Why Do Sailors Not Wash Coffee Cups (Is It Okay?)

I am an avid coffee drinker and I prefer it black and dark. I really don’t know how people can go without a cup of joe in the mornings.

Sailors do not wash coffee cups because it is a sign of seniority around the office. The older and darker your coffee cup is, the more respect you will get from fellow sailors and co-workers.

I know for many of us this seems disgusting, but it is a tradition passed down for years. Let’s dive a little deeper into this and see if it’s safe to drink from a dirty old mug.

Navy Sailors Don’t Wash Coffee Cups

It appears that sailors or people in the Navy, in general, do not wash their coffee cups, or at least some don’t. The old-timers definitely do not wash their coffee cups.

This is because it shows a sign or signs of how long they have been there. If you see an old coffee cup stained with old coffee then you can tell someone has been around for a while. I read an article that stated some people would use the same cup and not clean it once the whole time they were on deployment.

Seems a bit odd to me but I was not part of the Navy.

The old brown rings in the coffee cup also show a sign of seniority to those around them. You do not want to be caught washing your coffee cup around the people that don’t. They will judge you completely.

Is it safe to drink from an old dirty mug and what about taste?

Is Old Coffee Safe To Drink?

If you are talking about old grounds or beans, then yes it is safe to drink, but the taste may be bad. It is always a good idea to use the beans right after they have been grounded. This will give you the best coffee taste possible.

As a general rule, coffee beans that have just been grounded should be consumed within two weeks for optimal taste.

When it comes to old coffee in the coffee pot, that might be a little more dangerous to drink. It depends on how long it has been there. Bacteria can begin to grow over time causing illness if consumed. I think we have all tried coffee that is a little old and cold and it tastes terrible. The taste will definitely be awful if the pot is not fresh. The taste will probably be worse than the illness from consuming it, but that’s just my opinion.

I hate old and cold coffee!

When it comes to the mug itself not being washed out, that could grow some bacteria but not necessarily. When you pour out the coffee and just leave the mug there with some basic residual rings of coffee, then most likely you won’t have anything to worry about. If you add milk or creamer to your coffee, that could cause more of a problem. We all know milk goes bad very fast and if there is some still in your mug, that could easily begin to mold.

Just be cautious if you arent going to rinse out your coffee mug anymore.

The taste is another big factor to consider when not rinsing out coffee cups. The taste of the new coffee will be affected slightly. Some people will say it tastes better this way and others will disagree. It’s all personal preference. Even if you don’t like it at first, you could teach yourself to like it over time. It took me a while before I appreciated dark black coffee. I love it now and don’t want it any other way.

Overall, I will say there is minimal risk for illness when reusing a coffee cup. Just be sure to be cautious when using creamers and check for mold when possible. The taste will be different so prepare yourself for that, there is no way around it.

It’s your mug so do what you want!


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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