Group Gaskets

Happy Donkey are suppliers of spare group seal gaskets for espresso coffee machines.

The group seal is the rubber ring which sits up inside the coffee machines group head surrounding the shower plate. When you put the machines filter holder or portafilter into the machines group head, as the filter holder or portafilter turns it also raises in height.

Once raised, the lip of the filter basket meets the group seal and creates an air tight seal. When you run the group to get water through the ground coffee in the filter basket the seal makes sure that all the water heads for the ground coffee beans. If the seal has failed you will find that this is no longer the case and water will escape over the side of the portafilter and run down towards the drip tray. This will result in less water being pushed through the coffee at the correct pressure.

On occasions, especially when the seal first starts to fail, you can often get away with turning the handle a bit further round to the right, but you will not get away with that for long! Each espresso coffee machine, in most cases, uses a unique group seal, a seal is usually defined by machine make, model and the depth of the seal which it needs to function correctly. Some group seals will fit the whole range of models all across the range according to machine manufacturer.

When browsing your manufacturer you may on occasions see what we call an oversize groupseal. Over-sized group seals usually fit older machines in the range, as a general rule these are machines which have typically been manufactured prior to 1992, though please note this is only a generalisation, if you are not sure it may be best to buy both types to find out, we will help wherever possible but we don't know everything about every machine!

When fitting your new group seal, with some seals you will notice that one side is completely flat, like on a commercial Gaggia or Costa group seal for instance, whilst the other may have a slight ridge on the edge. The ridge always points to the sky so that the completely flat edge faces the portafilter or filter holder.

If the old seal has not been changed for some time it may have dried up and adhered itself to the group head, there is no magic solution for removing this, it's usually a case of brute force and stamina. It is a good idea to change the seal every 3 - 6 months dependant on how much you use the coffee machine, in countries like Spain and Italy it is common place for the machines Barista to change the seal once a month, this is good practice as it means you do not wait for the seal to go before replacing it, saving time, especially in a commercial operation when you may have busy bursts of coffee making action to deal with.

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