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Thread: To heat or not to heat the cups.

  1. #1
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    To heat or not to heat the cups.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Pre-heating cups with hot water. Is something I like to discuss about, because not only is it hard to find anything related to it, but its also an issue which differs from cafe to cafe.

    Now we all keep our cups on the top of our machines, it keeps them warm. We throw a tea-towel over it and it keeps them warmer. But is it really necessary to pre-heat the cups with hot water as well, so that the espresso is being sheltered by a blistering hot cup.

    Personally, I find pre-heating cups for milk based drinks to be pretty required, as it not only prevents the the coffee from being sent back to you 3 out of 10 times for not being hot enough, but also just that, extends the time in which you can enjoy the beverage.

    Yet for an espresso, I find heating the small little espresso cups, takes something away from the cooling process of espresso, in a sense, flavours that appear through cooling. Is this just something unique to myself and preference? or do others find this as well.

    I know alot of people are trained to pre-heat cups, every cup, doesnt matter if its a little espresso cup or a latte glass. Yet as Ive stated before, in one cafe with a reputable history, theyll pre-heat; yet, in another reputable cafe they wont pre-heat anything.

    What do you prefer? Do you allow your cup to sit for a little bit and enjoy the extra bit of warmth the cup energises the espresso with or do you prefer to allow it cool and drink it straight away.

    If not your preference, then what your method is behind the bar.

    Regards,
    Rob

    EDIT:

    This is something Ive been meaning to talk about since a few weeks back when I was training a group, one of the girls participating asked me if we pre-heat the cups with water and without further ado, one of the other gentlemen participating blurted out "Of course you pre-heat the cups!" with such a tone that wouldve made the poor woman feel absolutely grilled on the spot. Half the classes short quite giggles certainly, did not help her case.

    However, I honestly felt the questions merit. Its not ground-breaking knowledge that one must know, but it is something that does not have clear defining arguments on, readily available.

  2. #2
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    I hate going to a cafe and getting a luke-warm cup of milk based coffee.

    At home I always pre-heat the cups with hot water except for espresso; I don’t pre-heat too much as the espresso is hotter than the steamed milk. I understand why some cafés use paper cups to get around the problem of keeping a mass of cups pre-heated.

    I agree with what you are saying.

  3. #3
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    Its probbably depends on the machine. Some are hotter then others some have heating elements and some dont. Personlly im not too fussed about how hot the espresso demetasse is so long as it isnt cold. I cant imagine preheating every cup for milk based drinks in a busy rush, and I would have to say usually the only ones I got returned were from people who got stuck on their phone, or they are old, or something that isnt our fault etc.

  4. #4
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    My question would be "how hot"?

    At home the cups sit on top of the machine and get quite warm.
    At work, using the 6910, I heat my cup with hot water.

    Last year at the Aromafest I must have succumbed to the pressure of competition and forgot to heat the espresso cup with water (it hadnt been sitting on the machine) and received a comment from Hazel (and a lower score) because my cup wasnt warm enough, and IIRC it detracted from the taste.

  5. #5
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    It does seem quite situational at best, but if how hot is a question, how hot can the water leaving your machines boiler into the cup be? At best, boiling. Does it really detract from the taste though? This falls into my inexperience at the least.

    Yet in most cups of espresso, without pre-heating the cup, I can still sense the flavours that most blends describe towards the end of the cup, well into the point where the cup has cooled down. Although not to exaggerate that point, as it doesnt take me more than five minutes to drink an espresso.

    If heat does well indeed improve the flavour towards the end, no matter what origin/blend/etc.. then thats something I personally would love to give a shot trying over the next couple days. Although I worry that a lot may rule off the notion as it being mere common knowledge, that heat enhances flavours, just like the principles of warm jam, and I can definitely say, warm fresh jam, tastes a whole lot better then cold jam. On a palate and chemistry level.

  6. #6
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    Good question, as is often the case hard to give definitive answer for every case.
    Some time ago there was some comment by a CS who was worth taking notice of, and they mentioned a better tasting shots in heated glasses/cups.
    Subsequently I tried heating cups/glasses with hot water before all my drinks and it seemed to improve the taste.
    I agree it does seem to be especially useful for milk drinks,
    however for espresso only it might depend more on the individual,
    certainly I dont like my drinks too hot, but neither do I like espresso too cold, so while heating the cup might mean a slight delay in starting to drink, (or should that be sip), it could mean more time to enjoy the shot.
    So for me its heat the glass/cup with hot water every time,
    except for the occasional time when Im doing larger groups and using takeaway cups.
    Bullitt

  7. #7
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    Thing is...

    You cant exactly pre heat takeaways...So what happens there? Funny Ive never had anyone come back at me with their takeaway and say its not hot enough and I heat the milk up to the same temperature as I do for the have ins. And I know I do because I use a digital thermometer.

    So, is pre heating (apart from having the ceramics up on top of the machine) a moot point?? :-/

  8. #8
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    The ceramics have a larger thermal mass and if they are not preheated will cool down the drink, T/A cups have virtually none so it doesnt really matter.

  9. #9
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    most if not all of the baristi who competed in the WBC didnt pre heat their espresso or cappucino cups with hot water. they just had them sitting on top of the machine... maybe that is enough to eliminate the coldness of a ceramic cup and just get it WARM. what do you think?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D45404055446F5D515E0607300 link=1251287727/2#2 date=1251288770
    usually the only ones I got returned were from people who got stuck on their phone, or they are old, or something that isnt our fault etc.
    HAHAHAHAHAA ;D :D

    Its not there fault they are old and there tongue is used to boiled water and instant coffee :-X::)

    But i hear you none the less! DITTO ;D

    P.S. I only warm cups that arent already warmed...hence the term warning cups. I find the heat the top of my machine at work is sufficient enough. I will only heat them if the top row cools down too much due to cooler ambient temps or if they have not been brought straight from the dishwasher(HOT!!!)

  11. #11
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    Re: To heat or not to heat the cups.

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 7F424F5E594C5F2D0 link=1251287727/0#0 date=1251287727
    I find heating the small little espresso cups, takes something away from the cooling process of espresso, in a sense, flavours that appear through cooling.
    Having a warm liquid cool sharply on a cold surface is going to change the espresso dynamics - try putting a decent demi in the freezer overnight and putting a cup on top of the machine and splitting a pour into both. (you may need a few cups so you get a nice evenly split test), and youll find that the temperature gradient is bad for the espresso. Itll affect the nose of the espresso and sour it more quickly....pretty tired so I can just say now "its a bad idea". In normal terms, Id say youre just trying to avoid shocking the espresso - but of course the first droplets are going to be fairly cool - espresso doesnt generally end up that hot when its actually in the cup - especially on shorter pours (slow, short double rissies), so heating the cup to a high temp than the edge of the first drop of liquid hitting it probably doesnt achieve anything.

    ....ramble ramble...



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