There are things you can do without when you spend a day at home at the desk, but coffee – and decent coffee at that – isn’t one of them. It gets you there in the morning, rewards you at lunchtime, and with careful timing can get you the perfect siesta. In my time I’ve plunged and I’ve filtered and I’ve stirred the grounds in an earthenware jug. But it wasn’t until the Gaggia arrived that my coffee bibing reached As Good As It Gets. Then of course there’s the added benefit of all the fiddling around needed to deliver the perfect shot with it’s crown of delicious crema. It all ran perfectly until about 18 months in the pump pressure dropped and my single shot took a couple of minutes to pour and the result was bitter and almost undrinkable. (Almost because clearly if this is the only coffee to hand then drink it you will.) The handbook said descale. So I descaled. It said clean the shower plate on the group head. I cleaned. Nothing made any difference. So I turned to the internet and lo and behold Google did what it was designed to do and saved the day. What I needed was a new seal for the group head. So wrapped up against the driving snow I set off for Norwich’s very own Gaggia shop only to discover they hadn’t got the parts and couldn’t get them either. So I phoned Gaggia who have possibly the world’s most irritating switchboard announcement explaining how valuable your custom is and if you hang on someone will surely get back from their holiday in Goa in the next few days and pick up the phone. I emailed Gaggia. Nothing. Back at Google things were looking up. A company improbably called Happy Donkey offered to put one of these seals in the post. I was so chuffed I got two. 24 hours later they plopped through the letter box and with this magnificent set of photographic instructions from Australia I replaced the seal in five minutes flat. Normal service has been resumed. After testing it under various conditions I now feel I’m strung with piano wire and just as soon as the caffeine lets go I’ll be back at the keyboard.
As for the siesta: it apparently takes 20-25minutes for the caffeine to get into the system. So the trick is to down a shot just before you drop off after lunch. Half an hour later you’re awake and raring to go.