Pre-heating of cups - ruining the experince?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

#1: Post by Cubique »

Dear baristas, I have found a thread from 2008 regarding cup temperature. Generally it is recommended to pre-warm a cup for espresso to keep the temperature of the espresso. That should be the reason behind the thick walls of the espresso cup - it can accumulate a heat so it does not steal the heat from the espresso itself

But I would like to see your observations with an current understanding.

Temperature of the shot in the cup immediately after extraction should be around 60-70C - it is too hot to drink. I found more pleasant for me to use a cold cup, that can lower the temperature of the drink to more pleasant 50C.

It is also interesting, that with dropping temperature, some complex tastes start to be more visible.

What do you think?

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#2: Post by PIXIllate »

I never pre heat my cup for straight espresso shots. In fact if I have two shots back to back sometimes I'll use a second new cup because the first one is too warm from being rinsed out. Same thing with the gf's Americano. Room temperature cup with about 30g of room temperature filtered water then add the hot water and the shot on top. That way she can start drinking it almost right away. I do fill a Cappuccino cup with water from the hot water tap. This serves two purposes. One is to flush out the steam boiler and secondly a Cappuccino tends to be sipped over a longer period of time so its a bit too hot to start with but much better at the end.

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#3: Post by LBIespresso »

I had the same thoughts a few years ago.
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#4: Post by Jeff »

My cups are as cold as the kitchen in the morning. My espresso ends up around 55 C by the time I drink it after cleaning the group screen and basket. I find it much more enjoyable and flavorful.

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#5: Post by Brewzologist »


I drink espresso and filter brews cooler than I used too and find the flavor to be better hands down. Most good coffees will have improved/different flavors as the cup cools. This may not be true for poor quality coffees though. Try running some tests to find a sweet spot for yourself. I've let coffee sit for 20-30 min just to see how the taste changes.

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#6: Post by Cubique (original poster) »

Thank you for all your replies. They are interesting findings. Have you an idea from where does the pre-heating routine originaly come from?

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#7: Post by LBIespresso » replying to Cubique »

My guess would be that it comes from bad coffee. You can't taste how bad it is when it's too hot to taste.
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#8: Post by HB »

I assume it's a cafe thing where anything less than really hot suggests it's been sitting.

Then again, I have relatives who prefer their coffee cups heated to the point that they can only be safely touched by the handle. My normal routine is to let the first espresso sit while I prepare the second one. By the time the second is done, the first's temperature is drinkable. I intentionally use room temperature cups so the espresso cools more quickly.
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#9: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

We like our coffee hot so we preheat our cups with water from the steam boiler spigot and while the portafilter is reheating in the group after prep, the cup with hot water is naturally cooling down so that things have reached a reasonable equilibrium by the time the shot is pulled.

Everything tastes just 'Yummy'.

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#10: Post by IamOiman »

I like the heated cups as in Naples they often had them in a little vat of boiling water for cleanliness purposes (and maybe tradition?). They had little tongs to grab the cups when they were ready for use.
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