De Longhi Espresso Machine Troubleshooting (11 Issues Fixed)

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de longhi espresso machine troubleshooting

De Longhi espresso machines are famous for brewing great coffee, but even those have their flaws from time to time. 

In fact, there are quite a few different issues you can run into. 

Regardless of what the issue is you’re dealing with, I’ve put together a complete De Longhi espresso machine troubleshooting guide. And, I’ve thrown in some handy fixes.

Let’s dive in.

De Longhi Espresso Machine Troubleshooting: 11 Issues & Fixes

a person cheking grinder on de longhi espresso machine

When you notice your Delonghi machine isn’t functioning properly, it can be easy to throw in the towel and declare your device defunct.

But, the truth is, many issues actually have pretty easy fixes.

Here are the common issues and their fixes.

1. Machine is Not Brewing

A common issue with the DeLonghi coffee maker is when the machine simply doesn’t brew after you press the button.

There are several reasons why this might happen.

The most common reason is your machine’s not plugged in properly. Check to make sure that the cord is not broken or disconnected from the socket.

Alternatively, if your De Longhi turns on but won’t brew, the water reservoir might have insufficient water.

Depending on your model, your espresso maker needs a specific water level in the water tank. When the water is below that amount, the machine won’t brew.

Your machine not brewing can also be because of an unstable filter basket. Check that it’s properly installed by:

  1. Pressing the brew button.
  2. Wait to see if your device’s blue LED light illuminates.
  3. If it does, the machine will brew shortly.

A loosely seated carafe on your machine’s warming plate can also be a cause. Tighten the carafe seal to try to fix the problem.

If none of these issues are the cause, you could have a clogged brew head. The brew head has filter baskets that allow water to mix into the coffee. If the filter baskets get clogged, your machine will only brew half a cup or not at all.

To prevent this from happening, check your portafilter and brew heads at least once a week. If you notice they’re clogged, get a long, sharp pin and use it to push the grounds out of the brew heads.

2. Machine is Not Pumping Water

Another common DeLonghi espresso coffee maker issue is that the machine doesn’t pump water.

If you’re struggling with this, check your water tank to make sure it’s correctly sealed. If not, air bubbles can start to form, and they can block the waterline.

If the water reservoir is properly seated, check its insides for limescale buildup. Limescale buildup can contaminate the water and stop the machine from pumping.

This buildup happens when you neglect to clean and descale your machine on a regular basis. To avoid it, you need to clean your machine’s water tank at least once a week.

To clean the tank:

  1. Rinse the water tank with hot water.
  2. Apply a mild detergent.
  3. Rinse again with running water.
  4. Use a clean cloth to dry the water tank.

Your water tank might also be empty. Remember, De Longhi coffee machines have water level indicators. If your machine’s water tank is below the minimum indicator, you’ll need to fill it to above that line to get the machine to pump.

Finally, if all else fails, the pump itself might be to blame. If this is the case, you can purchase repair kits from Delonghi to replace these defective devices.

3. Machine is Making Strange Noise

De Longhi coffee machines are not loud when brewing coffee. So, if you notice yours making loud strange noises, there’s a good chance something is up.

A common cause is the build-up of air bubbles in the water tank. You can quickly solve this by removing the tank from the machine and properly seating it again.

Old or worn-out De Longhi espresso machines can also make loud noises, especially when the pump stops working. To fix this problem:

  1. Place a mug under your machine’s frother.
  2. Open your De Longhi’s steam valve.
  3. Switch on your De Longhi.
  4. After you fill your mug with water, close the steam valve.
  5. Remove the water from your mug.
  6. You can now brew your coffee without the loud noises.

Another reason your machine makes strange noises is that it needs to be descaled.

Descaling unclogs your De Longhi coffee machine and improves the machine’s functionality and your coffee’s taste. Descaling your machine can be a quick fix to this problem.

4. Machine is Leaking

There’s nothing more annoying than a leaky coffee maker. If you find your DeLonghi coffee machine is leaking, check the water tank to make sure that it’s installed and sealed correctly.

If the water tank does not click into position, it blocks the connection to the machine’s pipes and can cause water leakage.

To fix this, turn off your espresso machine and check your water tank. Remove it from its place and reinsert it back in its proper position until you hear a click.

Also, De Longhi espresso machines can also cause portafilter leaks when their steam ring gaskets are already worn out. You can access the steam ring gasket by lowering the shower screen. Then, use a screwdriver to remove the gasket.

From there, you’ll need to replace the steam ring gasket. You can buy these directly from DeLonghi for a pretty low price.

5. Machine Doesn’t Froth

If next time you go to make a latte or cappuccino and the machine won’t froth, try checking the frother’s nozzles. In most cases, the nozzles are dirty, preventing steam from escaping to make your milk froth.

To clean the nozzles:

  1. Switch off and unplug the espresso coffee machine.
  2. Turn the frother nozzle to the right.
  3. Pull down the nozzle tip and remove the entire outer part.
  4. Then, clean each piece individually with water and a scrub brush.
  5. Let the pieces dry
  6. Put them back on the machine

Another reason your machine is not frothing is because of poor milk quality. Use milk that’s rich in protein and chilled. This will help you get a thick, creamy milk foam.

Your DeLonghi coffee machine might also be experiencing slow or low steam pressure. In that case, cleaning the steam nozzle is your best fix. You can follow the steps above to do so.

