Nespresso vertuo pop red light | Tried & Tested Fix (Updated)

By Barath
Last Updated:

Nespresso Vertuo pop red light blinking issue can happen for the following reasons, an empty water tank, the machine overheated because of back-to-back brewing, the issue with the water pipe causing a priming/suction problem, or a damaged or a dirty barcode scanner.

The easiest way to troubleshoot your Nespresso red light blinking issue is by using the Nespresso Mobile app. Download the Nespresso App, pair your machine and you should get the troubleshooting notification.

However, not all problems are difficult to fix (so you won’t need the app from the get-go), the red light flashing has different meanings based on the animation/pattern. Refer to the guide below, where I spent over 12 hours, testing, debugging, and researching the problem and solution for you.

Is your red light blinking because of improper descaling? Verify that the machine is not stuck in descaling mode before trying the fixes I have mentioned.

Most Common Problems
Water Tank EmptyThe red light blinks continuously. Is the water tank still not empty?
Check if the tank is sitting properly at the back of the machine,
clean the filter to get rid of clogging.
Water priming/suction issueTwo red blinks and a pause. If capsule is present during cleaning/descaling.
this error occurs. Or another common reason is the priming issue,
due to air-lock internally. Run a cleaning cycle as mentioned below.
Barcode Scanner is damaged/dirtyThe red light blinks twice followed by a white light blinking once. Check
if anything is blocking the barcode scanner. Manually clean the capsule holder
Apart from red light, the orange light is also common in Nespresso. However, an orange light blinking indicates a maintenance indicator for cleaning, descaling, or factory resetting.

What color light is blinking on your Vertuo Nespresso Pop?

Differentiate Red light from Orange light. In Nespresso Vertuo pop or Vertuo line machines, the color of light is very similar. I have a yellow Nespresso pop and it is at times difficult to find out the color of the blinking light.

Once you have identified the color of the light, it usually falls under the categories I have mentioned below.

Red Light Blinking: What Does It Mean?

Light is noticeable immediately because it is bright red

Red light blinking indicates an error that is stopping the machine from “brewing” the coffee. Nespresso Vertuo pop can blink in 4 different ways indicating a fixable problem.

So focus on the blinking pattern (and most importantly the color) to identify the problem faster.

Water Tank Empty – Continuous red light blinking

A continuous blinking red light indicates that there is no water in the tank. This can happen during the brew (halfway through the brew, water runs out) or before you start.

If the reservoir has water but the machine is still blinking red, it could be because the water filter that sits at the bottom (a small opening that latches onto the machine) has a blockage.

To fix this, refill the water and brew again, or manually clean the reservoir and refill the water. This is a simple error to fix and can happen quite frequently (I often forget to fill the reservoir and have brewing stuck mid-way!), because of the small water tank in Nespresso Pop.

Machine Cooling Down – Slow breathing red light

A slow-breathing red light indicates that the machine is cooling down. Have you run back-to-back brews more than 4 or 5 times? This can be quite taxing on the machine because it has to raise the water temperature which in turn increases the internal temperature. The thermal fuse heats up causing the machine to warrant a cool down. The best fix, pull the plug out and let it actually cool down (typically 20-30 minutes) before you can brew again.

Machine Error – Two red blinks and a pause

This often refers to some error with the machine’s internals. Note that, there can be more than one problem causing this machine error. At the time of writing this article, I could find one possible cause that is commonly occurring.

The Vertuo Next and Vertuo Pop have the same electrical unit. The water pump has to pull the water from the reservoir and heat it. If there is some issue before this stage then the machine error pops up.

The known cause for this error is a priming issue with the suction pipe. It gets air-locked if you accidentally start brewing with an empty water tank (or there could also be bubbles in water in the suction pipe causing low water pressure).

Whatever the reason may be, the easiest fix is the following,

  1. Fill the water pump with water to the brim. More water means the water pressure is indeed higher when the centrifugal pump starts spinning.
  2. A bonus tip is to pour hot water, not piping hot, hot enough water that does not burn your hand.
  3. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes before you start the cleaning cycle.
  4. Begin by clicking the brew button 3 times in quick succession.

The cleaning process should now force the water through the pipe and before the water tank is emptied out, press the brew button again to stop it.

User Error: Two red blinks followed by a white blink?

That could be a user error, possibly tied to a barcode problem. Time for a quick check!

I have not personally had this error, but a user error is when the capsule is not being read properly. The primary reason is the blockage in the barcode scanner.

This can happen because of a previous brew that could have spilled coffee grounds on the side. Or the backside ring of the capsule (this is where you will find the barcode, refer to the picture below) has peeled off or has something sticking onto it which causes the user error.

