Nespresso machines can feel pretty complicated to handle when you first purchase one.

An incessantly blinking orange light is one of the most common problems you’ll experience from a Nespresso machine. Like all lights, this one has a cause.

Quick Answer: Why is my Nespresso blinking orange?

Nespresso machines use a blinking orange light to notify you of multiple problems, making it challenging to figure out what the machine is communicating. Usually, the orange light is indicative that the water reservoir needs to be refilled or that the capsule container is full.

Why Is My Nespresso Blinking Orange (Try These Fixes!)

Nespresso may also blink orange for other reasons, which I’ll get into as well. Read on to learn about the most common reasons why your Nespresso machine is blinking orange and how you can fix it.

1. The water reservoir is empty

An empty water reservoir is one of the most common reasons you’ll see a blinking orange light. While this problem may seem obvious, at first glance, it’s often ignored.

This is especially true if you don’t use your Nespresso daily.

The main thing you’ll want to look for is how the machine blinks. While many of Nespresso’s problems are indicated by a blinking orange light, the light will blink at different speeds and in varying patterns depending on the problem.

When the water reservoir needs to be refilled, the light will typically alternate between staying on for a couple of seconds and then shutting off for another second. It will repeat this pattern over and over.

The water reservoir from the Nespresso Vertuo machine.

Of course, it takes some getting used to before you really begin understanding what the patterns indicate.

With time, however, you’ll be a pro at interpreting your Nespresso machine’s blinking orange lights.

How to fix

An empty water reservoir is the easiest fix on the list. To fix this issue, you’ll simply check on your water tank and refill it if needed.

To remove the water reservoir, pull it upwards and out of the machine. In all honesty, the water reservoirs with Nespresso can be a bit more challenging to figure out than others, such as Keurig.

Once you refill the water reservoir, reset the machine and see if the orange light has disappeared or if it has changed patterns. In most cases, the light will go off, but in some cases, multiple signals are sent at once.

In these cases, the machine will send the most important information first and continue changing the pattern until all major issues are taken care of.

I’ve also had a blinking orange light from not correctly clicking the water reservoir in place, so make sure to double-check this as well.

2. The capsule container needs to be emptied

Nespresso machines are a bit different than other coffee machines in that they contain an additional container where empty capsules are deposited after use:

The capsule container from the Nespresso Vertuo machine.

This is a helpful feature of Nespresso, but it’s easy to forget to empty the capsule.

Nespresso features a dark capsule container to hide the trash within it. While helpful for looks, it’s too easy to ignore the container until the machine practically isn’t working.

This is why Nespresso integrated a signal for this as well.

The capsule container pattern typically looks like a rapidly blinking orange light – usually around three blinks per second.

The machine will blink rapidly, pause, and then blink again.

This signal indicates a full capsule container, but it may also indicate another issue – that the machine needs to be descaled.

Descaling takes a lot longer, and I’ll talk more about this in a few minutes.

For now, let’s focus on the steps you can take to empty the capsule container.

How to fix

Emptying the capsule container on a Nespresso is super simple.

There will be a release button on the top of the machine that will allow you to remove the container, dump it, and replace it.

The actual location of the button varies from machine to machine. Most Nespresso machines have it located on the top of the machine, but in some, it may be located on the side or even on the back.

Once the machine has been dumped, look again at the light. If it’s still blinking the same pattern, it’s indicative that the machine needs to be descaled.

Let’s talk about what this means and how to fix it:

3. The machine needs to be descaled

All coffee machines need to be descaled at some point. Usually, this happens once every six months or so, but it may need to be done more frequently depending on how often you use your Nespresso.

Descaling isn’t a super common concept, so let’s talk about what this means for a moment.

Over time, all coffee makers will begin to build up hard deposits of various minerals within the machine.

This includes calcium and lime deposits. Most of this buildup comes from the water cycling through the machine.

This is mostly unavoidable, especially if you use water from your sink.

You can limit the buildup by only using filtered water through your machine, but it will still need to be descaled occasionally since all water contains these minerals.

The descaling process takes about twenty minutes and requires additional materials to perform – usually a descaling solution:

Nespresso descaling solution packet.

The descaling solution will cycle through the machine, clearing most mineral deposits.

While putting your machine through this process can be frustrating, you’ll notice that it runs significantly smoother after completing it.

The machine may also need to be cleaned in addition to the descaling process.

For more info on this process, check out this article.

For now, let’s talk about how to perform the descaling process:

How to fix

Descaling a Nespresso is fairly simple, even if it initially sounds complicated. Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to do:

  1. Ensure the machine is turned on. The machine will run the descaling solution the same way it runs coffee through.
  2. Remove all containers and trays. This includes the capsule container, drip tray, and any additional capsules in the machine.
  3. Prepare the machine with a cup. You’ll want to have a container of some sort underneath the coffee spout. This is because the solution will shoot out of the coffee spout after running through the machine. The last thing you want is a descaling solution going all over your counter and floors.
  4. Fill your water tank. You’ll want to mix about sixteen ounces of water with the descaling solution. You can find out how much descaling solution to use by reading the instructions.
  5. Give the machine time to heat. This will usually take about five minutes.

The next steps will vary from machine to machine. You may need to read the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific Nespresso, but generally, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Press the top two or three buttons at the same time to start the descaling process. You’ll need to hold them down for a few seconds. How many buttons you push is determined by which machine you have.
  2. Look for the indicators that the descaling process has begun. Usually, this will be indicated by the lights on the top of the machine blinking rapidly.
  3. Send the descaling solution through the machine a second time. This will ensure that all mineral deposits get removed.
  4. Rinse the machine. Finally, rinse the machine with clean water. Send a rinse cycle through multiple times until it’s gone through a full cleansing.
  5. Turn off the descaling mode. This can be done the same way you began it – by pressing both or all three buttons on the top of your machine.

For more details about how to descale your Nespresso machine, check out this article.

4. The machine is experiencing an error

Nespresso machines may experience an error for multiple reasons. Like all electronics, they sometimes suffer from electrical problems.

It may also indicate that the machine simply didn’t reboot properly the last time it was turned on.

When the machine is experiencing an error, it’s normally indicated by blinking and then steady orange light.

Nespresso blinking orange on the Vertuo machine.

The light will typically alternate a pattern of two rapid blinks and then hold steady for a few seconds.

It seems like Nespresso has a different pattern for every problem, and this is probably true.

The good news is, however, that the error blinking is specific to this problem. Once you learn what this looks like, identifying it should be fairly simple.

Let’s talk about how you can fix the machine when it’s experiencing an error:

How to fix

Usually, fixing a Nespresso machine that is experiencing an error is as simple as resetting the machine.

A simple unplugging and replugging in the machine will nearly always fix the problem. However, it isn’t always this simple regarding errors within the machine.

This is one of the few fixes that cannot always be done alone.

If you notice that the light is still blinking even after resetting the machine, you may need to send your Nespresso in for a replacement.

You can try running a capsule through it first, however. In many cases, even when the machine is experiencing an error, it will still make the cup of coffee.

However, the error should still be repaired at some point.


Nespresso machines have multiple reasons that they may be blinking orange.

One of the most common reasons your Nespresso may be blinking orange is the empty water reservoir.

This is typically indicated by the machine blinking for a couple of seconds and then pausing.

It may also blink orange if the capsule container needs emptying or the machine needs to be descaled. In these cases, the light will typically rapidly blink and then pause.

The final reason it may blink is if it is experiencing an error.

Most of these are easy fixes, but some may require extra assistance.

Nespresso recipes to try

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