Don't wash that coffee mug!

Don’t Wash That Coffee Mug!

If you have just acquired a mug, here is a helpful video to teach you how to use it.

The coffee mess in the Navy was always disgusting. All offices had those large 42-cup metal percolators that were never cleaned, the insides of which were coated in old coffee goo. “Adds flavor” was the mantra. In 23 years, I never saw anyone wash one of them, and as a young troop, I got yelled at once for attempting to do so. Freshly made coffee came out of the spigot looking oily and bitter, and didn’t taste any better than it looked.

The Chief was usually the only person who had an actual mug. Everyone else drank out of styrofoam cups, and you really had to be careful about making sure that the cup you picked up was actually yours and that nothing was floating in it, as people would put out their cigarette butts in them, or use them for spit cups.

I thought this was an urban legend until my cousin (Navy lifer) put something on FB about having a particularly rank cup of coffee at home that day. Most of the responses were from guys giving him shit about letting his wife wash his coffee mug the evening before.

I’m told this comes form the days of when (china, porcelain, whatever) cups and pots weren’t glazed and the tea / coffee “seasoned” them much the way bacon seasons new cast iron. I have no idea how true that is, but obviously today the only in benefit of not washing out a mug after using it is you may slowly build your tolerance for disgust.

I’ve heard a lot of this too, however, I think it’s more like:
[li]Tea stains are actually damn hard to wash off even glazed ceramics (it’s easier to say “it’s meant to be like that”[/li][li]Anything that you might use to try to wash off the tea stains may potentially taint the pot and make the next few brews taste terrible[/li][/ul]

I use baking soda to remove tea stains, works great, just rinse thoroughly.

This is why they make dark colored mugs. I have a nice white mug with the Union Jack on it that I brought to work for drinking tea (as opposed to my nice white mug with the Chicago skyline that I brought for drinking coffee). Personally, I know they’re not “dirty” but it was getting embarrassing having people see my brown stained cups so now I keep a couple of black ones and let the residue do what it will.

I wash my coffee cup regularly, regardless of what anyone else thinks. the only people I see who actually believe in “seasoning” like this are ex-military guys who do it because someone they looked up to in the service did it.

Eh, tea stains are persistent, but they’ll still come out with a little steel wool. Though I don’t usually bother. Not even when I had a cubicle n a shared office, because who goes around looking inside other peoples’ mugs, anyway?

I’ll continue washing my coffee mugs, thanks.

I sit here enjoying my morning break cup o’ joe in a plastic Aladdin coffee mug that hasn’t been wash in about 5 years. Just the occasional wipe with a paper towel. The coffee here at work it pretty nasty so it all tastes the same no matter what you use to drink it.

I’ve always washed my coffee cup. I discovered at work that a moist paper towel scrubs off the stain. A useful hack when hot soapy water isn’t available.

My grandad didn’t want his stovetop percolator washed. They only rinsed it out. Their coffee cups were clean.

I use diluted bleach to get coffee mugs white again. Doubtless in the Navy this would get me thrown overboard on a dark night.

My mother related to me the story of when she was a waitress in a Howard Johnson’s (this was WAAAY back, like early 1950s). The restaurant manager kept a brand-new never used coffee pot as an example, and told the staff that before they closed each night all the coffee pots were to be just as clean as the example. My mom swore that this accounted for the generally high quality of the coffee they served.

Never in the Navy, but I regularly get grief over my disgusting coffee mug at work.

It is close to 20 yrs old - was my best buddy’s - I snagged it out of his office after he died. I actually started washing it recently - maybe once a week or so, but water and dish soap in the office kitchen do nothing about the stains.

they have to at least clean out the metal stem in those 40 cup urns other wise it gets clogged and the water wont even get warm … I usually use a large wooden skewer to clean out the crud

We seemed to have missed that memo when I was in, if we had our own mugs we washed them ourselves, otherwise our Navy supplied crappy hot cups were returned for cleaning.

The power shop had a small industrial style drip coffee maker, both the lighting shop and distribution shop had nothing. In Safety shop we had my cheap Black & Decker drip coffee maker and we ensured we went to sea with plenty of large cans of good coffee as opposed to the huge 5 pound cans the Navy had.

The galley coffee was crap due to the giant coffee makers and the navy bad coffee. Maxwell House, Choc-full-Of-Nuts or Yuban out of the crappiest drip maker was far superior. We somehow kept a supply of milk in our tiny fridge also. Between us we had connection to every department on the ship.

Now keep in mind I was in during the 1980s and not the 40s. This weird concept probably goes back to WWII and the general shortages of potable water on ships back then.

Obligatory TV Tropes link: Bad to the Last Drop

I was wondering: they sell a powder that you use to clean drip coffee makers. It consists of a powder of blue and white crystals that bubble when put in water. Is this actually the same stuff they sell as denture cleaner?

Wha… they don’t even rinse it out? Why make bad coffee taste worse?

Anyhow, sound like Navy guys are overcompensating for never having eaten anything as bad as Army chow.

Seriously, not a modern Navy thing, has to be just old salts from long ago. Wonder if it lasted to Vietnam but gone by the 80s