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Nespresso Troubleshooting: 8 Fixes When Your Nespresso Machine Isn’t Working

When our need for coffee is not instantly met by our usually reliable Nespresso machine not working, life can seem quite bleak. However, it can be frustrating when you don’t know what the answer is and it may be quite simple.

Of course, there can be more than one problem and there are a few common issues that may arise causing the machine to cease to function. Many of the issues aren’t serious and can be easy to fix at home, so we will take a look at them and how to solve them without help.

Nespresso Machine Not Working

Problem-Solving Your Nespresso Machine

Problem-Solving Your Nespresso Machine
Problem-Solving Your Nespresso Machine

Some of the problems that arise are caused by poor maintenance of the coffee machine leading to it failing to work.

  • The water pump fails to pump water.
  • The Nespresso machine fails to work because it is clogged with coffee
  • Too much coffee is being dispensed
  • Failing to pierce the pods
  • The Nespresso light is flashing
  • Failing to use enough water to make coffee
  • Opening the machine before the coffee finishes brewing
  • Coffee is not hot enough

A lot of these issues are intuitive and are easily solved by you. We will start with a really important one:

Coffee is not hot enough

This is a common reason for the Nespresso machine not working properly.
Nespresso machine not working properly

Firstly descale your machine, this should be done every 2-3 months to clean out any coffee grounds and at the same time get rid of bacteria and any other build-up. This is a common reason for the Nespresso machine not working properly. Once it is descaled it should heat up well.

Quick Fact: If the machine is still not heating and you have had it for a while, it is possibly the thermostat.

When the machine is activated it pumps hot water through the injector holes, under pressure into the capsule. The base of the capsule then ruptures and the brewed coffee exits the capsule through the holes. There is a safety valve inside the brewing chamber to prevent it from exploding when the pathway gets blocked.

So when the process is working correctly, the coffee should flow out nicely hot into your cup.

Too Much Coffee is Being Dispensed

Sometimes family members become impulsive and press the stop button before the machine has completed its pouring cycle. This can lead to too much coffee being dispensed. Reset your machine as per instructions and this will also reset the volume and extraction timing. Explain the machine to other family members who may be less technical than you.

Nespresso Machine is not Piercing Pods

Nespresso Machine Is Not Piercing Pods
Nespresso Machine Is Not Piercing Pods

If the machine does not pierce the pods the coffee won’t come out. First, check the puncturing needle, if it is bent or has broken off it won’t work. The needle may need replacing. The other reason is that you may have purchased some incompatible pods, as the newer machines are only compatible with Nespresso pods.

The unique barcode on each capsule contains the parameters for extraction and regulates the flow and the volume of water as well as the temperature.

Why is my Nespresso Machine Failing to Pump Water

Sometimes large air bubbles form, and to remove them, run the water through the machine several times. Always check your water tank to make sure that it has water in it. Are there any leaks, is your water tank in the right spot? Take it out and put it back in to correctly align it.

Why Does My Machine Stop Suddenly

Nespresso coffee machine is a quality appliance
Nespresso coffee machine is a quality appliance

Is the machine switched to power-saving mode? If so, turn the power-saving mode off.
If you have a Vertuoline Machine you may need to call the support line to decipher what the blinks mean.

The easiest signal is two red blinks and one green means refilling your water tank. Never try to make coffee without enough water in the tank. If the coffee-making function goes haywire, eject the capsule and start again. Turn the machine off at the power point and turn it on again.

This will reboot the system, and often works, especially if someone has been touching the buttons. While your machine is turned off press and hold the Lungo button for 5 seconds. This should reset the machine.

The new Espresso machines provide an innovative way to create coffee. Each machine uses an intelligent extraction system known as centrifugation technology tailoring the extraction levels to meet the needs. So when you find your Nespresso machine not working there is a reason for it, and it could be time to descale.

Quick Fact: Your Nespresso coffee machine is a quality appliance and with the proper care, it should last for 10 to 15 years.

How do I know When it is Time to Descale my Machine?

Descaling Nespresso Machine
Descaling Nespresso Machine

If the machine has been used daily for one month it is time to descale it and the good news is there are special cleaning capsules you can use to clean the coffee maker. Nespresso recommends that you do this once a month to keep your coffee maker in optimal order.

When a Nespresso machine not working properly it could be time to descale, and any of these signs may be a symptom of not working well.

  • Your machine is making strange noises, it could be clogging
  • The coffee pours slowly in a dribble
  • Coffee is not hot enough
  • The coffee has a sludgy unclean taste
  • The lights may be red and green

Any of the above signs means that it is definitely time to use the Nespresso cleaning capsule.

My Nespresso Machine has no Pressure

The pressure exerted by the machine is fundamental in making a good cup of coffee. The Nespresso coffee makers have a maximum pressure of 20bar + 3 and these refer to the pump design. There are also some basic requirements for preparing coffee and they are:

  • Use 7 grams of ground coffee
  • Coffee should not be too coarse
  • The ideal temperature for infusion is 187 degrees Farenheight
  • When in the cup the coffee should be 160 degrees F.
  • 25 seconds of infusion is required
  • Final coffee extraction should be 25 milliliters
  • The water pressure during brewing reaches 9 bars.
  • The machine will lose pressure if you open the device before the pour is finished.

