I'm training Lily, El Salvador's barista champion, for the upcoming WBC and we would like to know if someone knows of a method or equipment for preheating the cups before prep time, so she doesn't lose time during prep time warming them with hot water from the machine and then wiping them dry. Instead, she could use that time to ensure that the grinder is accurately adjusted and use the remaining time to set up the rest of her accesories without rush.

I must also say that she is already doing her prep time routine under the 15 minutes allowed with the conventional wet method , but I'm trying to find an alternative way.

I'm wondering if a flat surface heating device (grill-like) could be installed, either backstage or in the work table on the left, to warm the up the cups in a dry method.

I would appreciate ideas and thoughts asap so we have time to consider, test, and incorporate to her prep time routine before the WBC.

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if you used a practice machine to preheat the cups with water 5 minutes before you roll out your cart, then dump out the water to roll out on stage and when prep time starts put the cups directly on top of the machine, they would be at proper serving temperature when you placed them on top of the machine.
Very good question ! Before the championship in France, I had timed the time heating cups and 15 minutes were good. Unfortunately, the day of the championship, I made my performance on the machine that was below the air conditioning ... cups were still cold after 15 minutes. It is better to cover with a cloth to retain heat.
If you have a plug back stage, here's an idea.

Wrap them in a heating blanket.

No moisture. They're ready to go when you are. Just give them ample time to get up to temperature before going on.
This would be a bit weird, but it might work. You could use hand/feet warmers. They look like little bean bags and are usually used by hunters and campers. Inside are dry chemicals which heat up when combined. If you lined the bottom of a small insulated box with them and activated them right before the 15min. setup time, then they should get to temperature without having to really do anything but place them on top of the machine.

I might actually try this next year, so if you use it, let me know. Good luck!!
how hot do either a heating blanket or hand/feet warmers get? They sound like good ideas in theory but i don't think they get hot enough. The reason water out of the tea spout works is cus its 200+ F. Ive slept in electric blankets and i dont know if that heat is enough to get up to appropriate serving temp.
No, they may not be up to the proper temperature, but it would certainly give them a good start before setting up.

How about a toaster oven instead? Guaranteed to be hot enough. But that's another thing to have to carry.
The heat exchange isn't the same for both methods. The goal should be to retain a balanced temperature profile. Even if you have two hundred degree water the cups won't retain temperatures even close to that. The bonus to a constant but lower warmth, in my opinion, is that the cups will be maintained at a steady temp. which should be warm enough for the competition.

Also, I have used the hand warmers and they are hot to the touch, so approximately 140+-F.
Using the hot water method backstage; a simple electric kettle and a large plastic container, I was able to heat all of my cups and then just place them on the machine at the start of my 15 min. Of course water marks become an issue, I found that white ceramic doesn't show and also I had success putting the cups upside-down on the grill on top of the machine for non white cups. The cups/water stays warm if you put a lid on the container, and no drying was really necessary. Just use a towel cover once on the machine. Also, the back of the machine is much hotter than the front of the machine by a significant amount... it just makes it more difficult to grab while making drinks if you're short.

This was the best way I found, it took me less than 1min to put the cups up with out spilling and with my entire set up, I had approximately 6minutes to dial in to 2grinders.
There are a few ways to heat your cups ahead of time without having to use anything exotic. If you have a plug in the back room, bring a hot water kettle and a deep chafing dish pan (or a similar metal pan that can hold all of your cups and the hot water). Pour the hot water over the mugs about 30 minutes before you will be rolling out on stage. You can then drain the water, dry them, and put them back in the pan with just a few minutes to go. You may also want to keep them insulated with towels to keep the heat for as long as possible. This seems to keep the cups warm, not quite what I would call "hot". The 15 minutes of prep time before actual competition on top of the machine seems to bring them back up to a nice toasty temp. If you don't have a hot water kettle you can simply ask whoever is on a machine in the back to borrow their hot water jet. Using a heated blanket is an option, as well as other heating devices. In my opinion you should just try to get the cups warm to the touch and let heat on the machine do the rest.
Hope this helps!
the second i saw the question this is what i thought of.... I have tons... maybe tomorrow I'll try and let you know...
Ya'll should listen to the Kill right now, cuz she's, as the young kids say, "the business"
Get a pump pot fill with hot water before hand then 5 minutes till prep time heat up the cups with the water from the pump pot then dump the water and dry the cups real quick.
I am competing this year I had not thought of this. However I have been able to get the cups done in my prep time and still get everything setup so I have been all right.
I am thinking of just bringing a handy dandy electric kettle with me.
Thanks Jason

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