The Nespresso machine makes espresso-based drinks using small, insertable capsules. It is excellent for people who want the taste of a professional coffee shop in their own home.
But what happens if your Nespresso experiences technical difficulties? What can you do when your Nespresso blinks an orange light at you?
What is a Nespresso Machine?
A Nespresso is a premium-level coffee machine. Think of it as a tier above a Keurig. Nespresso specializes in espresso-style drinks, like Americanos or cappuccinos. Other instant coffee machines can make nearly any drink, but may not have the quality Nespresso does.
There are a variety of Nespresso machines available, depending on what you are looking for. The simplest version, the Essenza, has a compact design that just makes espresso and nothing else. On the other side of the spectrum is the Maestria, which comes with bonus coffee functions, such as a steam pipe for frothing milk.
Nespresso is also popular for its sustainability. They use recyclable aluminum for their capsules rather than plastic. The machines also measure the water and energy needed for single cups of coffee, reducing electricity consumption.
There is some debate if the espresso from a Nespresso is authentic espresso. Coffee connoisseurs will argue that it is not the same but the average coffee drinker will taste little difference. Nespresso also makes it super simple to make espresso at home, no matter your level of coffee experience.
What Does the Orange Light Indicate and How to Fix the Issue?
The lights on the Nespresso indicate if the machine is in working condition. A green light means that the machine is working and ready to brew. If you see a light blinking orange, however, it could be one of a handful of issues.
Fortunately, these issues have fairly quick fixes and do not mean that your Nespresso is broken, so don’t panic!
Blinking Two Times Per Second
If you are seeing this blinking pattern, then it is likely that your machine is dirty and not able to read the pods correctly.
This can be an easy fix. First, clean off any coffee grounds stuck to or around the bar code scanner. This will allow the machine to read the barcodes on the Nespresso capsules and function properly.
Next, unplug the machine and remove any capsules inside. Use a damp paper towel to wipe out any coffee residue that may have built up in this area. Ensure the spinning part inside of the machine can move freely.
You can try tipping the machine upside down (after unplugging it) to get better access to the spinning component. Be cautious, as this part usually has small teeth for securing the capsule.
Once the whole area is thoroughly clean, put the Nespresso machine back in its rightful place and plug it back in. Run a test to ensure it is working well again. If it is, you can go back to brewing your coffee without worry. If it’s still blinking, however, a more complicated fix may be necessary.
Blinking Three Times Per Second
If your Nespresso is blinking three times, then this is your machine telling you that it needs a descaling. All coffee machines need to run a descaling process from time to time. Water minerals build up inside machines over time, especially in the presence of heat. Descaling your device simply removes those particles.
To descale your Nespresso, start by turning your machine on and removing any pods that may be inside. Next, remove the cup support and pod container.
Nespresso has a special descaling liquid you can use to help with this process. Use one unit of the liquid with a full tank of water. To start the descaling process, push down the button on the machine and the lever simultaneously for at least three seconds. Your device will now shine a steady orange light.
At this point, press and release the lever once. This will put the machine into descaling mode. Make sure you put a container under the spout that will hold the full amount of water in the tank. With the container in place, press the Nespresso button. Your machine will now descale.
Allow the machine to work through the entire tank of water. This may take up to twenty minutes. After descaling, your machine will need a rinse cycle. Simply fill the tank with fresh water and press the Nespresso button to begin rinsing.
Once you have finished descaling your machine, remember to press the lever and button together for three seconds. This will take your device out of descaling mode and back into regular mode.
Blinking Two Times for One Second And Then Off
If you notice the Nespresso blink twice, this is just another sign that you must clean your machine.
As stated above, to clean your machine, open it up and remove any remaining capsules. Use a damp paper town to wipe down the area where the capsule sits, the spinning mechanism, and the underside of the head.
The reason cleaning your machine is so important is for two reasons. One, cleaning your machine will help to prevent clogs. The spinning mechanism, for example, needs to be kept clean to move.
