Meaning of flashing lights on the Nespresso

The states of the lights of our Nespresso coffee makers have the purpose of informing us of the state in which the coffee maker is at any given moment. It is not easy to interpret what is happening to a Nespresso coffee machine through the combinations of steady or flashing lights.

Over the years, Nespresso has evolved its models, but the meaning of the lights has remained practically the same. This article will show what each light means, its flashing frequency, and other combinations that can occur when the buttons light up.

If you are looking for the meaning of Nespresso Vertuo coffee machines, click here.

Flashing lights and modes of the classic Nespresso coffee machines (two buttons)

In this first section, we will explain what the flashing lights of the classic Nespresso coffee makers, with two buttons for the preparation of coffee, mean. Before we start, please, check your Nespresso coffee machine manual.

We have elaborated a simple explanatory table, where the first three columns determine the status of the coffee maker at any given moment (fourth column). The number of lights, the state of these lights, and the frequency with which they are illuminated determine the coffee maker’s state.

LightsStatusFrequencyStatus of the coffee maker
Both lightsOffOff
Both lightsSteady OnReady
Both lightsFlashingFlashing 3x per 2 seconds (fast)Fault
Both lightsFlashingFlashing 1x per second (slow)Warming up
Both lightsFlashingFlashing 3x per 2 seconds (fast)Descaling
Espresso light (lungo light on or off depending on model)FlashingFlashes 1x per second (slow)Brewing espresso
Luz de lungo (espresso light on or off depending on the model)FlashingFlashes 1x per second (slow)Brewing lungo

Coffee machine modes according to the lights

As we have said before, the lights on the buttons of our Nespresso coffee maker inform us at all times of the status of our coffee maker. A classic Nespresso coffee maker has ten possible states common to most Nespresso coffee makers.

Heating mode

Each time the Nespresso coffee maker is turned on, it enters a heating mode. The thermoblock heats up to 90ºC in less than 30 seconds without exceeding this temperature. With this heating mode, the coffee brewed at 86ºC is obtained.

To exit this mode, the coffee maker must be turned off.

Self-test mode

As in the previous case, Nespresso checks that the thermostat is working properly (connection and disconnection) and that the thermoblock reaches a temperature of 90ºC in less than two minutes. The machine will also check the last five errors recorded.

To exit this mode, turn off the coffee maker.

Coffee maker ready mode

This mode is initiated in different situations; whenever the warm-up mode and the self-test mode are finished, the Nespresso enters the «ready mode». It also enters this mode when coffee is finished brewing when exiting the «reset mode» or the «descaling mode». In this mode, the thermoblock remains at 90ºC.

To exit this mode, turn off the coffee maker.

Coffee preparation mode

The Nespresso coffee machine enters this mode each time the espresso or lungo preparation button is pressed. To exit this mode, it is necessary to press the espresso (or lungo) button again or wait for the coffee maker to finish brewing the coffee to exit this mode automatically.

Coffee cup volume – programming mode

This mode is similar to the previous one. We hold down the espresso or lungo button to program the amount of coffee we want in our cup for each button (more than 3 seconds). The programmable volumes vary between 10 – and 750 ml.

This mode exists when the button is released.

Descaling mode

To enter the decalcification mode of a Nespresso coffee maker is necessary to turn on the coffee maker and wait until it enters «ready mode,» then press and hold the coffee preparation buttons for 3 seconds. To initiate the process, press any button, and then the coffee maker will maintain the thermoblock at a temperature of 65ºC.

To exit the descaling mode, press and hold both buttons for 3 seconds. If you turn off the coffee maker in descaling mode, it will return to descaling mode when you turn it on again.

Emptying mode (evaporation)

To enter this mode is necessary to turn off the Nespresso coffee maker, hold down the espresso button and turn on the coffee maker. In this mode, the coffee maker starts the pump and stops it after 10 seconds, heats the thermoblock to 105ºC (maximum capacity), and then disconnects it. After this, the Nespresso switches itself off and locks for 10 minutes.

To exit this mode, turn off the machine.

Reset mode

Turn off the Nespresso machine, press and hold the lungo button, and turn on the machine to access this mode. In this mode, the brewer resets the volumes programmed for each type of coffee (40 ml for espresso and 100ml for lungo) to the factory settings. The lights indicate the mode for 3 seconds.

The coffee maker automatically exits this mode and enters the self-test mode.

Auto shut-off mode

The coffee maker enters this mode after a certain period of non-use. The Nespresso switches itself off after 9 minutes of idle time, but the auto shut-off time can be changed to 30 minutes.

To change the auto shut-off time to 30 minutes, turn off the Nespresso and press and hold the espresso button for 3 seconds. The button will flash to indicate the programmed rest time (1 time = 9 min / 2 times = 30 min / 3 times = off). Press the espresso button until it flashes at the desired value to change the time.

Fault mode

The Nespresso coffee machine enters fault mode if any of the following scenarios occur:

  • The thermostat is not connected.
  • The thermostat is short-circuited.
  • The thermoblock heats up too slowly.

The brewer will display the fault warning by flashing the brew lights. These lights will flash three times every 2 seconds, and the Nespresso will not operate until the problem has been resolved.

Flashing lights and modes of the classic Nespresso coffee machines (three buttons)

This second section will explain what the flashing lights mean on the classic Nespresso coffee machines with three buttons for coffee preparation.

As the coffee machines with three buttons are very different, instead of creating a table for each model and explaining all the modes of each one, we have decided to leave the priceless service manuals at your disposal.

Note: Nespresso machines can malfunction for many other reasons. For the most common Nespresso machine malfunctions (and their solutions), please visit this other article: Nespresso Troubleshooting.