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Your Nespresso Not Making Crema? Let’s Fix This Problem!

Nespresso Troubleshooting Jan 26, 2023
Nespresso Not Making Crema

There are two main issues that Nespresso users are usually unhappy about. You brew a pod, and you could get one of these two issues:

  • Your espresso or coffee has little to no crema at all.
  • Your espresso or coffee is too foamy.

To fix these brewing issues, you need to understand why they happen. And it all goes down to which Nespresso machine you are using and which pods, because results always vary based on those.

So let’s get started breaking down these factors and how you can fix them.

Why Nespresso Machines Stop Making Crema (or Foam)

There are many reasons a Nespresso machine loses foam or crema, or its ability to make coffee like it used to.

This problem generally has to do with the machine not being descaled, but it can also be the quality of pods you are using, especially if you opt for 3rd party or refillable coffee pods.

Below, you’ll find a guide for Nespresso Vertuo and Nespresso Original, you can skip to your type of Nespresso machine and walk through possible issues causing the no-crema problem and how to fix them.

How To Fix Nespresso Vertuo Not Making Crema or Foam

Nespresso Vertuo Next, Vertuo Plus, Evoluo not making crema

Nespresso Vertuo machines use an entirely different technology than what an OriginalLine machine does to make espresso or coffee.

When using a Vertuo machine, you shouldn’t expect ‘crema’ in the traditional sense, because this machine produces more of a foam than crema.

While OriginalLine uses pressure, Vertuo uses a spinning mechanism to brew capsules. It’s called Centrifusion technology, and it spins the capsules rapidly while forcing hot water through it. This results in a thick crema or foam that Vertuo coffee is known for.

Another thing about Vertuo machines, is that it automatically changes parameters (water temperature, volume, and spinning) to match the pod you are brewing. So various results are kind of expected.

However, if your Vertuo is not making crema at all and the coffee looks watery, then something is wrong.

Your Nespresso Not Making Crema? Let's Fix This Problem!
What Nespresso Vertuo Foam normally looks like. This is a 7.7 oz coffee size.

Here’s what you need to do to fix this problem

1- If you are recapping your coffee pods, or using stainless steel refillable pods, that’s one of the main reasons for producing Vertuo coffee with no crema. You need to stop using these methods for brewing your coffee.

2- If you have been using your machine for a long time without descaling or cleaning it. This is another issue why coffee loses its foam and temperature as well as tastes bitter.

3- If your machine is brand new, but not making coffee as it should, there’s a chance you have a faulty machine.

4- If your coffee does not have foam and does not make a full cup of coffee (you’re not getting the full pod brew size), then that’s a clear indication that the machine is clogged and it’s time for a full descale.

Why Your Nespresso Vertuo Is Not Making Crema

Reasons that lead to weak or no crema are more or less the same in all Nespresso machines. So here are a few reasons why this could be happening to you:

Are You Using Refillable Pods? Or Recapping Your Pods?

While there are not a lot of refillable pods for Vertuo machines, the few available are quite horrible. Also, there’s the trick of ‘recapping’ or resealing old pods to make them reusable.

If you’re doing this, you could be using the wrong grind size or not sealing the pods correctly, which makes weaker coffee, overall.

You Could Have a Faulty Vertuo Machine

If your machine is not making crema out of the box. Or if your Vertuo suddenly stopped making crema even though you are using the same usual capsules, you could have a faulty motor that is not spinning the capsule correctly.

This is not something you can fix yourself, so you’re going to have to get in touch with Nespresso customer support.

You Need to Clean/Descale Your Nespresso Machine

This is a vital thing that many Nespresso users ignore, unfortunately. Your machine needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain the quality of the coffee.

In the case of a Vertuo machine, you also need to manually clean and wipe the inside of the brew head where the capsules sit. Sometimes, the laser reader that recognizes the pods gets dirty and can no longer read the pods correctly. Or it gets clogged and the motor fails eventually.