Second, the bar code scanner needs to be clear to read the bar code on the Nespresso cups. Without the barcode, the Nespresso machine will be unable to brew your coffee, as it will not know what settings it needs to brew at. These settings include the brewing temperature, water pressure, and water volume, which are all read using the barcode.
Pulsing (Off Then On)
A pulsing light means that your Nespresso is too hot. This can happen if you’ve been making a lot of coffee in a short period.
When this happens, all you need to do is let the machine cool down. Nespresso recommends that you turn the machine off by pressing and holding the button for three seconds to force it to shut down. Press the button again to turn it back on.
After turning the machine back on, allow the machine to cool for at least 20 minutes before trying to make coffee again. You may need to wait as long as one hour before you can use the Nespresso machine again.
If your machine is still pulsing after it has cooled, press and hold the button for at least 7 seconds. This should clear the internal error that will make the pulsing stop, assuming the machine is cool.
When this happens, it is essential to allow the machine to cool as much as possible before using it again. If you don’t, the machine may break down or even catch fire. Internal parts to the machine could melt if exposed to high enough temperatures for an extended period. For safety and longevity, make sure your machine is given time to cool.
Blinking for 1.5 Seconds, Then Off for 0.5 Seconds
This blinking pattern means that your Nespresso machine has an empty water tank. The water is needed to brew your coffee using the Nespresso cups.
When you see this blinking pattern, remove the water tank and fill it with fresh water. Place the water tank back in the Nespresso machine and press the button to start brewing coffee again.
As a general tip to avoid this, remember to check your water tank every time you go to use the machine. Just glance at the tank, and top up the water if needed. Another option would be to top up the water every time you use the machine after brewing.
Blinking Five Times in Ten Seconds
This blinking pattern means you must perform a factory reset on your machine. This may happen when there is an internal error. It may also occur in conjunction with other maintenance issues.
To factory reset your machine, start with opening the device and ejecting any capsules inside. With nothing inside, you can close the Nespresso again and leave it in the unlocked position.
Your next step is to press the button five times within 3 seconds. If you have done this step correctly, the machine will blink five times are you, indicating that you have reset it.
Blink Orange and Then Turning White for Three Seconds
This blinking pattern is a warning from your machine that you will need to descale it soon. You can still use the device at this point, but you will only be able to use it a few more times before a descaling is necessary.
Descaling is a way to clean any mineral build-up from your machine. Depending on the condition of your tap water, minerals from the water will build up and harden under heat.
When you see the orange warning light, it is a good idea to descale your machine as soon as possible. You don’t want to be running late to work and find your Nespresso unusable because you forget to descale it. For this reason, keep the descaling solution from Nespresso on hand. Descaling can be an easy process if you think ahead.
It is hard to say how often you will need to descale your machine. This depends on the water and how quickly the mineral deposits add up. Using hard water may require that you descale more often. Meanwhile, if you only use pure distilled water, you may not need to descale quite as often.
General Tips to Better Care for Your Machine
One of the best ways to take care of your Nespresso is to keep it clean. If there is a build-up of old coffee grounds around the head of the machine, it will be unable to brew your coffee very well, if at all. Old coffee grounds will cause the spinning mechanism in the machine head to get stuck. It will not be able to cut into the coffee capsule.
Additionally, a dirty machine may not be able to use the built-in bar code scanner to read the code on the capsule. Since Nespresso uses these barcodes to use the smallest amount of water and energy in brewing, the machine must be able to do so.
If you are making coffee for many people, try to give the machine small breaks between cups. Using the device for a long time may cause the Nespresso to break down, melting the parts inside in extreme circumstances. If it overheats, you will have to allow your device to cool for at least 20 minutes before another use.
Maintenance is necessary with any machine, and Nespresso comes with a variety of light patterns to let you know what to do. With any luck, you will be back to brewing delicious coffee in no time.
Did this article help fix your Nespresso? Let us know in the comments, and share it with all your espresso-loving friends!