Nespresso Machines are pretty hardy and there are only a limited number of issues that can cause them to break. If you want to prolong the life of your Nespresso machine and to keep the coffee tasting as good as possible, then regular descaling and general cleanliness is essential.
How long will your Nespresso machine last?
The lifespan of most coffee machines can be anywhere between 5 and 10 years, depending on the type. Nespresso machines are generally made of quality parts and a tried-and-tested designs which means they should be on the mid to upper end of that range. By following a sensible maintenance regime, you should be able to get 10 years out of your coffee machine.
Tip 1: The Cleanliness of Your Nespresso 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 Nespresso was for the taste, so I hope that you will notice if it does not taste as good as it used to. Do not just put it down to your imagination. Carry out an immediate descaling.
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.
Nespresso suggests that you should do this at least every three months. A good habit to get into is to descale after every 300 capsules. The whole descaling process should take as little as 20 minutes.
Note: If you are fortunate enough to have a VertuoLine this model comes with a light that will flash when it senses that descaling is required. It’s a nice feature.
How to descaling a Nespresso machine:
Most Nespresso machines follow similar steps to run a descaling process.
- Remove any used capsules from the Nespresso machine
- Empty the capsule container
- Fill the water container with the correct amount of water and mix in a sachet 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
o Virtuoline – hold the singular button for 7 seconds
o Pixie, Inissia, and Citiz – press the two flashing buttons simultaneously for 3 seconds
o Prodigio – press all three buttons for 3 seconds
- This starts the descaling program, which should take 10 minutes to run.
- With certain machines, you may need to refill the water tank with the used solution and run the program again.
- 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 Nespresso machine:
- How to descale your Nespresso Inissia coffee machine.
- How to descale your Nespresso Pixie coffee machine.
- How to descale your Nespresso U coffee machine
- How to descale your Lattissima Touch coffee machine
- How to descale your Nespresso CitiZ coffee machine
Tip 2: Don’t ever let the water tank run dry!
Unfortunately, most Nespresso 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.
- 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 Nespresso as it can affect the longevity of the machine in the long run.
- Keep out of direct sunlight – Most Nespresso machine 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 Nespresso 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 Nespresso users which can help you increase the life span of your Nespresso 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 Nespresso machine.