How To Fix Nespresso Original (Essenza, Inissia, CitiZ, Pixie…) Not Making Crema

Nespresso Citiz, Essenza, Pixie not Making Crema

OriginalLine machines are espresso machines. While they do not make crema that is as thick as traditional espresso machines, you should get some crema on top of your espresso shot.

Your Nespresso Not Making Crema? Let's Fix This Problem!
What espresso crema from Nespresso should look like. I used a Nespresso Essenza Mini and Starbucks capsule.

These five fixes have proven to solve the problem

  • Use Nespresso capsules only. Or if you want to use Nespresso-compatible pods, use high-quality aluminum pods. Plastic pods are not recommended.
  • Preheat your Nespresso machine by brewing an ’empty’ cycle. Hit the espresso button without a pod inside to dispense hot water that will heat your machine get rid of any residues and bring the machine up to a good temperature.
  • Refillable pods are not recommended for a good crema. You can continue to use them if you like, but don’t expect great results. This is due to inconsistent coffee grinds from one brand to another, as well as quality issues with the refillable pod itself.
  • If you have reprogrammed your brew buttons, reset your Nespresso machine to default volumes. Perform a factory reset.
  • Clean and Descale your machine regularly.

Why Your Nespresso Original Not Making Crema

Now you’ve read how easy it is to fix crema issues, time to understand why they happen.

Crema is the result of high-pressurized water going through air-tight coffee grounds. So to get crema you need:

  • The right temperature and pressure.
  • Your pod to be perfectly sealed.

In the case of no crema, are you making any of these mistakes:

Using Refillable Pods

A refillable pod is a great way to save up on your pod expenses. But the results of these pods will never match Nespresso’s own pods.

You could either be using the wrong coffee grind size, not enough coffee grounds or the quality of the coffee itself could be bad.

Also, the way the refillable pod seals isn’t always perfect or tight enough to produce the correct crema.

Using Nespresso-compatible Pods

OriginalLine machines are compatible with pods from many different brands, which gives you a great variety of pods to try. However, not all of these pods are created equal.

The coffee extraction process relies heavily on the quality of the pod, how well it is sealed and the material used.

If you’re going to use 3rd party pods, I highly recommend going for brands that make aluminum capsules instead of plastic. Aluminum works better with pressure and temperature and produces high-quality coffee overall.

Reprogramming Your Coffee Volumes

If you have reprogrammed your espresso or lungo buttons to produce more coffee, then you should expect to lose some or all crema.

Longer coffee volumes mean more water going through the pod, which also means less crema. You can reprogram the buttons to increase the volumes by a few MLs and still get crema, but adding in a lot of volume will definitely lose the crema and intensity of the coffee.

A quick factory reset should take care of this issue.

Your Nespresso Machine Needs a Clean/Descale

There’s no doubt that NOT cleaning and maintaining your machine affects the quality of coffee. If your espresso drinks are not hot enough anymore, don’t have crema, or you end up with coffee grounds inside your cup, these are all signs that you need to clean and descale your machine.

Cleaning cycles should be done regularly. At least once a week. A full descale could be done once every 6 months, or every 300 brew cycles.

Related: Nespresso Airlock problem

Does Nespresso Make Real Crema?

When it comes to Nespresso machines, the question of whether the crema they produce is real or not always comes up.

Nespresso OriginalLine machines work using a high-pressure pump to make espresso shots. While it’s true that it’s not as authentic as a manual espresso machine. The espresso or crema isn’t of the same quality because the process of creating a shot of espresso and the parameters are different. With a single-serve espresso machine like Nespresso, you are getting a shot of espresso with a press of a button. When using a manual machine, you have to manually grind, measure, tamp, and time a perfect shot of espresso. So it’s a matter of convenience vs quality. The Crema of an OriginalLine machine isn’t as authentic as real crema, but it’s there.

Nespresso Vertuo machines on the other hand, are something else. It produces ‘foam’ and not crema, because of the unique way the machine produces coffee. The foam, or crema, will also depend on the type of capsule or blend.