Wednesday, 11 August 2010
what a wonderful thing is the internet - part 78
I own this rather wonderful bia 4 coffee pot from Bialetti and have done so for over 15 years - and use it every morning for my first cup of coffee of the day.
Over the years I've tried a lot of coffee makers - automatic drippers, filters and the rest but stove top espresso ones are the best. Out of these I've tried stainless steel ones (scalds the coffee) and Asian copies of the orginal octagonal Gaggia's but the bia still makes the best coffee. Better even than the automatic machines we have at work.
Like all stovetop espresso makers the gaskets harden and die, and this has been bia's problem for the last few months - you had to tighten things up really hard otherwise you'd get steam and spurts when you brewed.
Poor bia really needed a new gasket.
But where to start? Well, while our local DJ's still sells stovetop espresso pots they don't sell spare gaskets.
Apparently no one in Australia sells spare gaskets online - yes I'm sure there's some wonderful traditional coffee shops in Sydney and Melbourne that still sell such things but they're not online. The stores in Canberra want to sell you a new (and preferably an expensive automatic) coffee maker.
So it was off to google.
The first shop I turned up was in the States somewhere - really helpful website, told me how to work out which type gasket I needed (in inches mind you - ever tried finding a non-metric ruler in a metric country?) but wouldn't ship to Australia.
Then I turned to ebay - and immediately found two ebay stores - both in the UK - who would ship to Australia. Eight bucks all in including shipping, with payment via paypal. Ten days for it to get to Australia and hey presto, I had a pack of manufacturer original gaskets.
A bit of swearing and probing with a kebab skewer to get the old ossified gasket out and we were in business.
And that's what's wonderful about the internet. Instead of trudging round stores and endless phone calls interstate I could find what I needed online, and with paypal make the payment efficiently - without being stung for minimum transaction fees. It was easy.
And that's how it should be - the internet enables things, not just the sexy web 2.0 things but the simple should be easy things as well ...
[originally posted to my other blog and updated slightly]