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Brewing Coffee the Navy Way

Recipes and coffee making guidelines excerpted from the 1945 edition of the Cook Book of the United States Navy

[General Rules] [Care of Equipment] [Glass Coffee Makers]
[Navy Coffee Recipes]

Roasted coffee is a delicate and perishable product. Whether ground or in the bean, unless vacuum packed in tin, coffee requires careful handling. It looses both flavor and strength on contact with air.

Store coffee, tightly covered, in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing it near foods which have strong odors. Roasted coffee readily absorbs foreign odors, and these make themselves apparent in the finished brew.

If coffee in bean is procured for general mess use, grind only the quantity required just previous to using it each time the brew is made.

Navy coffee has been expertly blended and roasted. If a few simple rules for making coffee are followed, a rich and enjoyable brew may be expected.

General rules

  • Always use clean equipment.

  • Rinse urn bag with fresh cold water before using.

  • Measure coffee and water accurately.

  • Use freshly drawn cold water which has been brought to a rapid bubbling boil for brewing coffee.

  • Hold finished coffee at temperature of 185o F to 190o F until served. Never allow finished coffee to boil.

  • Remove grounds as soon as coffee is made. Seepage from coffee grounds impairs the good flavor and aroma.

  • Use fresh coffee for each brew. Never use any portion of used coffee grounds a second time.

  • Make coffee fresh as needed. Never allow more that an hour to elapse between making and serving coffee.

Care of urn equipment

  • Keep all parts of urn equipment scrupulously clean.

  • Rinse thoroughly with clear, clean water after each use.

  • Wash urn twice each 24 hours using urn brush, hot water and washing soda. Use approximately 1 tablespoon washing soda for each quart water.

  • Rinse urn thoroughly several times with clear, hot water. Be sure that all traces of washing soda are removed.

  • Rinse coffee faucet on urn daily. Scrub all parts thoroughly with brush, hot water and washing soda. Rinse thoroughly with clear, hot water. Insert a long, thin coffee pipe brush and scrub inside of faucet pipe and plug at bottom of inner liner thoroughly. Rinse with clear, hot water.

  • Clean gauge glasses at least twice each week using gauge glass brush, hot water and washing soda. Rinse thoroughly with clear, hot water.

  • Rinse urn bag in clear, cold water after each use. Keep bag submerged in cold water at all times when not in use. Renew cloth bag frequently.

  • If filter basket is used, wash and dry all parts thoroughly after each use.

Care of Glass Coffee makers

  • Wash upper and lower bowls in clear, hot water after each use.

  • Rinse filter cloth in clear, cold water. Keep submerged in cold water when not in use. Renew frequently. Scald new filter cloth. Rinse in cold water before use.

  • Dry outside of upper and lower bowls before placing over heat. Never allow empty bowl to remain on heat.

  • Scrub out tube of upper bowls regularly with still brush to remove all coffee stains.

  • Place coffee maker on rubber, asbestos or cork mat after removing from heating unit. Heat-resistant glass may break if placed while hot on a cold surface.

Navy coffee recipes

Coffee -- Urn Bag Method

Coffee -- Filter or Drip Method

Coffee -- Percolator Method

Coffee -- Vacuum-Type Coffee Maker Method

Coffee Prepared with Cream and Sugar

Here's an interesting article on Navy coffee from All Hands Magazine in 1948.


Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Cook Book of the United States Navy. NavSandA Pub. 7. Washington: GPO, July 1, 1945. 456pp. This information is taken from page 34.

November 1999

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