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How to Use a Nespresso Machine

Updated 02-04-2021 – Dan Alvazrez

Got yourself a cool coffee-making gadget, and now you just want to know how to use a Nespresso machine? You’ve come to the right place because not only we are going to teach you how to use your newly bought machine, but also give you some tips and tricks we have learned over the years. That’s right, we love Nespresso machines here at the office and there are several reasons for that. The number one reason is its coffee quality, it makes some of the best espresso beverages without the need of any complicated button pushes or going to the café.

In the long run, a good-quality espresso machine is going to save you a lot of money by saving your trips to the coffee shop. It may seem like you want to be able to customize your coffee, but usually, there are several options to adjust the taste according to your preferences.

The best thing about an espresso machine is how easy it is to use. It is absolutely not complicated and with a few good tips and tricks, you’ll be ready to use it like a pro.

Here are a few things you need to know before starting to use your espresso machine.


What’s the Type of Your Nespresso Machine?

There is a good reason why Nespresso makes two different types of coffee capsules because there are two different types of machines they make. So before we start, you need to get familiar with the espresso maker you have already bought or are going to buy.

We do have an extensive list of the best Nespresso machines in the UK if you are still on the fence about getting one.

The original Nespresso machine uses a slightly circular and dome-shaped coffee capsule. The other series called The Vertuo uses hemisphere-shaped capsules. Both of the machines have their own way of making coffee and are quite different from each other so knowing which one you own is essential in making good quality coffee. This is also important when it comes to purchasing coffee capsules. The original series uses a high-pressure system to make your coffee, but the new one has a centrifusion process to make coffee.

If you are asking for my recommendation, I say go with the Vertuo series not only because it is the latest one but also the centrifusion process works really well. That special process infuses water and centrifugal force in order to spin the coffee capsule in the machine.

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It may sound a bit complicated, but it is very simple in nature. Science is always fascinating. The Vertuo machines also produce a bit more coffee so if you are into big cups of delicious coffee, this is the way to go. Not saying that the original Nespresso machines don’t have their place, because usually, the original one goes for a lot cheaper than the latest one. So if you are on a tight budget, the original ones will do you just fine as well.


Cleaning the Machine

You might be thinking about why you would want to clean a brand-new machine? After all, it just came from the factory and seems pretty clean. But it is of utmost importance that you clean your machine and rinse it inside and out. Especially these days with all those dangerous viruses roaming around trying to ruin our coffee time. So make sure you thoroughly clean the machine with hot water on the outside. As for the insides, you can easily brew a few batches of hot water inside the machine which will result in the proper purging of germs.

Don’t forget to rinse the reservoir as well, simply fill it to the top and place it on the back of the espresso maker. Tap water works fine as well here, so you don’t need to worry about what kind of water you’re using. But if you are getting filthy water, I highly suggest using a water filter.

If you’re using the newer Vertuo espresso maker, make sure to lock the head into its proper place before rinsing. After you’ve done all the cleaning with water, close the head, place a nice mug in the tray, and finally put the lever into the locked position.

Press the button on the head 3 times in rapid succession to start the cleaning and rinsing cycle. This step is done automatically by the machine and will take around 2 to 5 minutes to finish.

The best part is, you don’t have to do anything while this happens. A good practice is to do this periodically, so your machine remains in tip-top condition for a long while.


Starting the Nespresso Machine

Now that all the cleaning is done, all you need to do is plug the machine into an electrical outlet. On the machine there is a “Lungo” button, pressing that will turn on the machine. Depending on the model you may see some blinking lights as the machine starts heating up the water. Once the machine is properly heated up, the lights will become stable and this indicates that the machine is ready to make coffee.

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Don’t forget to place a mug on the tray in front of the machine to fill it with hot water. At this point we are not making coffee, we’re just cleaning the whole internal circuit. Press the button labelled “Lungo” again to rinse the machine one more time. It is generally a good practice to run the cleaning cycle at least 3 times to rinse it out with water properly. Throw away the hot water you have just poured into the mug but make sure it is properly cooled down because it is going to be hot.


