coffee is a staple for many, some do not always feel the caffeine buzz from their favorite cup. If you are one of them, you should consider ordering Starbucks red eye or black eye. The first time I heard about the eyes, I was confused and did not know what they meant. It, therefore, took me a long time before I started ordering these drinks.

After researching, I created this post to help you learn everything there is to know regarding Starbucks red eye and black eye. You will also discover how they differ. Read on!

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


Starbucks red eye

Black eye


Drip coffee and one shot of espresso

Drip coffee and two shots of espresso

Taste profile

Well balanced taste

Stronger taste

Caffeine content

Has 158 mg of caffeine.

A grande has 10 calories, 1 gram of carbs and 1 gram of protein

Has 221 mg of caffeine

A grande of this has 15 calories and 2 grams of carbs

Availability/ Accessibility

Easy to access

Easy to access

Roast level

Medium roast

Medium roast

Starbucks red eye vs. black eye – How They Compare

Starbucks red eye vs. black eye

What it’s made of (ingredients)

Starbucks red eye is made of drip coffee and a single shot of espresso. On the other hand, Starbucks black eye contains drip coffee and two shots of espresso.

Starbucks black eye, therefore, wins in this category since it has more shots of espresso that can lead to more energy.

Taste profile

Though many people like the unique taste of Starbucks red eye, some prefer the taste of black eye since it is stronger.

Black eye, therefore, wins in this category since it has a more enhanced flavor.

Caffeine content/nutritional value

A cup of brewed coffee has around 95 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, an ounce of espresso has 63 mg of caffeine. This means Starbucks red eye contains 158 mg of caffeine since it has one shot of espresso. On the other hand, Starbucks black eye has 221 mg of caffeine since it has two shots of espresso.

A grande of Starbucks red eye contains ten calories, 1 gram of carbs, and 1 gram of proteins. On the other hand, a grande of black eye has 15 calories, 2 grams of carbs, and 0 grams of fat.

In terms of the caffeine content, the black eye wins since it has more. However, Starbucks red eye is healthier since it has lower calories. Starbucks red eye and black eye, therefore, draw in this category.

Availability/ Accessibility

Starbucks red and black eyes are easy to access from the coffee house. They both fall under the company’s secret menu.

These two coffee drinks draw since they are both available at Starbucks.

Roast level

Both Starbucks black eye and red eye are made from medium coffee roast. Since darker roast leads to a more bitter taste and light roast has a brighter taste, using medium roast makes the eyes have a more satisfying flavor.

Starbucks black eye and red eye also draw in this category since they are both made using medium coffee roast.

Starbucks red eye vs. black eye: A comparison overview

Starbucks red eye – Overview

Starbucks red eye

The eye coffee refers to a caffeinated drink that is made up of drip coffee and a shot of espresso. If, for instance, you order Starbucks red eye, the barista will prepare for you brewed coffee and then add a shot of espresso.

The espresso added to this drink is concentrated. Adding a shot of espresso to the coffee leads to a balance of flavors so that you can enjoy taking the Starbucks red eye. This rich Starbucks drink gets its name from the boost of energy it helps one gain due to the inclusion of espresso. Though many Starbucks customers prefer this drink hot, you can still order chilled red eye.

What I liked

  • Balanced flavors

What I didn’t like

  • It is not as strong as black eye

Who it’s best suited for

  • This is best suited for people with high caffeine tolerance.

Starbucks black eye – Overview

Starbucks black eye

This drink forms part of the company’s secret menu. Starbucks black eye is made of drip coffee and two shots of espresso. Since this drink takes a longer brewing process, it is more vibrant and full-bodied. The dripping method leads to a high-quality cup of Starbucks black eye. Consuming the extra caffeine that Starbucks black eye provides can make you feel more alert and energized.

If you wish to order this beverage for the first time, you are probably wondering why it is called black eye. This coffee drink was named due to the black ring that is formed after the baristas add extra espresso to it.

The taste of Starbucks black eye can easily be adjusted based on your preference. It can either be made light or heavy. If you crave more caffeine and enjoy the taste of Americano, you may enjoy Starbucks black eye.

What I liked

  • You can slightly adjust the flavor

What I didn’t like

  • It has more calories than red eye

Who it’s best suited for

  • Someone who likes the taste of Americano

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Starbucks red eye vs. black eye

Starbucks black eye is better than the red eye drink. This is because it has a stronger flavor and more caffeine content. This is made with two shots of espresso and has an appealing look due to the ring that forms after making it. Though Starbucks black eye has a bit more calories than the red eye, it can be more satisfying and give you more energy to get through the day. I, therefore, choose Starbucks black eye as the clear winner.


Which one tastes better between a black eye and red eye?

Black eye tastes better since it has an extra shot of espresso. You should, however, take this drink in moderation to avoid the side effects of too much caffeine.

What is the difference between a red eye and black eye?

They differ in that the red eye has one shot of espresso while black eye has two.

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