How To Use A Nespresso Machine (Quickly & Easily!)

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

The major advantage of Nespresso is convenience. Fortunately, the machines are very easy to use and have effectively made the process of making an espresso virtually dummy-proof. It used to be that making an espresso required you to know how to use an espresso machine, which could take years to master.

With the emergence of Nespresso machines, you can achieve the perfect cup of espresso without any hassle. Not to mention, they can also be used to make a cup of coffee. Using these devices can help to simplify your life and reduce your coffee budget substantially. However, you have to know the right way to use them.

Operating a Nespresso machine is as easy as filling up the water tank, popping a capsule into the compartment, placing a coffee cup on the tray, and pressing the right button. These useful machines are considered to be the quickest single-service coffee makers on the market.

Whether you are a new owner of a Nespresso or just a curious reader, we’ll show you how to properly use a Nespresso machine.

Nespresso Lines and Capsule Types

Before we dive into how to operate a Nespresso machine, it’s important that we explore the different coffee capsules that Nespresso offers. Nespresso produces two distinct coffee capsule shapes that are designed to fit their two different lines: Original and Vertuo.

  • Nespresso’s Original series uses capsules that are cylindrical and dome-shaped. They appear very similar to the disposal creamer packages often found at diners.
  • The Vertuo line uses capsules that are hemisphere-shaped.

So, what’s the difference between the two machines? Well, for starters, each machine has a different brewing technology. The Original line has a high-pressure system for brewing espresso-style drinks. Whereas, the Vertuo series uses what Nespresso calls “centrifusion,” combining water infusion and centrifugal force to spin the capsule quickly inside the unit.

The Vertuo line also allows you to make larger drinks than an espresso or lung, such as a traditional cup of coffee. The Original line is, described by Nespresso, as being “The Classic Espresso Experience, and the Vertuo is “The Ultimate Coffee Experience.”

Before First Use

Regardless of the type of Nespresso machine you own, there are some steps you need to take to prepare it prior to its first use. The device should be properly rinsed inside and out.

  • Rinse the reservoir out. Start by rinsing out the water reservoir. Then, fill it back up about halfway with fresh water and slide it into place.
  • Turn on the Nespresso. If haven’t done so already, plug in the machine. Then, press the “lungo” button. This will turn the unit on and lights will start blinking as the machine warms up. When the Nespresso is ready to brew, the lights will steady.
  • Place a large mug on the tray. Don’t forget this step! Although you’re not brewing anything, you need something to catch all the hot water.
  • Run the rinse cycle. At this point, press down on the “lungo” button again to initiate the rinse cycle. Once it finishes brewing, run three more cycles to thoroughly rinse the machine. When the water cools, dispose of the hot water in the mug.

Note: This rinsing process is for the Original line and the process differs slightly on Vertuo models. The Vertuo line has a head that must be locked into place first. Once you rinse and fill the reservoir, place a large mug on the tray, close the head, and turn it to the “lock position.” Then, press the button on the head three times to run a rinsing cycle.

How to Use a Nespresso

Whether you have an Original or Vertuo model, you’re going to need water, a coffee or espresso cup, and your desired Nespresso coffee capsule to operate the machine. Then, follow the steps outlined below to successfully brew a cup of espresso, or coffee.

Step One: Fill the Water Reservoir

Before you begin, check the water reservoir to ensure it has the appropriate amount. If it’s empty, or close to it, fill it up to about halfway. Or, fill it up to the amount that will brew a couple of cups. Maintaining extra water in the tank will ensure that you always have enough if you want to brew an extra cup or two.

Step Two: Turn on the Machine

At this point, you can turn on your Nespresso machine. If you have an Original series, turn it on by pressing either the “espresso” or “lungo” button. On a Vertuo series machine, the “on” button can be found on top and displays an image of a coffee cup.

Once the light on the device illuminates steadily, the machine is ready to use.

Step Three: Position the Cup

Position either your coffee cup or espresso cup on the tray at the front of the Nespresso machine. Some of the Vertuo models are outfitted with a tray that can be adjusted, allowing you to put a smaller espresso cup higher and closer to the spout. If you have this model, set the tray in your desired position prior to putting the cup in place.

Step Four: Insert the Coffee Capsule

This step will be slightly different depending on the model you have. For an Original machine, lift the lever to gain access to the coffee capsule compartment. On a Vertuo model, unlock the lever on the head by turning it to the “unlock” position. Then, lift the head up to open it. Insert, your desired coffee capsule into the compartment.

On Original models, the capsule will only fit in one way. Whereas, Vertuo machines require you to position the capsules dome side down.

Step Five: Start the Brewing Process

To start the brewing process on an Original machine, simply press the lever down. For Vertuo models, closing the lid and sliding the lever to the “lock” position will cause it to start brewing.

If you have an Original machine, the brew will automatically stop once it’s done creating an espresso or lungo beverage. However, with Vertuo models, if you want a lungo, espresso, or just a half cup of coffee, you’ll have to stop it manually.

Step Six: Setting Beverage Size on Vertuo Models

To stop a Vertuo machine manually, hit the “on” button once the liquid in your cup reaches the desired depth. This will stop the dispensing process. To resume dispensing, simply press the same button again.

The factory settings on Vertuo models are designed to disperse a specific amount based on the coffee capsule that is placed in the unit. For instance, an espresso capsule results in a beverage that is 1.35 ounces and a coffee capsule produces 7.77 ounces. You can override the factory settings by holding down the “on” button while it brews, and then releasing it once you have the preferred amount of liquid in your cup.

Note: The same process can be used on Original series Nespresso machines to change the amount of liquid dispensed.

Nespresso Care After Use

Since Nespresso machines operate using single-use coffee capsules, you’ll need to manually release them after each brew. Every model comes with a receptacle to catch these used capsules. On a Vertuo unit, position the lever to “unlock” and lift the head. This will release the capsule into the receptacle. On an Original model, simply lift up the lever and lower it down again to eject the capsule into the bin.

Additionally, this spent-capsule receptacle needs to be emptied periodically. The bin can easily slide out of the machine and emptied into the trash. Once you finish brewing and the Nespresso turns off, you should also wipe down the unit.

Using a damp cloth, clean the removable coffee-cup tray and wipe any areas on the exterior, as needed. Empty the water reservoir as well, replacing it with fresh water the next time you brew.

Descaling a Nespresso Machine

Your Nespresso machine should be descaled at least twice a year, allowing for roughly six months between descalings. By removing gunk and lime buildup in the machine, this will extend the life of the unit and keep the coffee tasting its best.

The easiest way to descale your Nespresso machine is to purchase an official kit from Nespresso. Alternatively, dissolving citric acid in water can also be effective. Regardless, to descale you need to fill the water reservoir with the descaling solution and consult your manual for the proper combination of buttons to press.

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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