Making Coffee with a Nespresso Machine

Before we start making coffee with the Nespresso machine, there are a few steps you need to follow to make sure you actually get coffee and not just hot water.


The Water Tank

To make coffee you need water and there is a nifty water tank on the machine. If it is empty, fill it up at least half the capacity, so you can make a couple of drinks. I recommend going all the way with the water, but some people prefer it slightly above the halfway mark. You don’t want the water tank to get empty while you’re brewing, some machines also tell you when the water level is insufficient.


Turn on the Machine

Depending on the model, you’ll either need to press the “espresso” or “Lungo” button to turn on the machine. The Vertuo models have the button that says “on”, which I think should have been the standard on all the machines. If your Nespresso machine doesn’t have either of those buttons, there should be a button with a coffee cup icon on it, pressing it will definitely turn the machine on. When all the lights are stable, it means that the espresso maker is ready to roll.


Insert the Capsule

Now that you have the appropriate coffee capsule for your Nespresso machine you’ll need to insert it. If you have the original Nespresso coffee machine, you can insert the capsule by lifting the lever and getting access to the port. It is pretty easy on the original Nespresso coffee maker because the capsule will fit only one way. Each device has a depiction on how you can achieve that. So it’s only a matter of placing the capsule the right way and that’s about it. Press the lever to start the brewing on the original machine.

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On the Virtuo coffee maker, it can be a bit tricky. First, you need to twist the lever on the head so that the machine is unlocked and lift it open. As for the capsule, the dome side should be facing downwards. Now close the lid, lift the lever into the locked position, and now you are ready to brew.

After you create espresso or lungo, the machine will automatically stop. After a few minutes of inactivity, the machine will automatically turn off.

Don’t forget to place the cup into the espresso machine. I know it is such a simple thing, but I’ve forgotten to place the mug myself a couple of times, and it is always heartbreaking. Some models have an adjustable drip tray, so they can place the compact espresso cup nearer to the dispenser. However, on other machines, you’ll need to place the mug or cup a little far on the drip tray. This all depends on the model of the Nespresso machine you are using so make sure you consult the instruction manual on optimal positioning.

We also have guided about the best ESE pods if you want to take a look at them.


Selecting Your Drink Size

This step doesn’t apply to the original Nespresso coffee machine. But if you have the Vertuo model of the Nespresso machine, you’ll have to manually stop the device in order to create different sized cups. It is fairly easy to do so while the machine is dispensing coffee, all you need to do is press the on button to stop the process. If it is not what you desire, you can continue pouring in the drink by pressing the on button again.

Fun fact, the Vertuo dispenses an exact amount of beverage that is best for the Nespresso coffee capsule. That amount is 7.7 ounces, while the espresso capsule will get you 1.3 ounces each time.


Used Capsules

Now that you have the perfect cup of coffee, and really enjoyed it, you need to release the capsule from the coffee machine. Each Nespresso machine has a different way of catching the used capsules in the receptacle. On the Vertuo machine you can unlock it and lift the head, this will release the capsule into the capsule container. On the original unit you’ll need to lift the lever and lower it again to pop the used capsule in the container. It is a fairly easy process that you’ll get used to in absolutely no time.

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Parting Advice

This is all there is to when it comes to the question of “how to use a Nespresso machine”. It is a fairly easy process that after repeating once or twice you’ll be an expert at.

One bit of advice I will leave you with is that never use tap water if you can. Descaling is pretty straightforward and easy to do on the espresso machines. After the unit is turned off, wipe it clean, remove the used capsules from it, empty it, wipe the tray, and maybe empty the water tank.

I hope that this easy-to-follow guide has helped you in using your espresso machine to the absolute maximum. The high convenience, the good taste and the ease of use makes the Nespresso machines an absolute blast to use. Now you can go and enjoy the cup of coffee that your new machine has prepared for you.

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