The morning dash – we’ve all been there. Already 5 minutes late, but at the risk of being even later, there still seems to be time to snatch a cup of coffee before hurtling out the door.
With Nespresso that should be easy. Capsule – close – extract – done. But sometimes the world spits the dummy. The last thing we want to deal with (especially in an un-caffeinated state) is waking up to see that our Nespresso machine has lights blinking madly and refusing to work.
Trying to decipher what the root cause is can be challenging, and let’s be fair, who has actually read the user manual? Luckily, there are a few common Nespresso machine problems that could be the cause behind these blinking lights.
- Stuck in descaling mode.
- The lever isn’t’ fully down.
- Low water level.
- The capsule is stuck.
- The buttons are wearing out.
- Turn it off and on again.
Now let’s discuss each of these in more detail.
Not The Right Issue? Checkout These Other Gudies:
- Machine leaking? Check out this guide on how to fix a leaking Nespresso machine.
- Milk not frothing? Read this guide to get your Aeroccino milk maker back up and running
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 💚
Table of Contents
1. Machine Is In Descaling Mode.
The most common reason why your Nespresso machine might be stuck with its lights flashing is when the machine is put into descaling mode. If you find the machine has both lights flashing rapidly (i.e. faster than they would when the machine is warming up) then you may have accidentally entered a cleaning mode known as ‘descaling’
To fix this, hold down both the flashing buttons for at least 7 seconds or until you hear a beep.
The machine may start flashing again at a slower rate, this just means it has to warm up again. Once the lights stop flashing you should be good to go.
If you have one of the fancier machine, then you may need to check out the specific descaling instructions in these guides below:
2. The Lever Isn’t Fully Down.
The capsule lever on most Nespresso machines has a habit of closing easily 90% of the way and then needing a bit of force to get it to snap completely closed. This can catch people out because there is a small microswitch inside the capsule mechanism that won’t be activated until the level is completely engaged.
Try checking that the lever is fully down, or open and close the machine again complete to make sure. Sometimes a coffee pod can get lodged sideways and prevent the mechanism from clicking into place.
3. Low Water Level.
This one may seem obvious but when it’s 7:59 AM with a toddler screaming at you then I can assure you it’s not. Check the water tank to make sure that it’s not empty. If it has run out, simply top up the tank with fresh drinking water. Once inserted back into the machines base the flashing lights should stop immediately.
4. There Are Blocked Capsules In The Machine.
From time to time your Nespresso machine may experience a blocked capsule. This may be from the pod being stuck sideways, twisted, or sometimes means the capsule has failed to be pierced on both ends by the barbs on the capsule holder mechanism. This will result in your Nespresso machine trying its hardest to push water through a capsule that is completely blocked and won’t let any water through.
Your Nespresso machine will start blinking to alert you of this error.
If you think this is the cause, then take the capsule out and check its orientation and that it’s being pierced at both ends correctly. If it hasn’t, try reloading the capture in the correct manner. Once you run the machine again the lights should stop blinking.
5. Buttons are wearing out.
Mechanical parts are prone to wear and tear and this is only exacerbated by the fact that’s the kitchen countertop is one of the dirtiest places in the house. Grease, gunk and grime can get into the tactile buttons of your espresso machine and get in the way of the electrical signal.
The easy fix if this happens is to press the button extra hard to see if you can make a connection, otherwise try the other lungo (big cup) button which may be in a better state of operation.
Of course, this is only a work around. If the problem persists, you’ll need to take the buttons apart to clean properly – or take the machine into your Nespresso dealer for a professional service.
If you do want to tackle this one yourself, grab some electrical contact cleaning spray and carefully spray some under the buttons. Wait a minute, press the buttons a few times, then give it another spray to make sure the solvent makes it all the way in.
6. Turn it off and on again.
Ok, look, we know this isn’ what you’re hoping to hear but sometimes the best option is to simply turn the machine off and on again at the wall.
Like all electrical systems there’s an element of black magic involved and to appease the Nespresso gods a simple flick of the switch – wait 5 seconds – and flick on again could be all that’s needed.
Still Having Problems? Time for an upgrade!
If you’ve tried these tips to get your Nespresso machine humming again and still can’t get it signing like new, then it may be time for an upgrade or replacement. It sucks, but these machines will only live for 5-10 years at best and will all eventually need replacing.
We know this is a little daunting, so put together this guide to choosing the best Nespresso machine on the market today.
We’ve brewed and tasted hundreds of espresso shots on our quest to determine which machine reigns supreme. The following are our top 4 winners.
- Best All Round: Nespresso CitiZ Espresso Machine by De’Longhi
- Best Value: The Essenza Mini by De’Longhi
- Best for the Barista: Nespresso Creatista by Breville
- Best for Busy People: Nespresso Lattissima Touch by De’Longhi
You can read the full review here 🙂
Nespresso Machine Troubleshooting Flashing Lights – FAQ
We hope the information above has helped with your morning coffee catastrophe, and your Nespresso machine’s blinking lights are now fixed, but in case it hasn’t here are a few frequently asked questions from the comment section below.
Q. How do I stop my Nespresso from flashing?
Nespresso machines usually flash while heating up. If it’s been a few minutes then you’ve got a problem. First, try to exit descaling mode by holding down both buttons for 7 seconds. If that doesn’t work, try checking the capsule lever is fully down (engaged) and the water tank is topped up.
Q. How To Fix Nespresso Lights Flashing 3 Times?
If your Nespresso machine is flashing 3 times fast, then pauses before repeating the sequence it, then this is the descaling mode indicator for the Vertuo Next machine. You’ll need to exit descaling mode before you can make a cup of coffee. Checkout our full descaling guide for this machine here.
Q. How do I get my Nespresso out of descaling mode?
For most Nespresso machines that have two buttons simply press both and hold for 7 seconds. the machine will return to the lights being solid illuminated meaning you can now make a cup of coffee.
We hope these six tips have helped you get caffeinated and out the door on time, even on those mornings when everything seems to be against you.
Let us know in the comments below if this helped fix your blinking Nespresso machine!
Of course, if these quick fixes have not worked, then the problem may stem from an issue that is far more serious. We recommend you contact your local Nespresso dealer for a professional examination or take it back to your original retailer if the machine is still under warranty.