Tea drinking visitors to my house have always, over the years, made polite fun of my collection of Bialetti Moka pots. I have five, graded by how many espressos they make: one, three (I have two of these), six and nine. Being of Italian stock, these ingenious, classic stove-top coffee makers have been a huge part of my life since I was tiny; the beautiful aroma of the brewing process could, in TV home-improvement logic, have sold my house and those of my grandparents and extended family, thousands of times over. But for all that they’re life-saving devices for drowsy, dual-ended-candle-burning coffee addicts, they do have an Achilles heel: their functionality depends entirely on a little rubber seal. Using a Moka pot at least once a day means copious washing (in water only, never with washing up liquid) and eventually, this rubber ring wears away and stops sealing – leading to treacly coffee bleeding out of the middle or simply not filling the upper chamber. My whinge is this: why is it so hard to find these little rubber rings in Dublin? I do trek to the wonderful Little Italy in Smithfield for supplies as often as possible but, the thing is, so many places sell Moka pots – why can’t they just keep bags of replacement seals? The pots themselves usually cost around €20 for a three-cup (probably a lot less in Italy, or anywhere else), and should last a lifetime if cared for correctly – in fact, the more used and worn-looking, the more charming they are. And, of course, they make progressively delicious, fragrant coffee too. It’s just such an aggravating, violent-tremble-inducing pity that this can all go suddenly awry for the sake of the death of a wee rubber ring. Still, what’s a little psychomotor, vigilance and cognitive performance impairment between cups?