Delonghi La Specialista troubleshooting

The Delonghi La Specialista stands out as one of the finest espresso machines in the market. This high-end coffee maker comes with a one-year warranty in the UK and a two-year warranty in the US and Canada from the date of purchase. While it’s uncommon (though not impossible) for machines of this quality to experience issues, this guide aims to help you troubleshoot potential malfunctions, identify their causes, and provide effective solutions.

Please look at the table of contents below to find the issue affecting your Delonghi La Specialista. In this guide, I’ve organized them based on the frequency other users ask me, so the problem with your coffee maker might be towards the end of this post.

The descaling indicator light on La Specialista does not turn off

Don’t panic if the descaling indicator light persists even after completing the full descaling process for your Delonghi La Specialista. This issue is more common than you might think, but the good news is that it can be easily resolved.

➡️ Although the first thing you should do is proceed with another decalcification, paying close attention to ensuring that each step has been carried out correctly (follow this guide). If the indicator continues to be lit after this, you probably have an issue with the flow meters.

The problem: The descaling light is still on after correctly descaling the coffee maker.

The cause: This problem, most of the time, involves damage to the water flow meter; when this happens, the control board of the coffee maker receives an incorrect signal.

The solution:

  1. Disassemble the machine.
  2. Locate the flowmeters (there are two), remove them, and clean the inside very carefully.
  3. Put the flowmeters back in place.
  4. If this cleaning is insufficient and the problem persists, replace the flowmeters with new ones.
Steam flow meter and water flow meter
Steam flow meter and water flow meter

The Delonghi La Specialista steam wand does not work

A very common issue with these machines is found in the steam wand. Suddenly and without warning, the steam wand may stop working. Two different but related cases may occur: on the one hand, it may produce no steam and only dispense water, and on the other, the steam may be excessively hot, making it impossible to froth.

Issue: When activating the steam wand, only cold water comes out or does nothing at all.

Cause: The steam wand thermostat is malfunctioning, preventing steam release. In most cases, the heater itself is faulty, leading to thermostat failure.

Solution: Check for continuity in the thermostat. Everything is in order if there is continuity with the machine being turned off. However, if there is no continuity, the thermostat is damaged, and you should replace it with the boiler.

Thermoblocks and steam thermostat
Thermoblocks (red circle and yellow arrows) and steam thermostat (yellow circle)

The pressure on the Delonghi La Specialista is either too low or too high

When we notice a loss of pressure in our coffee makers, our initial thought might be that the water pump is not functioning. However, the cause and solution to this problem are simpler than we might think.

Most internal components in machines like La Specialista are of high quality. They are designed and assembled to last many years without issues as long as proper maintenance is carried out. Before disassembling the machine, perform one or two descaling processes. If you still experience pressure problems after this, you may consider other potential causes:

  • Typically, low pressure is associated with water leaks or valves that do not allow water to pass through properly. You should disassemble your machine, disconnect and inspect each valve and pipe.
  • When encountering excessively high pressure, there is a blockage somewhere. As the water passage section becomes smaller, it increases pressure.

The pressure gauge on the Delonghi La Specialista is not working

This problem encompasses several situations, including the needle rising very little, too much, or not moving. Each issue has a different cause and, therefore, a distinct solution:

Issue 1: The pressure gauge needle does not move at all when making coffee.

Cause 1: When the pressure gauge needle remains stationary, the most likely cause is that the gauge itself is broken. While not common, a hit, excessive dirt, or a manufacturing defect may have caused it to malfunction.

Solution 1: Disassemble the pressure gauge and look for a different cause of the failure. This gauge has a small tube with an O-ring at the junction. If, for any reason, water does not reach the pressure gauge, the needle will not move.

If you can’t find anything obvious, you should buy a replacement.

Issues 2 and 3: When preparing coffee, the pressure gauge needle rises very little or too much.

Causes 2 and 3: If the needle rises very little or too much, we can rule out that the pressure gauge is broken or the pressure is not reaching it. If the lack or excess of pressure is also observed in the coffee group, the problem is a general issue with the coffee maker itself, not the pressure gauge.

