The perfect cup of coffee


Google it. “The perfect cup of coffee” returns about 53,200,000 results. If you do a little research (key word being “little”) you will find out that the trick to a perfectly satisfying cup of joe involves precise water temperature, precise weight of coffee bean, precise grind, and even a precise speed of pour into the filter.

Or you could go with the Navy method.



There are only a few things you need to know about Navy coffee, and most of it involves the cup. You do not wash a Navy coffee cup.


If I were from Paris or maybe Seattle I would say something like, “The remnants of previous samplings in the cup serve to ferment the newly introduced coffee, similar to the way an oak barrel improves the texture and flavor of wine.”

Old coffee in an unclean cup signifies continuity to a Sailor (or Marine) on deployment. You may not be able to embrace your loved ones while you are gone, but at least you can still taste the same coffee you drank the day you left.

Most coffee houses do not have the advantage enjoyed by a ship at sea; namely, they close every once in a while. Ships do not. Naval vessels operate 24 hours a day, every day, which allows coffee pots to sit on the burners indefinitely. There is not a Sailor (or Marine) alive who has not smelled the unmistakeable odor of burning coffee on the mess decks at 4 o’clock in the morning. Coffee shops add nuts or whatever to add flavor. The Navy adds carbon.


So forget the hoitsy-toitsy advice columns about making the perfect cup of coffee. Just remember these simple rules and you will enjoy the perfect cup of coffee.

1. Use real coffee (no foo-foo).
2. Keep the coffee pot on the brewer on as long as the liquid inside can still be poured without using a spoon.
3. Never, ever, not even once clean out the inside of the mug.
4. Make sure you are drinking out of the right cup.

397 s1989 another hazard of chewing tobacco


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  1. gatorsailor2001 on

    When I started my 90 day mess cooking tour aboard the USS Schofield FFG-3, I started in the Chief’s Mess. I lasted about three weeks until the day I (a non-coffee drinker), decided to scrub clean the coffee maker, coffee pots and mugs, until they were all nice and shiny. The Senior Chief of the command came in, looked for his mug, started swearing. Asked who ruined #%*#$& coffee mess? I answered somewhat taken aback that it was me. He immediately fired me from mess cooking in the chiefs mess, and had me sent to the wardroom!

  2. One of the ladies at church who prepares the coffee and pastries every Sunday trusts me to judge the fitness of the brew. Though it lacks consistency of tar or mud, I will smile and say “‘almost’ perfect morning coffee”!!

  3. to gatorsailor2001, I feel your pain. long ago when I was but a tadpole, I cranked in the CPO Mess and made the same error in judgement; took me 19 long years to join the Mess. Long retired, I still hide my favorite mug from anyone who might wash it!!!

  4. They say the sense of smell is the greatest memory trigger. Your mention of coffee burning on the mess decks at 0400 sent me off to the sonar repair shop on USS Orion (AS-18) in 1982, the test equipment repair shop of USS Cape Cod (AD-43)in 1988, and the crew’s mess of USS Stethem (DDG-63)in 1995. Around the world and 20 years in an instant. I haven’t had a decent cup of coffee since I retired.

  5. Ha! I guess we Army people do the same. I still do not clean my coffee mug and I love the smell of burning coffee…brings back memories. I even put grounds on top of old grounds to make it stronger!

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