Solving Nespresso tastes burnt issue | 5 reasons and fixes

By Barath
Last Updated:
Nespresso tastes burnt | 100% fixed

If your Nespresso tastes burnt, the common issue is with a faulty thermal block, the formation of scales because of the hard water usage which needs proper descaling or not running enough cleaning cycle to remove coffee grounds.

Having spent many years using Nespresso, not all capsules taste good in my opinion. There are a handful of good coffee capsules from Nespresso but they taste different when used with a Vertuo line or an Original line. So it can be your taste profile that has to get adjusted as well.

If you are unsure, most of the issues can be fixed by properly descaling your Nespresso using the recommended descaling kit. Do not use vinegar or citric acid as your descaling agent. They can contribute adversely to your machine’s health and your coffee in the long run.

I spent 12 hours writing this guide to describe all the possible reasons that are contributing to a bitter or burnt Nespresso coffee.

Read Also: Nespresso not brewing full cup | Maintanenace technique I recommend

Most Common Problems
Coffee too hot to drinkFaulty thermal unit/thermoblock.
This causes the water to overheat and burn the coffee causing a bitter or burnt taste.
There is nothing to do here, consult any authorized service center.
Descaling needed/Bitter taste after descalingIf you haven’t descaled in a while, the formation of scales is because of hard water usage. Descale properly using the recommended descaling kit.
If you did descale, but the coffee still tastes bitter. I would think that the taste profile that you are used to has changed and will take 3 to 4 brews to get used to the “proper” taste.
Over extraction of coffeeReusing the same capsule more than 2 or 3 times causes the “over-extraction” effect resulting in bitter coffee. This is even worse in the original line because of the 19-bar pressure that pushes all the coffee goodness into the first brew itself. DO NOT brew the same capsule consecutively.
If you have left the capsule unsealed or used a 3rd party plastic capsule after a long time(which is usually not properly sealed), the chances are that the coffee ground has gotten moisture into the capsule resulting in bad tasting coffee.

Common culprits

When your Nespresso coffee tastes burnt, it’s often due to the following issues. This is not exhaustive, so try going over the points that I have mentioned and check the fix out.

A Broken Thermoblock

If your Nespresso machine’s thermoblock (thermal fuse and heating element) is broken, it can cause the water to overheat, leading to a burnt taste. Does your coffee come out piping hot? Then this is the main reason. You cannot fix it yourself and this involves opening the machine and finding the broken component. Contact Nespresso customer service even if you don’t have a warranty and replace the machine 🙁

Switching from Original Line(OL) to VertuoLine(VL)

Moving from OL to VL machines introduces you to the centrifusion brewing technique (Like Vertuo Pop or Vertuo Next). This change can make the coffee seem burnt due to unfamiliar flavor profiles. Your palate may need time to adjust to this new taste.

The vice-versa is also true! I have a Vertuo Line (Pop/Plus) at home and an original line (citiz) at my workplace and the flavor profile seems to be different even if I use the same type of Nespresso pod between these 2 machines.

Tastes Burnt After Descaling

Descaling removes scale build-up (if done properly), allowing the machine to heat water to the proper temperature. If you’re used to coffee brewed at lower temperatures due to the presence of calcium scales, the correct temperature might initially make your coffee taste burnt. Generally, it takes 4 to 5 brews for your taste to adjust back.

Burnt Coffee with Nespresso Original Line?

Use proper cup sizes. It is important to note that, not all original machines support all the Nespresso capsules. The constant is the espresso (1.35 oz) capsule. Depending on what machine you use, ensure you press the correct button when brewing, and also buy capsules that your machine supports.

This cup size problem is applicable in Vertuo line machines because the barcode auto scans the correct temperature, and water volume that is needed and brews the coffee.

I highly recommend not reusing the same punctured pod, especially the plastic third-party pods that are sold in supermarkets. The pods themselves don’t puncture properly and the hot water cycling through the plastic cup leaves a weird taste after the first brew.

For a quick guide, use the following table for reference to the needed water volume.

Nespresso Original Line capsuleWater volume required (in oz/ml)
Ristretto (only available in Creatista)0.85 oz / 25 ml
Espresso1.35 oz / 40 ml
Double Espresso (only available in citiz variants)2.7 oz / 80 ml
Lungo (available in non-citiz variants)3.7 oz / 110 ml
Americano (only available in citiz premium)5.07 oz / 150 ml
Americano XL (only available in citiz premium)6.76 oz / 200 ml

Check the quality of the water

The water used in brewing your Nespresso coffee should be flavorless. If the water has even a mild taste, it likely contains additives. These additives can contribute to a burnt taste when the water is heated and used for brewing. Ensuring your water is filtered can help avoid this issue and improve your coffee’s overall flavor.

Pay attention to the source of the water, do you directly get the tap water? or do you use bottled water? Depending on this the flavor might change. I have seen the difference in the coffee taste when switching between the water when I brew at home.

Improper Cleaning

Leftover coffee grounds and oils inside your Nespresso machine can lead to a bitter, burnt taste. This is often due to not removing used Nespresso capsules right after use. To prevent this, make it a habit to run water cycles regularly and clean both the capsule container and drip tray frequently. This maintenance helps ensure the residue doesn’t affect your coffee’s flavor.

Build up of scales inside the machine

Nespresso machines require regular descaling to remove mineral deposits from water. These scales can cause a burnt and metallic taste in your coffee. Descaling your Nespresso machine every three months or 300 cups, whichever comes first is recommended. Avoid using descaling solutions like vinegar or baking soda, as they can leave unwanted flavors.

I recommend the exact steps you must follow to describe your Vertuo Nespresso machine. Use the descaling kit that Nespresso recommends for a better descaling experience.

Personal taste

Everyone’s taste palette is unique, and what might taste normal to one person can seem off to another. Flavored capsules, in particular, may taste slightly burnt compared to traditional ones due to these individual differences.

Use of Expired or Poor-Quality Capsules

Expired or improperly sealed Nespresso pods can compromise the coffee’s freshness, resulting in a sour or burnt flavor.

Furthermore, third-party capsules may lack the stringent quality control of Nespresso-branded ones, which can cause issues like unevenly roasted beans and contribute to a burnt taste. It’s crucial to use fresh, high-quality capsules to ensure the best flavor.


Reusing a Nespresso pod more than once leads to over-extraction, pulling too much from the coffee grounds and resulting in a bitter taste. It’s best to avoid using the same pod more than twice unless you’re really in need of a caffeine boost 😉

What to do if nothing works out?

The coffee brewing technique can have a big impact on the flavor profile. If you are not used to Vertuo or the original line of coffee capsules, then most of the coffee might taste burnt. This can be partly because of the type of coffee that is sold by Nespresso.

Though I like a few of the capsules like Bianco Doppio and Stormio, I still think there is a very mild flavor difference between other capsules. I drink a lot of French press coffee as well and find a considerable difference in flavor(not very burnt) when I use ground coffee from one of the capsules.

The bottom line is that it might not be Nespresso’s fault but rather your taste in coffee that has not adapted to the Nespresso capsules.

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