Nespresso Vertuo Machine Fix: Flashing Yellow & Red Lights

Updated Mar 12, 2024 • Petie Schill

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If you’re a caffeine lover, chances are you might own a Nespresso Vertuo machine. It’s a highly-rated machine that makes exceptional coffee and espresso right in your home, making it a popular product among coffee drinkers. But, as with any device, problems can arise. If you’ve noticed blinking yellow or red lights, you might have a slight problem. Let’s dive into troubleshooting tips so you can get back to your daily brew with your Vertuo.

nespresso machine

What do the Yellow and Red Lights Mean? 

The yellow and red lights don’t always signify a problem. If the lights are on, they indicate that the machine is waiting for a coffee capsule to start brewing. But if they’re flashing, that means there might be a problem. Keep reading to learn about different ways to troubleshoot the problem.

Make Sure It’s Getting Power

Before you take any drastic measures, there are a few initial steps you can try to troubleshoot. First, make sure your machine is getting enough power. Make sure that it’s plugged into a power outlet that’s working and that the power cord has no problems. You can also try unplugging your Nespresso Vertuo for at least 30 seconds and plugging it back in. Try brewing a cup and see if the yellow or red lights are still flashing. If they are, you can try the tips below.

Reset the Machine

You can also try resetting the machine and restoring it to its factory settings. First, remove any used capsules and close the machine’s head, leaving the lever unlocked. Then, push the button 5 times within 3 seconds. If you’re having problems resetting your device, contact Nespresso customer service to troubleshoot.

Check for Water Tank and Coffee Outlet Blockages

Another reason for your Nespresso Vertuo problems might be a blockage in the machine. You can see if the water tank is blocked by removing the tank and examining the opening. You can look for hard water deposits or other debris, removing minor blockages with an object that fits inside the opening, like a toothpick. You can also look for a coffee outlet blockage if the water tank is transparent. Take out any used coffee capsules and make sure there are no leftover grounds or other debris. Again, remove any blockages with a small object.

nespresso machine water tank

Descale your Machine

You might need to descale your machine using a liquid chemical to remove more severe mineral buildup. According to Nespresso, your machine should be descaled every 300 capsules or every 3 months- whichever comes first. You should use a Nespresso Descaling Kit, which includes a solution that dissolves scale build-up. Descaling directions may vary slightly depending on the kind of Vertuo machine you have. Follow these steps to descale your Vertuo Plus: 

1. Turn on your machine.

2. Eject any used capsule by opening the machine head and pushing the lever upwards. 

3. Close and turn off the machine. 

4. Empty the used capsule container and the cup support.

5. Fill the tank with 17 ounces of water and one unit of Nespresso descaling liquid.

6. Access the special functions menu by simultaneously pushing the lever and the button down for 3 seconds. You should see an orange light indicating access to the unique functions menu.

7. Enter descaling mode by pressing and releasing the lever once.

8. Under the coffee spout, place a large mug or other dish that can hold at least 27 ounces of water.

9. Begin the descaling process by pressing and releasing the button once. The orange light will continue to blink during the process. Your machine will stop descaling automatically.

10. Once the machine has ended the descaling, empty and clean the water tank and cup support. 

11. Refill the tank with fresh water.

12. Complete a rinsing cycle by pressing and releasing the button once. Again, the machine will stop automatically when the process is complete. 

13. Rinse the tank again, and refill it with fresh drinkable water.

14. Exit descaling mode by simultaneously pressing and holding the button and the lever until the light becomes green. 

15. Wipe down the machine with a damp cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes. It’s now ready to be used again!

nespresso machine in descaling process

Replace the Water Tank

If you’ve tried everything this far but still see blinking red or yellow lights, you might need to replace your machine’s water tank. If you see any apparent damage, like a crack, you must purchase a new tank from Nespresso. To replace the tank, first, remove the old one by using the release button and lifting it out of your Vertuo. Then, take your new tank and press it in until you hear it click into place. After filling the new one with water, turn on your machine and ensure the water tank indicator light is green. If you need further assistance, you should contact Nespresso customer service.

Meet the expert

Petie has a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and is currently a graduate student in Italy. With a passion for travel and cross-cultural learning, she has tried coffee all over the world. Previously a barista and coffeehouse manager, Petie is most knowledgeable about coffee bean flavor profiles, safe coffee practices, equipment, and fair trade coffee.

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