Replacing the gasket on a Bialetti Moka

30 Aug

The inner workings of a stovetop espresso maker, or macchinetta. The gasket is the white circle in the bottom of the pot. Photo from Fante's.

The gasket recently fell apart–literally–on my Bialetti Moka. I bought it (along with a Bodum milk frother) about 7 or 8 years ago after reading a Martha Stewart Living article on making perfect espresso at home, and it’s been my only coffeemaker ever since. I have the 9-cup size, and it makes just the perfect amount of coffee to fill my OXO travel mug or to make myself and one other person a cup at home.

But after 7 or 8 years of near-daily use, the gasket was literally disintegrating. I tried to pry it out, and it crumbled out in chunks and flakes, making it difficult to measure the diameter of the old gasket. After quite a bit of trial and error, I figured out how to find out what size I needed.

1. Pry out your gasket with a dull knife or a screwdriver. It will be wedged in the top in a little groove, so you may have to muscle it out. If it comes out intact, great! Measure the outside diameter.

2. If it doesn’t come out intact, measure the inside diameter of the spot where the filter and gasket rest. Bear in mind that this will not give you an exact measurement, since the gasket rests inside a groove. For example, mine measured 3 1/16″, but the gasket I needed was 3 3/16″.

  • If your gasket was falling apart, well, two things: First, you should replace it more frequently. Second, you’ll need to scrape out any hardened bits from the grooves or else the new gasket either won’t fit or won’t seal tightly.

3. Buy the size you need. I initially ordered one from eBay, but when after two weeks, it had not yet arrived, I went to Sur La Table and picked one up. The 6-cup gaskets are $1 each and the 9-cup gaskets are $4 (!). You can also buy them on Amazon ($6.89 for a filter and three gaskets, not shipped through Amazon) or from Fantes, a Philadelphia-based kitchen supply store with a really informative website.

4. Place the gasket around the filter, then place the gasket and filter in the macchinetta. Just as you had to pry the old filter out, you’ll have to wedge the new filter in. Take a butter knife or other dull knife and press the gasket into the grooves in the macchinetta’s side until it’s resting more or less flat.

5. Make some delicious coffee, and pride yourself on your minor but meaningful accomplishment of the day. Also, if unemployed, rejoice in the money you’ll be saving!

Also, a few warning signs that your gasket might be on it’s way out:

  • Your coffeemaker doesn’t seal properly, causing the quality of your coffee to decline. What exactly does this mean? For me, the coffee would sometimes only brew halfway, and it would be a thick, viscous mess, not unlike motor oil.
  • Steam may begin to leak out between the top and bottom parts of your macchinetta.
  • The gasket will start to look cracked or in otherwise bad shape.
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4 Responses to “Replacing the gasket on a Bialetti Moka”

  1. Steve (@tecolote2) February 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Excellent. Picked this size up at a swap meet for 3 bucks….shined it up with rubbing compound. The seal is good for now, but good reference when the steam starts to leak. Thanks man!

    • Giles August 7, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      Thanks for posting. I researched the same about 8 years ago when my gasket only looked questionable. This morning it failed…mud isn’t all that bad. You’re explanation served me and there is a Sur la Table not far from me. Cheers.

      • Nicole August 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

        So glad I could help!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Well, that was fast « My Laid-Off Life - September 23, 2010

    […] Learned a lot about Bialetti Moka coffee makers […]

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