I use the brew switch to pour hot water into the cup beforehand. I dont even think about it as it is part of the ritual now. Doing this, I think anyway, helps to bring the group head to the right temp plus it will activate the element. I fill unjtil the element light comes on, swirl the hot water a few times then tip it out. A quick dry and by that time Im nearly ready to pour the shot. The tray isnt that great for cups, but does take the chill out of them. I have noticed that my tamp will get flamin hot if left on top for a while.