Solutions 2 and 3: Descale the machine because the accumulation of limescale in the internal circuits often leads to malfunctions in coffee makers like La Specialista.

If this does not solve the problem, you should buy a replacement.

The Delonghi La Specialista is leaking water from the base

The worst nightmare for any coffee maker user is trying to brew coffee and finding water everywhere. Unfortunately, Delonghi coffee makers seem no exception, and most bean-to-cup machines from the brand suffer from water leaks.

Issue: We notice water leaking from the machine’s base when making coffee. Gradually, the more we use the machine, the more water we find on our countertop.

Cause 1: A plastic connector at the boiler’s outlet tends to break after numerous heating and cooling cycles. Sometimes, cracks occur, and there is complete breakage in other instances.

Boiler outlet connection
Boiler outlet connection

Cause 2: If this connector is not the issue, check all internal connectors, as they have O-rings inside. If these O-rings break or deform, they can lead to leaks.

Solution: Disassemble the coffee maker, access this connector, and replace it with a new one.

My Delonghi La Specialista leaks from underneath the coffee group

When the coffee group presents water leaks, it is annoying because of the mess it causes and because the quality of the coffee that comes out of the machine is affected. This problem can be due to various causes, some of which are easy to solve, while others represent a much more complex problem.

The problem: Every time the coffee maker prepares a coffee, the water escapes from the edges of the filter holder, and the output pressure decreases.

Cause 1: This case represents a somewhat more difficult problem to solve. One or more tabs that hold the portafilter to the coffee group are broken. If the portafilter is not held tightly enough, coffee will spill over the edges as it comes out.

Solution 1: The solution to this problem is a little more complex because the tabs are part of the machine’s chassis.

It is impossible to change only this part; the entire chassis must be replaced, and all the internal components must be moved to the new one. This work can only be done by someone qualified and experienced enough to repair these coffee machines.

Plastic fins and rubber gasket on disassembled La Specialista chassis
Plastic fins and rubber gasket on disassembled La Specialista chassis

Cause 2: This cause is frequent and easily solved; the whitish rubber gasket in the filter holder support (as seen in the previous image) is worn out or completely damaged and does not allow the filter holder to fit tightly, causing the leak.

Solution 2: It is as simple as buying and replacing a new rubber gasket with the damaged one. You can do this yourself; remove the center screw of the shower and remove the gasket with your hands.

Cause 3: There is another black rubber gasket on the filter holder bracket; it is located just behind the white rubber gasket; it can also wear out or break, causing leaks.

Solution 3: Remove the central screw of the filter holder bracket and remove the white rubber gasket with your hands, then remove the black gasket and replace it with a new one.

Issue with the grinder. The clicks of the adjustment ring cannot be heard

Sometimes, the clicks are no longer heard when turning the grind adjustment ring, and the resulting ground coffee is too coarse, preventing the production of good espresso. It seems as if moving the ring does not affect the grind size.

The problem: The ring has been disconnected from the grinder, which does not allow you to adjust the degree of grinding, so no matter how many times you try to turn it, the grinding grade will not change.

The cause: The disassembly or improper handling of the coffee maker can cause some parts to become loose or broken. If this happens with the adjustment ring, the connection with the grinder will be lost and unable to function.

The solution:

  1. Turn off and unplug the coffee maker.
  2. Turn the grinder hopper to the “open lock” position and pull it upwards.
  3. Turn the grinder’s base to the “remove” position (you will find it on the opposite side of the grinding degrees) and remove the grinder burrs by pulling them upwards.
  4. Remove the water tank from the coffee maker.
  5. On the upper rear part of the machine, you will find two screws, remove them and lift the upper cover of the coffee maker by hand; the clips on the edges will come out easily by pulling upwards.
  6. Turn the grinder base back to the “remove” position.
  7. You will find a plastic pillar that you should move counterclockwise until the end.
  8. Then, push the pillar two clips in the same direction as clockwise.
  9. Replace the top cover of the coffee maker.
  10. Put the screws and the water tank back in place.
Position of the grinder at reinstallation
Position of the grinder at reinstallation

The coffee bean container light keeps flashing

The coffee bean container light flashes when the hopper is not properly set. Sometimes, even though the hopper is properly set, the light keeps flashing the same; in this case, we will show you why and what to do.

