Meaning of the lights on your Nespresso coffee machine

The lights in our Nespresso machine are designed to inform us of the machine’s status according to the present situation. However, when there is a combination of steady or flashing lights, it is difficult to identify what is happening with the coffee maker.

Even though Nespresso increasingly evolves its models, the meaning of the lights of its machines has remained practically the same over the years. Here, you will find not only the meaning of each light but we will also discuss in depth the frequency of their flashing and all the combinations that can occur when you turn on the buttons of the machine.

➡️ See this article for the meaning of the power button lights on VertuoLine

Meaning of the lights on the Nespresso Classic (OriginalLine)

We will begin by explaining the meaning of the flashing lights in the OriginalLine Nespresso coffee makers that have only two buttons for their preparations.

In the simple table below, the fourth column determines the status of your Nespresso according to the number of lights illuminated (first column), the status of these lights (second column), and the frequency with which they are illuminated (third column).

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
Lungo light (espresso light on or off depending on the model)FlashingFlashes 1x per second (slow)Brewing lungo
Meanings of the lights on Nespresso coffee machines

Status of your Nespresso according to the lights

The lights on the buttons of our Nespresso coffee machine inform us of the machine’s status, and a Nespresso OriginalLine has 10 possible statuses in common with the majority of Nespresso coffee machines.

Mode 1: Heating

When you turn on your Nespresso, it will immediately enter heating mode. In less than 30 seconds, the thermoblock will heat up to 194ºF without exceeding this temperature, which allows you to obtain a coffee brewed at 186ºF.

➡️ To exit this mode, you must turn off the coffee maker.

Mode 2: Self-test

Nespresso machines have a system for thermostat operation (connection and disconnection); it also checks that the thermoblock reaches 194ºF in less than two minutes, and the last five errors are recorded in the coffee maker during this period.

➡️ The way to exit this state is to turn off the coffee maker.

Mode 3: Coffee maker ready

This mode is initiated in different situations; whenever the “heating mode” and the “self-test mode” are finished, the Nespresso enters the “ready mode.”

Note: The Nespresso enters this mode when coffee is finished brewing and exiting the “reset mode” and the “descaling mode.” In this mode, the thermoblock remains at 194ºF.

➡️ Turn off the coffee maker if you want to exit this mode.

Mode 4: Coffee preparation

Every time the espresso or lungo preparation button is pressed, the Nespresso machine automatically enters this coffee “preparation mode“.

➡️ Exiting this mode is very simple. Press the espresso or lungo preparation button again, or wait for the machine to automatically exit this mode when you have finished preparing the coffee.

Mode 5: Programming of coffee cup volume

Similar to the previous modes, this mode is given when we hold down the espresso or lungo button to program the amount of coffee we want to obtain (for each button, more than 3 seconds). You can program the volume of your preparations between 10 and 750 ml.

➡️ For this mode to exist, you must release the button.

Mode 6: Descaling

For your Nespresso to enter “decalcification mode,” you must first turn on the machine and wait for it to enter “ready mode.” Then, hold down both coffee preparation buttons for 3 seconds, and the decalcification process will start by pressing any button. During this mode, the coffee maker will maintain the thermoblock at 150ºF.

➡️ If you want to exit the “descaling mode“, you should NOT turn off the coffee maker since it will return to the same mode when you turn it on. Just press and hold both buttons for three seconds, and you will immediately exit this mode.

Mode 7: Emptying or evaporation

To enter the “emptying mode,” turn off your Nespresso, press and hold the espresso button, and turn it on again. The pump will start up, and after 10 seconds, it will stop; the machine will heat the thermoblock to its maximum capacity, 221ºF, and then disconnect it. After this, the machine will disconnect and be blocked for 10 minutes.

➡️ Turn off the Nespresso if you want to exit this mode.

Mode 8: Reset

If you want your Nespresso to enter “reset mode“, you must turn it off, press and hold the lungo button and turn it on again. The volumes programmed for each type of coffee (40 ml for espresso and 100 ml for lungo) will be reset to the factory settings. In this mode, the lights will turn on for 3 seconds.

➡️ To exit this mode will not be necessary, as it will automatically go into the self-test mode.

Mode 9: Auto shut-off

When the Nespresso has been inactive for a certain period, it will automatically enter this “auto shut-off mode“. We are talking about periods of inactivity longer than 9 minutes, but you can change the automatic disconnection time to 30 minutes in the following way:

  1. Turn off the Nespresso and press and hold the espresso button for 3 seconds.
  2. The button will flash, indicating the programmed rest time (1 time=9 min / 2 times=30 min / 3 times=off).
  3. Press the espresso button until it flashes at the value you wish to program the off time.

Only if one of the following cases occurs will the machine enter this failure mode:

  1. When the thermostat is not connected.
  2. When there is a short-circuit in the thermostat.
  3. When the thermoblock heats up too slowly.

The fault warning will be displayed through both brewing buttons flashing. The flashing will occur thrice every two seconds, and the coffee machine will stop operating until the problem is resolved.

Note: The proper functioning of your Nespresso machine can be affected for various reasons. To know the most common faults these machines can suffer and their solutions, check our article on Troubleshooting Nespresso coffee makers.

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.

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