While not built quite to the same standard as some of the more premium Nespresso machines, Dolce Gusto machines are pretty hardy. There’s only a limited number of issues that can cause them to break.
If you want to prolong the life of your Dolce Gusto machine (and to keep the coffee tasting as good as possible), then regular descaling and general cleanliness is the most essential thing you can.
Read on as we have four tips that can keep your coffee machine kicking for years to come!
Why Listen To Us? Well, because we KNOW coffee! In fact, we make our own coffee, coffee machine cleaners, and reusable capsules which we've sold to over 41 countries. Our team ouf experts include Tristan (an engineer), Claire (a food writer) and Richy (a barista). So, whether you're looking for a recipe or repair guide, we've got you covered 💚
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How long will your Dolce Gusto machine last?
The lifespan of most coffee machines can be anywhere between 5 and 10 years, depending on the type. Dolce Gusto machines are sold quite cheap and from our experience, the parts used are generally of a cheap-average quality. The design however is simple and well refined which means there isn’t really too much that can go wrong – especially on the more manual machines, so we suggest a lifespan in the middle of the range of around 7 years is sensible.
By following a basic maintenance regime, you should be able to get 10 years out of your coffee machine.
Tip 1: The Cleanliness of Your Dolce Gusto Machine
Think about your typical café coffee experience. Some will serve delightful coffee that always tastes pristine, yet other establishments, serving the same variety of coffee present you with odd liquids that taste nothing like a coffee should. Of course, there are plenty of variables that go into making a good espresso, but the most likely culprit is how well they clean the coffee machines.
People sometimes say that “their coffee machine just went wrong suddenly.” This is rarely true and typically there are clues that something is wrong, well before they cease to function correctly. Pay attention to your machine and your machine will have indications that all is not well.
The very first sign of a problem that you will notice is that the taste is not right. The reason you originally purchased a Dolce Gusto was most likely for the taste, so we hope that you will start to notice when it does not taste as good as it used to. Do not just put it down to your imagination. Carry out an immediate descaling and cleaning.
What is Descaling, and why should I do it?
All coffee machines build up deposits of calcium and limescale when in regular use. How fast this happens will depend on your local water. Some have higher levels of calcium than others. Descaling is the removal of these deposits, and to extend the life of your machine you should do this regularly.
Dolce Gusto suggests that you should do this at least every three months. Most Dolce Gusto machines also have an inbuilt descaling light that will come on after 300 capsules have been extracted.
A good habit to get into is to do this sooner rather than later. And don’t worry – the whole descaling process should take as little as 20 minutes.
To carry out descaling you will need a “Descaling Solution” which you can usually purchase directly from where you bought your coffee machine.. or we find it easier and cheaper to grab one here from Amazon.
How to descaling a Dolce Gusto machine:
Most Dolce Gusto machines follow similar steps to run a descaling process.
- Remove any used capsules from the machine and insert the descaling funnel into the capsule tray.
- Fill the water container with the correct amount of water and mix in a dose of descaling solution.
- Place a liter jug under the coffee outlet
- Turn on the machine
- You will need to press different buttons depending on which model you have. Check your manual or look at our easy how-to guides below!
- This starts the descaling program, which should take 2 minutes to run.
- Once the descaling program is completed, refill the water tank with clean water and run the program again, this will rinse the system.
- Empty and rinse your drip tray
- To leave the descaling program, just press the same button you used to start the program
- Leave your machine to dry for ten minutes.
If this is a little confusing, or you’d like a complete step-by-step guide for your machine, you can check out our detailed descaling guides for each make of coffee machine:
- How To Descale Your Dolce Gusto Mini Me
- How To Descale Your Dolce Gusto Infinissima
- How To Descale Your Dolce Gusto Lumio Machine
- How To Descale Your Dolce Gusto Picolo XS Machine
- How To Descale Your Dolce Gusto Genio Machine
Tip 2: Don’t ever let the water tank run dry!
Unfortunately, most Dolce Gusto machines can’t detect if their water tank is empty (or about to run out of water). This means the machine is will go ahead and try to pump from the tank as per usual, even if there is no water there!
If this happens, the pump will draw air into the system instead, and this does a few really bad things to your coffee machine.
- It creates pockets of steam (and pressure) when these air bubbles enter the heating element
- Air in the heating element can cause the element to burn out (since there’s no water to keep it cool)
- Enough air can cause the water pump to lose its suction which will slow down or stop water moving all together!
If you do this enough times, it’s only a matter of time before you’re going to run into some problems.
I always check that my water reservoir is at least half full before making any coffee, and suggest everyone does the same. It’s especially easy when making a few coffees in quick succession to lose track of the water level and let it run dry!
Tip 3: Keep your machine in a cool, dry place
It’s worth considering where you park your prized coffee maker as it can affect the longevity of the machine in the long run.
- Keep out of direct sunlight – Most Dolce Gusto machines have black outer casing which can absorb a lot of heat when left in direct sunlight. This heating causes the components to expand and contract – leading to mechanical fatigue and eventually causing parts to crack and fail
- Keep Dry – water always finds its way in, so make sure not to leave your machine in a wet area, or on a wet counter-top. The ingress of water can cause components to rust or corrode internally, and can cause the electronics to fail too.
- Sea breeze – Salt air from being near the sea is super corrosive and will to the same damage in months as you would see in years of regular use. If your home is near the sea, consider keeping your Dolce Gusto machine in a cupboard or drawer.
Tip 4: Third Party Capsules
Not all third party coffee pods are created equal, and the size can vary a lot between manufacturers.
Using a pod that is too big or too small can not only damage the capsule holder mechanism but can also lead to leaks and pressure imbalances.
If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. Many people have broken their machines these days by using the wrong sized pods.
Our Suggested Daily Maintenance Routine
I carry out this routine every morning once I’m finished making coffee for the day, so my machine is set ready to go the next morning. Making it a habit at a certain time works best and you have more chance of remembering.
- Purge the machine with fresh water to flush out any coffee residue.
- Empty the used capsule container – Coffee grounds contain oils that go rancid and if you leave capsules too long in the used capsule container you are not helping your machine stay fresh. They also will continue to leak coffee juices.
- Replace the water in the water reservoir and make sure it’s completely full each day. Clean the water tank each week.
- Wipe down the exterior surfaces of the machine with a damp cloth.
- Make sure the counter top is dry and there’s no puddles beneath the machine.
In this article, we’ve shared some tricks we’ve picked up as long-time Dolce Gusto users which can help you increase the life span of your coffee machine by carrying out a simple maintenance routine.
Not only will this help you preserve your investment (saving money in the long term), but it will also ensure that the taste of your coffee remains as good as it was when you first invested in your coffee machine.