The problem: The hopper was badly placed in its place, and the coffee maker blocked the preparation of the coffee. When correcting the position of the hopper, leaving it very well placed and adjusted, the coffee maker does not detect it and continues to block the brewing.

The cause: A switch inside the grinder is activated by the plastic tabs of the hopper. If any of these tabs are damaged, the switch will stop working, and the coffee maker will not allow us to prepare coffee.

A broken tab of the hopper of the Delonghi La Specialista coffee machine
A broken tab of the hopper of the Delonghi La Specialista coffee machine

The solution: In this case, replacing the hopper with a new one will be better. Fortunately, its price should not exceed 18 Dollars.

Little or no ground coffee comes out of the grinder

It is necessary to remember that not all types of coffee are suitable for automatic coffee makers, such as La Specialista; roasted coffees mixed with sugar can cause obstructions in the grinding burrs or other parts of the grinder. So, if you do not want to damage your coffee maker, always use a natural roast coffee.

The problem: When trying to make a preparation, we place our filter holder in the ground coffee group, but we notice that the machine dispenses little or no ground coffee.

The cause: Coffee residues have accumulated, obstructing the grinder or the grinding group ducts. This happens mostly when the wrong coffee is used and the grinder is not properly cleaned.

The first solution:

  1. Remove the grinding burrs from the grinder (as mentioned in one of the previous sections) and clean them very well, ensuring no coffee residue remains.
  2. With the help of the cleaning rod that comes with the coffee maker, try to clean the ducts that transport the ground coffee.
Cleaning of the ground coffee group
Cleaning of the ground coffee group

The second solution: If the cleaning done with the cleaning rod was not enough to unblock the ducts, it would be necessary to disassemble the coffee maker to thoroughly check the channel through which the coffee passes since it is most likely that a coffee “pill” is causing the obstruction. In this case, disassemble the part and try to remove the obstruction.

Funnel through which ground coffee goes
Funnel through which ground coffee goes

The coffee grinder does not turn on

It can also happen that the grinder of our Delonghi La Specialista stops working completely; that is, it does not start, make any movement, or emit any sound; in general, the part seems useless.

The problem: The electrical current does not reach the grinder, so it will never start.

The cause: The problem comes from the grinder control board conflicting with a separate board. If the capacitors on the control board are damaged, no current will reach the grinder.

The solution:

  1. Disassemble the coffee maker.
  2. Check that the capacitors are in good condition, and if they are damaged, they should be replaced.
  3. If the problem does not lie in the capacitors, you should check the entire control board because it should be replaced if damaged.
Grinder control board and its capacitor
The grinder control board and its capacitor

My Delonghi La Specialista won’t turn on

The problem: If when you try to start your coffee maker, you notice that the lights on the front panel do not turn on and it does not emit any sound, it is probably because there is no voltage reaching the machine, and this usually has a direct relationship with the on/off button of the coffee maker.

The first cause: On the back of the machine, you will find a switch; if it is broken or damaged, the coffee maker will not turn on.

The first solution: You should check with a multimeter if the electrical current is consistent when you turn on the switch. To do this, you must first disconnect the machine from the current, and if there is no such continuity, you must replace the switch with a new one, or you could also try to repair the damaged one.

Check that the switch is working
Check that the switch is working

The second cause: The circuit that feeds the control board of the coffee maker has probably been interrupted at some point. The coffee maker does not turn on as no voltage or current reaches the control board.

The second solution: If you checked with the multimeter that the circuit breaker is in good condition, you should continue to check the path of the wires leading to the control board. Locate the damaged component where the electrical circuit has no continuity and fix it.