I tried to reproduce this issue by manually blocking the barcode on the capsule, and it indeed was the problem.

So to get around this issue, clean the barcode scanner (usually on the side of the capsule holder) with a brush gently and do a cleaning cycle.

I manually blocked the barcode and noticed that the machine had a user error! Source: HomecoffeeWizard

Orange Light Blinking – Is it a problem?

Orange Light blinking (notice that it is lighter in tone)
Orange Light blinking (notice that it is lighter in tone)

Orange light blinking is not an error light, but instead an indicator to notify you of an ongoing action. If you see an “orange” blinking light (be careful in some machines it is very different to differentiate the orange from red), it usually indicates that the machine is undergoing some activity (cleaning, descaling, or factory reset).

Cleaning ModeNonstop orange light

It indicates that the machine has entered cleaning mode. It doesn’t stop unless you press the brew button once to manually stop the water from draining out. See the video for a clearer understanding of how the blinking orange light is (not red) when it starts cleaning.

Descaling Required: Two orange blinks followed by a white one

This indicates that the machine needs descaling. Pretty obvious if you have not run a descaling cycle in ages (usually 200 brews in my case, or roughly 4 months). Regular descaling is another important factor in preventing Nespresso from making watery coffee.

Descaling additionally helps maintain the flavor of your Nespresso capsule. You might notice that the nespresso starts tasting burnt or bitter, this is because the thermal block inside has to overheat to maintain the water temperature (this happens due to formation of scales inside the water tube).

Note that the descaling process in Nespresso Pop is very specific, which means that the machine has to undergo the correct steps before it can exit the descaling mode. Nespresso Vertuo line users often complain that the descaling process never exits even after completing it properly (Nespresso Vertuo next has this issue which is the primary reason for all the negative reviews online)

Descaling your Nespresso is straightforward, that is if you follow the steps to the tee! I often mix the steps or rush through the process, which does not exit the descaling mode.

I wrote a detailed guide when discussing Nespresso not working, where I have mentioned steps to follow if you want to exit the descaling mode properly.

Factory Setting Completed – 3 orange blinks and 1 white blink

You’ve successfully reset to factory settings. You might have accidentally pressed the Brew button more than 5 times. Honest mistake for sure!

Happens if you are trying to clean and instead keep pressing the button. This is not going to do any harm to your machine except it will reset all the saved settings like the “expert mode” setting (makes concentrated coffee) and Bluetooth setting.

What is Concentrated Extraction In Nespresso Pop?

This is a new mode called concentrated extraction or “expert mode” is present, which delivers a concentrated cup of coffee by reducing the amount of water that is used in the brew.

During this mode, you will find a teal-colored light blinking indicating that the brewing is running in the expert mode.

So far I haven’t faced any errors with this mode and is often my go-to when brewing barista-creation capsules (For example my favorite, roasted hazelnut)

Vertuo Pop (Pop+ in the USA) is the latest Vertuo Machine that has this concentrated extraction feature. Vertuo Pop vs Vertuo Next discusses the feature in detail.


A paired Nespresso machine sends custom notifications. Super useful if you want to troubleshoot the problem if nothing works out.

If nothing works out, the best way is to check the Nespresso app for any useful information. Usually, once you pair and there is an ongoing error, there are simple steps to fix the problem

To summarize, these are the problems and the corresponding solutions that you can try if your Nespresso Vertuo pop has red/orange blinking lights.

Red Light Blinking – Usually errors that stop the machine from brewing your coffee.

  1. Empty Water Tank – Continuous Red light blinking. This can happen either at the start or during the brewing. Since Nespresso Pop has a small water tank at the back, you might forget to fill it up every time.
  2. Machine Cooling Down – Slow breathing red light issue. This happens if you have brewed back to back for more than 4-5 times causing the thermal switch to heat up. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes and retry. If nothing works, call the customer care for a replacement.
  3. Machine Error – 2 Red light blinking and one pause. This happens usually because of priming issues. The water pipe gets air-locked and it is difficult to suck the water from the tank. To get over this, follow the steps I have mentioned. Other Machine errors are usually not fixable by you and might need assistance from Nespresso customer care.
  4. User Error – 2 Red light blinks followed by a white light blink. This means that the capsule has a problem. Can either happen if the barcode scanner doesn’t work, or the barcode on the bottom of the Nespresso capsule has an issue. Either way, manually clean the capsule holder and recheck if the problem persists with a different capsule.

Orange light blinking can happen only to indicate that the machine needs maintenance. This is in the case of cleaning, descaling, or a factory reset. Look at the color of the blinking light carefully before you debug the problem.

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