Nespresso Troubleshooting: How To Solve Common Problems

Every coffee machine will eventually run into an issue.

Nespresso machines are no different.

It can be frustrating if you don’t know what the problem is or how to fix it.

In this Nespresso troubleshooting article, I’ll explain some of the most common issues and how to fix them.

By the end, you will have a good grasp of the most likely problems and their solutions.

Let’s dive in!

Nespresso Troubleshooting: The Common Problems

Despite your best efforts, you most likely will run into an issue or two during your Nespresso machine’s life.

That’s the bad news.

The good news?

Most of the issues aren’t serious and are actually really easy to deal with.

In this section, let’s go over the most common issues you might see and how to solve them.

The machine has no pressure

The most likely cause is?

Air in the system.

Air can get into your machine if you:

  • Try to make coffee without enough water in the reservoir
  • Open the machine before your coffee is fully finished

Luckily the fix is relatively easy.

First, make sure your water reservoir is full.

Next, turn your machine on and wait for it to heat up.

Then open and close the capsule holder without putting a coffee pod in the machine.

Lastly, push the biggest coffee button your machine can make and let the cycle run completely.

Repeat the last step two or three times, or until your machine returns to normal.

Coffee is not hot enough

Okay, I know that coffee temperature is a personal preference.

But still, sometimes your machine just won’t get your coffee hot enough.

What’s the answer?

That’s a little complicated.

There are really two things you can try to make your coffee hotter:

  1. Preheat your coffee mug
  2. Descale your espresso machine

If you put hot coffee in a cold or room temperature mug, the mug will sap heat away from your coffee. That means your coffee will cool down much faster than if your mug is already hot.

So, it’s as easy as filling up your coffee mug with boiling water, waiting for thirty seconds, and then dumping it out.

Descaling your Nespresso machine is a bit more involved. 

I would recommend following Nespresso’s instructions for how to descale your exact machine.

But the gist of the descaling process is basically a deep cleaning of the inside of your machine with a descaling solution. It helps your machine run smoothly.

The water is leaking

Luckily, this one is generally a pretty simple fix.

The most common culprit?

Your water tank isn’t in the right spot.

If your Nespresso machine is leaking, chances are the water reservoir isn’t properly positioned. Simply take it out and put it back in, making sure you get it lined up properly.

Coffee is not coming out

This one can get a bit complicated.

But there are a few things you can do before starting to panic:

  • Make sure your water tank is full and in the right position. Your Nespresso machine won’t make coffee if the water tank isn’t full or in the right spot.
  • Make sure you have a fresh Nespresso pod in the machine and the machine is correctly closed and locked.
  • Perform a cleaning cycle following Nespresso’s instructions. (Nespresso recommends running a cleaning cycle every 300 brews anyway.)
  • You might need to descale your machine.

I’ll say this:

I’ve been in situations with coffee brewers many times where I thought the machine was broken. Most of the time, however, something just wasn’t hooked up right. 

Or I forgot to turn on the machine.

Keep in mind I’m a trained barista, so anyone can make simple mistakes with their machines.

That brings me to the next common issue.

Nespresso machine not turning on

top view nespresso coffee maker

First things first: check the machine is plugged in.

I know it seems obvious. But sometimes it’s the simple things.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Nespresso machines usually have a power-saving mode. This means that your machine will turn off after a set amount of time to save energy.

You’ll have to turn your machine back on a wait for it to heat up again if it is turned off in power-saving mode.

Did you know?
Nespresso has different support numbers for each line of machines. For a VertuoLine machine call 877-964-6299. For an OriginalLine machine use 800-562-1465.

Resolving Nespresso Red Light

The main way your Nespresso communicates with you is through the light.

But deciphering what all the blinks and colors mean can be confusing.

Let’s break down the different lights you might see on your Nespresso coffee maker and explain what each one is and how to fix it.

Steady light or blinks once per second

This light means there’s an error in the machine.

Don’t panic yet.

Usually, you can unplug the machine, wait 15 seconds, and then plug it back in.

If doing this doesn’t help, then it’s probably best to contact Nespresso support.

Blinks twice then steady green

Two red blinks then steady green is really simple:

Refill your water tank!

Trying to make coffee without enough water in the tank can lead to air in your machine. 

Air in the system can reduce pressure, clog your machine, or give you a pretty off-tasting cup of coffee.

Pulse down or fade out

nespresso coffee maker

Slow down there, coffee drinker!

A pulse down or fading out red light means you’ve used your coffee maker too much in too short a time.

Take a step back and let your machine cool down before making another cup of coffee.

(If this happens a lot, you might want to consider the Nespresso Vertuo Next. It can brew 18 oz carafes instead of a single mug at a time.)

Blinks red light twice then blinks orange

This happens when running a special function and something goes wrong.

Usually, ejecting the Nespresso capsule and restarting the function is enough to fix the issue.

If you’re emptying the system and you see these lights, then remove the water tank.

If the issue persists, it’s probably best to contact Nespresso Support.

Steady light with half red and half green

You’ll need to descale soon!

This light isn’t urgent, but it will be soon.

A steady half red, half green light means you’re machine is just about ready for a descaling.

It’s best to refer to Nespresso’s instructions on how to properly descale your machine.

Blinks three times then steady red

Something is stopping the machine head from getting in the right position to brew coffee.

Try emptying the used capsule container and then pushing the lever down.

Also, you can look for other obstacles around the machine head.

FAQ

Okay, the last few items. These are a few quick things you might need to know to help keep your Nespresso machine running smoothly.

How do I reset my Nespresso machine?

When your machine is off, press and hold the Lungo button for 5 seconds. The light will blink fast three times.

Your machine is then reset to factory settings.

How do I know if my Nespresso machine needs descaling?

Here are five ways to know when you should descale:

  1. Your coffee isn’t as hot as it normally is
  2. Your coffee pours slower than normal
  3. Your coffee tastes dirty or charred
  4. Your machine is making strange noises
  5. You see a steady half green, half red light when your machine turns on

How do you unclog a Nespresso machine?

Nespresso has special cleaning capsules you can use to clean your coffee maker. These are generally the best way to unclog and clean your Nespresso.

Nespresso recommends cleaning your machine every 30 brews or at least once each month.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the things that could go wrong.

I would recommend reading through your machine’s manual. You can also contact Nespresso Support with any problems that seem too complicated to fix without help.

But this list does give you a good starting point for troubleshooting on your own.

Good luck with your Nespresso machine!

Need a drink for the summer months?

Check out our article on how to make iced coffee with Nespresso!

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.