The third cause is that some control board components are damaged if all of the above is OK. A damaged capacitor can sometimes interrupt the current passage and prevent the coffee maker from turning on.

The third solution: If you have detected a damaged capacitor, replace it, and your Delonghi La Specialista will start working again. You can replace the entire control board to make things less complicated.

How to descale my Delonghi La Specialista

Whenever the descaling light on our Delonghi La Specialista coffee maker comes on, we will perform a descaling on our machine. The steps to follow are very simple, which I detail below:

Steps to follow in the descaling of La Specialista:

  1. Add the descaling liquid to the water tank up to level A.
  2. Add clean water to the water tank up to level B.
  3. Place the water tank back into the machine.
  4. Position a large container under the coffee group, the water spout, and the frother.
  5. Turn the coffee selection dial to the descaling position with the machine on.
  6. Press the “OK” button.
  7. The process will start, and you will see water alternately coming from the coffee group, the spout, and the frother (the frother dial may be closed).
  8. After approximately 30 minutes, the tank is empty, and the empty tank and rinse light will come on.
  9. Empty the descaling water from the container used to collect the water.
  10. Rinse the tank thoroughly and fill it with clean water to the maximum level.
  11. Move the coffee selection dial to the espresso position.
  12. Place the container back under the three outlets and press the rinse button.
  13. Once the water tank is empty, the descaling light will be turned off.
  14. Remove the container and empty the drip tray.
  15. Refill the water tank.

Delonghi La Specialista coffee machine flashing lights

Coffee makers with no display to communicate their status use lights with different symbols to inform the user.

Whenever we see the light (or a combination of several) on our Delonghi La Specialista, the machine will inform us of its status; this ranges from “all ok” through “no water in the tank” to “there is a fault in the coffee maker.” In this article, we will see all the possibilities.

Meaning of the water tank light on steady red

Water tank light on steady
The water tank light is on steady

The causes:

  • The water tank is empty.
  • The water tank has been installed incorrectly.

Meaning of the tamper light flashing white

Tamper light flashing
Tamper light flashing

The cause:

  • The portafilter has been removed without using the smart tamper station. To solve this, turn the knob to the pre-ground coffee position to bypass the grinder, replace the portafilter, and tamper with the coffee.

Meaning of the coffee reservoir light on steady red

Coffee beans container light on steady
Coffee beans container light on steady

The cause:

  • No beans are left in the coffee reservoir.

Meaning of the coffee reservoir light flash

Coffee beans container light flashing
The coffee beans container light flashing

The cause:

  • The coffee bean reservoir has been installed incorrectly.

Meaning of the heater light on steady red

Heating light on
Heating light on

The cause:

  • The boiler temperature is too high and needs to cool down before brewing coffee.

Meaning of the emergency light on a steady red

warning light on steady
warning light on steady

The cause:

  • There is an internal fault inside the coffee maker. The Delonghi technical service should be notified.

Meaning of the general alarm light and heater flashing simultaneously red

The general alarm light and heater flash simultaneously
The general alarm light and heater flash simultaneously

The cause:

  • The drip tray has been installed incorrectly.

Meaning of the decalcification light on steady red

The decalcification light is on steady
The decalcification light is on steady

The cause:

  • The coffee maker has accumulated a lot of limescale and needs to be descaled.

Meaning that the emergency light is on steady simultaneously with the tank and tamper light flashing

Emergency light steady, and the tank and tamper light flashing
The emergency light is steady, and the tank and tamper lights are flashing

The cause:

  • You removed the filter holder before the milling process was finished, so you must restart the process. To do this, discard the coffee in the basket and repeat the grinding process.

Meaning of the rinsing light and water tank light flash simultaneously

Rinsing light and water tank light flashing simultaneously
The rinsing light and water tank light flash simultaneously

The causes:

  • The brewer group requires a rinse due to a coffee blockage. To do this, press the rinse button without installing the filter holder.
  • The ground coffee is too fine, and the water cannot pass through the ground coffee. Adjust the grinder to a coarser grind.
Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

Leave a Comment