Nespresso not brewing full cup (100% working fixes)

By Barath
Last Updated:
Nespresso not brewing full cup

If your Nespresso (Original or Vertuo line) is not brewing a full cup, the main reasons can be the formation of scales inside the water tube or a poorly maintained machine with coffee grounds stuck in the Needle.

My Vertuo pop constantly made a poor brew, either less in quantity or watery coffee. Descaling properly, with a good descaling agent was the best fix for this.

What will work for you? Run a cleaning cycle, and manually clean the Needle. If that does not work, perform descaling using a proper descaling agent. If nothing works, perform a factory reset and check if the water reservoir is properly mounted.

Read Also: Shocking sunburst chart of caffeine content in Nespresso vertuo capsules

Most Common Problems
Improper descaling ProcessThe most common problem is improper descaling.
Ensure you do the descaling cycle using a good descaling agent.
Air-lock can also be a common reason, that should be fixed by descaling properly
Keeping a Dirty NeedleIf you re-use the capsule or have a non-existent cleaning routine, then
debris gets built up on the needle on the lid. Run a cleaning cycle and manually
clean the needle
Programmatic quantity controlVertuo Line Nespresso remembers the quantity of coffee if you press the brew
button twice. Reset this by doing a factory reset cycle on your machine.
If none works, check if the water reservoir has a blockage and if there is enough water in the reservoir. Call customer care before you decide to replace your Nespresso 🙁

Descale your Nespresso properly

Irrespective of what type of Nespresso you own (Original or Vertuo line), the main reason why the quantity might be lesser than usual is the presence of scales inside the machine. Do you use unfiltered water? or are you living in a place where hard water is common? Then descaling works like magic!

Before you continue, check if Nespresso is brewing more watery coffee than usual, if that is the case, then also consider checking this detailed article. I have faced watery coffee a few times before, and descaling helps.

Do not use Citric acid or Vinegar as a descaling agent, Use the Nespresso descaling agent (Recommended). Read the guide for proper descaling technique with Nespresso.

Air-locked Nespresso can cause poor brewing

If you have ever let your water reservoir run dry, then you might have sucked some air into your Nespresso machine. This will affect the pressure inside and might mean you are not getting the full Nespresso experience.

To correct this, fill the reservoir with water, remove the previously used pod from the cradle, and close the capsule lever. Place a cup on the spout and press the mug button (in the case of Original Line) or do the cleaning cycle in the case of VertuoLine Nespresso. Hot water will pour into the cup, forcing any air pockets out of the machine.

Note that, Air-locked Nespresso is not really a problem, but if you do the descaling cycle, this should be automatically fixed. I am not putting a lot of emphasis on this one, because cleaning should be a routine in your Nespresso brewing experience.

Dirty Needle

When discussing watery coffee, I found that there are a few common causes where the Needle has coffee grounds stuck. The main reasons for this are,

  1. You re-use the same pod more than 2 times.
  2. You do not eject the pod after the brew (open the lid), instead leave it in the machine until the next brew
  3. You do not clean the needle manually once every 2 or 3 months and never do a “cleaning” cycle.

If the above reasons resonate with you, try cleaning the Needle manually first. Take a bent pin, take it up the roof of the lid, pierce the needle, and clean it.

If you want to know some additional tips and the proper method to clean your Needle, read this section about the badly pierced Nespresso capsule problem that I wrote some time ago.

Factory Reset

If you use the original line, there is no programmatic quantity control, however, Vertuo line machines have the option of controlling the amount of coffee you need by pressing the brew button twice (that is, you press the brew button once, it starts brewing, and if you want it to stop it at that quantity, you press the brew button again).

Programmatic volume control is stored for a capsule and every time you brew that capsule alone, the brew quantity will be remembered.

You might have accidentally set this setting on Vertuo Line machines, so it doesn’t hurt to factory reset your Nespresso

For original Line

Even though there is no programmatic quantity setting in Original line machines (like Vertuo citiz, Inissia), it never hurts to try factory-reset it once.

  1. Turn off the machine’s power button.
  2. Then hold the Lungo button for 5 seconds while the machine is turned off.
  3. The buttons will flash rapidly three times, and your Nespresso original line has now been restored to factory settings.

For Vertuo Line

VertuoPlus, Vertuo Deluxe have programmatic quantity control while VertuoNext, Vertuo Pop additionally also have “concentrated extraction mode”, where the machine decides the correct quantity for a concentrated coffee (spins faster and reduces the water). This usually happens if you press the brew button twice in quick succession and the brew light turns cyan.

Irrespective of the modes, factory reset your machine by doing the following

  1. Eject any capsule and close the lid, leave it “UNLOCKED” (do not push the lever to the left)
  2. Press the brew button 5 times in quick succession
  3. Wait for the yellow light to blink and turn white to complete the factory reset

Without Water in the Reservoir

In Original line Nespresso machines, there is no indicator if the water reservoir is empty before the full brew is completed. It can happen that you forgot to fill enough water! Mistakes happen, no worries, check now if the water tank is full and retry the brew with the same capsule.

Also, I sometimes find that the 370 ml capsules (Verto only) don’t fully dispense if the reservoir is not full. This is a problem in Nespresso Pop+, that has a small water tank and it needs to be filled for every brew (SIGH!)

A small water tank in Nespresso Vertuo Pop
A small water tank in Nespresso Vertuo Pop! Source: HomeCoffeeWizard

Using the same pod multiple times

If you are re-using the pod more than 2 times, there is a chance that the coffee grind has gotten stuck in the needle. This is usually not recommended, always dispense the pod and try a new one.

It not only affects the taste of the coffee but also has a long-term negative effect on the machine, which includes coffee grinds getting stuck in odd places, needles becoming clogged, etc

When to call customer care?

Have you tried the 3 main reasons why your Nespresso is not brewing a full cup?

  1. Improper Descaling process or using unfiltered water for a long period – Try Descaling properly, I highly recommend following the exact steps I have mentioned in this article about exiting descaling process 100% everytime!
  2. Poor maintenance that builds coffee grounds in the Needle – Run a cleaning cycle first, and manually clean the Needle to check if that fixes the issue
  3. If nothing works, do not hesitate to factory reset. Depending on the type of Nespresso line machine you are using, follow the exact steps properly

Alright, nothing worked so far, then contact Nespresso customer care at 800-566-0571 (US), 1-855-325-5781 (Canada), or your local Nespresso boutique.

Barath is a coffee lover, who has been brewing his coffee at home for several years. He talks about coffee tasting, brewing guides and much more in home coffee wizard. Follow barath on X (twitter) @diputsC