Why is my Nespresso not pouring enough coffee?

When a user thinks their Nespresso machine is not pouring enough coffee, it is often a perception created by the factory settings, something you can easily check (as you’ll see how). However, there are times when a problem requires attention, and we’ll see how to handle it in this guide.

Different coffee sizes in Nespresso Original and Vertuo

Before investigating any issues with a Nespresso machine not providing a full cup, it’s important first to understand the right amount of coffee dispensed when pressing each button.

Coffee size in a classic Nespresso machine

To check if your Nespresso is working correctly, brew a coffee and compare the results with the values in the following table. This will help you determine if your Nespresso does not pour enough coffee or is just your perception.

OriginalLineNespresso with 2 buttonsNespresso with 3 buttons
Small cup (ristretto)25 ml (±7%)
Small cup (espresso)40 ml (±7%)40 ml (±7%)
Large cup (lungo)110 ml (±7%)110 ml (±7%)
Table of coffee sizes in Nespresso Original

Coffee size in a Vertuo Nespresso machine

The sizes in the table below cannot be modified in the Nespresso Vertuo; they are predefined in the coffee pod’s barcode. Measure the resulting size of a drink and compare it with the table to see if your machine has a problem:

VertuoLineNespresso Vertuo NextNespresso Vertuo Plus
Espresso40 ml (±7%)40 ml (±7%)
Double espresso80 ml (±7%)80 ml (±7%)
Gran lungo150 ml (±7%)150 ml (±7%)
Mug230 ml (±7%)230 ml (±7%)
Pour-Over Style
535 ml (±7%)
Table of coffee sizes in Nespresso Vertuo

Reasons why a Nespresso machine is only brewing half a cup

Once it is verified that the Nespresso machine is not pouring enough coffee, we must consider the possible reasons.

Misconfiguration of pre-established coffee volumes (Nespresso Original)

It’s possible that someone else used the Nespresso and, either unintentionally or unknowingly, pressed one of the buttons for more than 3 seconds while preparing a coffee. This action can change the coffee volume assigned to that button.

Sometimes, a dirty or worn button can be automatically pressed without anyone touching it. In this case, it’s necessary to disassemble the outer cover of the machine to access the buttons. Then, they must be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol, which is safe for electronic components. *If any button is damaged, it must be replaced.

To reset the volumes to factory settings (40 ml / 110 ml), you must do the following:

  1. Unplug the Nespresso.
  2. Hold down the lungo button.
  3. Connect the Nespresso.
  4. Release the lungo button.

How do you configure coffee volumes to my liking? (Nespresso Original)

Now that I’ve explained how to return the coffee volumes to the factory settings, let me explain how to modify them to your liking:

  1. Prepare the coffee as usual, but instead of a short press, hold down the coffee button you want to configure for at least 3 seconds to start programming mode.
  2. Release the button only when the desired coffee fill level is reached.
How to modify coffee volumes in a Nespresso

Video on how to configure coffee volumes in a Nespresso:

Accumulation of limescale inside the components of the Nespresso (Original and Vertuo)

If you’ve read other articles on my blog, you’ll think I’m insistent and I keep asking you to descale your coffee machine. However, although it may seem repetitive, limescale accumulation is the main cause of Nespresso machine failures, so keeping your coffee machine free from limescale is very important to avoid future problems.

➡️ Get here a Nespresso descaling Kit

Limescale can impact three key components of Nespresso machines, leading to the machine not dispensing enough water:

  • The thermoblock is the most affected component. Water flows through its metal structure at high temperatures, which promotes the formation of limescale deposits on its internal walls. A thermoblock full of limescale reduces water pressure, resulting in less coffee in your cup.
  • The pump, although it does not accumulate as much limescale as the thermoblock, can suffer small deposits that obstruct its piston, slowing it down. This decreases the water pressure and, therefore, the amount of coffee produced.
  • Finally, the internal pipes, though less prone to limescale accumulation, can collect sediments and impurities from the water, leading to obstructions. These blockages also reduce the amount of coffee.

Dirt on the pod piercing disk at the front of the Nespresso (OriginalLine)

The front piercing disk is another likely cause of your Nespresso not serving the desired amount of coffee. This disk is always in contact with the capsule and coffee residues and often gets clogged.

To clean this disk, you don’t need to disassemble anything, use an old toothbrush and clean water to scrub it. Avoid using needles or other sharp objects in the holes of the disk.

Detail of the coffee pods perforating disk
Detail of the coffee pods perforating disk
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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