6. Machine is Not Grinding

When your Delonghi espresso machine is not grinding, there’s a problem with its conical burr grinder. The burr might not be installed properly, so it’s only floating in the grinder area rather than attached to a gear.

To fix this problem, turn off the machine and remove the beans from the burr grinder. After removing all the beans, it’s time to reseat the burr in the grinder:

  1. Switch the adjustment ring to 3 on the machine’s grind selector.
  2. Make sure it’s locked in place by pulling up the silver handle.
  3. After locking in position, reinstall the hopper and beans.

Another reason the grinder is not grinding is that the grinder is dirty. To clean it: 

  1. Turn off the machine and remove all coffee beans from the grinding unit.
  2. Use a pipe cleaner to clean the grinder feeder.
  3. Remove the carafe and open the machine’s filter door.
  4. The bean door should also be cleaned.
  5. Remove the remaining coffee grounds and dirt with a clean damp towel.
  6. Check that the brewing compartment is clean before proceeding with a brew test.

Changing the grinding settings to a coarser level can also help solve the problem.

7. Descale Light Won’t Turn Off

If you’ve ever run a descaling cycle and noticed that the descale light still won’t turn off, don’t panic. The most probable reason is you did not follow the proper descaling procedure.

Improper descaling procedure can prevent your espresso machine from getting the message that the cycle’s done. If this happens, you should descale your coffee machine again.

Once you finish the cycle properly, the light should switch off.

8. The Infuser is Stuck

Your De Longhi’s infuser or brew unit collects the used coffee pucks after brewing a cup of coffee. Sometimes, however, it can get stuck during brew cycles.

A common reason for this happening is a power interruption. Opening machine parts at improper times or other process interruptions can also lead to a stuck infuser.

If this happens, resetting the infuser is the right thing to do. Here’s how:

  1. Place the drip tray and ground bins in position.
  2. Check that red buttons are not pressed when you push the infuser in its proper position.
  3. Turn off and unplug the espresso machine.
  4. Wait thirty seconds before plugging it back and switching it on.
  5. The infuser has been reset.

If the infuser remains stuck after following the above procedure, it’s time to contact the De Longhi service center. The infusers are complicated pieces of technology, so it’s generally best to leave those fixes to the professionals.

9. Coffee Has a Bad Flavor

a person drinking coffee

No one wants a bitter, sour, or just plain bad cup of espresso coffee. Sadly, from time to time, this can happen.

One reason why brewed coffee from your De Longhi tastes awful is that your machine needs cleaning. Limescale build-up and accumulation of coffee beans can affect your coffee’s flavor.

To avoid this from happening, it’s important to regularly clean and descale your machine. Doing this also prevents clogging to avoid other potential issues.

Aside from a dirty machine, the grind settings can also affect coffee flavors. Choosing the fine grind setting can lead to more oil and caffeine extraction from the beans. This can make your espresso coffee too strong or bitter.

At the same time, grounds that are too coarse aren’t ideal either. Your coffee machine might not extract all the flavors from the bean, making your brew watery or weak. For the best taste, choose medium-grind sizes.

Using way too much coffee than the recommended amount can also cause a bad coffee flavor. De Longhi recommends using ten grams or two tablespoons of ground coffee mixed with 180 mL of water.

10. Coffee is Not Hot

Another common DeLonghi issue is when the machine produces lukewarm or (God forbid) cold espresso coffee.

Cold coffee can happen when you have not used your coffee machine for a long time. If this happens, check whether your machine’s firmware is still up-to-date. A simple update can sometimes be all you need to fix the problem.

The thermo-block on your espresso machine can also be faulty. If that’s the case, you’ll need to replace it.

Finally, your coffee can come out less hot if there are mineral deposits in the unit. Regularly descaling your coffee machine can fix and prevent this issue.

11. Coffee is Too Weak or Too Strong

If your De Longhi produces espresso coffee that’s too weak, it’s often because you added too much water. Make sure to check the ideal amount of water for the type of coffee you’re brewing.

Another cause for too weak coffee is if the grind setting is too coarse. You can decrease the setting one notch at a time during the main grinding process to correct the grind size.

Conversely, if the coffee is too strong, it’s often because your grind setting is too fine. You can adjust the grind size during the main grinding process.

How to Descale DeLonghi Espresso Machine

Not descaling your coffee machine is one of the most common causes of issues with a DeLonghi. That’s why it’s so important to do so regularly.

Luckily, descaling your machine is pretty simple. De Longhi offers a descaling solution you can purchase to flush the machine’s internal components. If you don’t have the solution, white vinegar is an effective alternative.

With your solution in hand, here’s what to do:

  1. Empty the water tank and the container for capsules.
  2. Switch on your coffee machine.
  3. If you are using vinegar, mix three parts into a cup of water and add it to the water tank. If you’re using a descaling solution, use the same ratio of that instead.
  4. Remove the filter basket and put the carafe in position. Start a brew cycle.
  5. When the carafe becomes filled with the descaling solution, empty it out.
  6. Refill the tank with water.
  7. Start another brew cycle. Check for the acidic smell.
  8. Repeat brewing cycles until your coffee machine is free from a weird smell.

Final Words

De Longhi coffee machines are reputable and long-lasting, but they encounter issues too.

Luckily, most of these issues have simple fixes which you can implement in just a few minutes. And of course, if all else fails, you can always take advantage of your warranty and call Delonghi.

And, if it’s not a technical issue but a user problem you’re struggling with? Check out our guide on how to use a DeLonghi espresso machine like a pro!

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Jessica Fleming-Montoya
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.