The other reason is the lack of water pressure related to the pump, and the coffee maker will show signs that something is wrong. We will obtain only a trickle of coffee and then we know something is very wrong. If this happens reset the machine immediately by unplugging the coffee maker and holding down the Lungo button.

Limescale and other residual calcium inside the coffee maker should be removed with a descaling of the machine. You will know that the problem has been solved when you measure the volume of the coffee again following the cleaning process.

Check your reservoir turn the machine on and wait for it to heat up. Open and close the capsule holder, and then run a long cycle of the machine.

After this cycle is completed you should find that the machine has returned to normal.
When the coffee is not coming out, carry out a descale as it is probably time for a cleaning.

Resolving My Nespresso Red Light

The diagnostic light system in your coffee machine is there to help you, and sometimes when the lights are blinking red it can be as simple as unplugging the machine, waiting for 60 seconds then plugging it back in again.

A fading red light means that your coffee machine has been overused in a short time. Unplug the machine and give it a 15-minute break before starting it again.

The red light blinks twice the orange blinks, something is wrong, try ejecting the capsule and starting again, remove the water tank if it is still happening then reposition the tank and start again.

Quick Fact: Nespresso Machine not working, blinks 3 times, and then stays red. Empty the used capsule and push the lever down. Check for any obstacles that may be impeding coffee making. If it is still not working it is time to call support.

Using the Lungo Button to Reset Your Machine

Lungo Button to Reset Your Machine
Lungo Button to Reset Your Machine

A Lungo shot uses double the amount of water and takes a bit longer to pull. Pressing and holding the Lungo button is used to reset the machine when a malfunction has occurred. When your machine is off and you want to reset it. Hold the Lungo button for five seconds and the light will blink 3 times. This resets your machine to factory settings and often corrects the blinking of the fault light.

To meet demands by North Americans for larger serves of coffee, in February 2014 Nespresso launched a new Vertuoline system in the USA and Canada. The mug and cup sizes are all a bit larger and each capsule has a barcode embedded on its rim.

The barcode reads 5 different parameters including, infusion time temperature, volume, and flow of water. This can exclude compatible capsules from other companies, which may be what Nespresso wants.

So when your Nespresso machine not working, it could be something as simple as taking out the capsule and putting a new one in so that the machine can read it correctly.

Trouble Shooting Nespresso Machine Not Working

If the water quality isn’t good in your area, due to flooding and other issues, it is often a good idea to only make your coffee using filtered water. On a recent trip to the country, the water supply appeared quite muddy, and using this water in your Nespresso machine would probably ruin it and your digestive tract as well.

Filtered water is pure and avoids all the calcium and trace elements present when you turn on the tap. Many of these elements are not visible to the naked eye so when in the country stick with filtered water to help your machine last longer.

Quality Control

Nespresso Machine Quality Control
Nespresso Machine Quality Control

All Nespresso coffee is roasted, ground, and placed in capsules in one of the three Swiss factories, and then sold to North America and other countries worldwide. Back in 2000, Nespresso began distributing machines bearing the Nespresso brand.

Because the coffee is hermetically sealed it does not degrade like coffee in an open pack, and each capsule contains 5-7 grams of ground coffee.

Recycling Capsules

Nespresso capsules are made of aluminum and less than 25% of them are recycled annually. Nespresso Pro, Original line, and Vertuoline can be recycled at Nespresso recycling facilities. Or find recycling locally near you. as Nestle did not implement any recycling outside Switzerland.

Frequently Asked Questions

My machine uses a lot of water, my drip tray is always full

Try grinding your beans more coarsely.

How often should I replace my coffee machine?

If you clean it and keep it in good condition it should last for 10 to 15 years.

How do I clean my coffee machine?

It requires regular cleaning and descaling. Use the Nespresso cleaning pods

How do I order my Nespresso coffee pods?

Nespresso coffee pods are available online. Have a look at the range, there is an extremely wide choice and they are not expensive. There is a wide range of varieties in 25 different blends.

Do all coffee pods fit Nespresso?

No, only use pods approved by the manufacturer. The new Vertuo line offers 26 unique coffee blends in five-cup sizes so there are plenty to choose from.

Can I recycle the pods?

Yes, straight in the aluminum recycling waste at the council depot.


Nespresso machine is not working? Well, the good news is you can often fix it yourself. We all love appliances with intuitive flashing lights that enable us to solve the puzzle.

To me, it is like a game and I pride myself on solving the issue as fast as possible, if you can’t solve it there is always the helpline, different helplines for different models, and they will talk through your issues with you.

With the best possible care, your Nespresso machine will last for years and we never tire of our coffee three or four cups of coffee a day, the latest research says there are health benefits! More about that later!

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About Denise Opi

Hi, my name is Denise and I hail from Lille, France. I am a teacher by day, and a coffee lover by night! My family owns a coffee farm, and I am excited to share my journey with everyone!