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Your Nespresso Not Puncturing Pods? Here’s The Fix

Nespresso Troubleshooting Jan 26, 2023

Nespresso machines are fairly uncomplicated machines that get your coffee done with a press of a button. But after a long period of use, there’s always a chance that something could ‘act up’.

If you have recently come across the issue of your Nespresso machine not puncturing capsules correctly, and therefore, you are getting little to no coffee, there are a few things you can check for and fix yourself easily to get your machine up and running again.

Why Is My Nespresso Machine Not Puncturing Pods?

This problem usually occurs in OriginalLine Nespresso machines like Essenza, Citiz, Pixie or Inissia. Here’s how you identify this issue:

  • Upon pressing the brew button (Espresso or Lungo), little to no coffee comes out.
  • After ejecting the pod, you realize there’s no punctured or hardly punctured holes in the pod.
Nespresso Pods Not Punctured
What Punctured Nespresso Pods Should Look Like from the top side
OriginalLine Pods get punctured from the bottom, too. Vertuo pods don’t.

According to Nespresso, the main reason their machines stop puncturing is low water pressure. Yes, water pressure is actually required to help puncture the pods and not just the push of the lever. And what causes low water pressure? None other than the dreaded Air bubbles (airlock problem) in tubes of the machine.

Other reasons include using an incompatible pod, your machine needs a descaling, machine needle is clogged.

How To Fix Nespresso Machine Not Puncturing Pods

Let’s go through each possible reason of why your machine is not piercing the capsule correctly and how you can easily fix it.

1- Low Water Pressure Due to Air Pockets

Air bubbles form inside the tubes of Nespresso brewers if you’re not using them for a long period of time. And sometimes because of limescale build up (more on this later). These air bubbles stop the water from flowing through correctly, and decreased the pressure generated tremendously.

You can check my full guide on how to get rid of air pockets in Nespresso machines for each model. But here’s one way to do it in an Original Line machine (as Nespresso recommends):

  • While your machine is on and ready, make sure you have a full water tank.
  • Open the handle and leave it open. Press the lungo button while it is still open.
  • Move the handle back and forth, and make sure that it goes all the way up to the back. Do it a few times.
  • Press the lungo button to stop the machine.
  • Looking down at the capsule cage (when you usually put the pods), you should notice some water flow going down to the capsule container unit (not through the coffee spout). This should mean that the machine has regained its flow pressure.
  • Now close the lid, place a cup under the spout and press any button to dispense some hot water. If water comes out normally, this means you’ve fixed the issue and the pods should pierce correctly again.

2- Limescale Buildup Inside the Machine

Using your Nespresso machine on a regular basis without cleaning it properly leads to all sorts of damaging materials building up inside the machine. Which in turn, cause clogged pipes and lower water flow, as well as coffee temperature.

Descaling your machine takes care of this problem. Please visit my guide on how to correctly descale and exit descaling mode in each Nespresso machine for more info.

3- Clogged Capsule Chamber

This is where you place your pod. Some parts could not be visible to you right away, but if you -carefully- insert your finger, you’ll feel the puncturing needle on the inside, and the perforating plate on the opposite side. With constant use and no cleaning, these parts can easily get clogged with grounds residue.

Using a damp towel, you can run through these parts to give them a good wipe. Then you’ll want to run a complete cleaning cycle to clear out any residues.

4- Using 3rd Party Capsules from Compatible Nespresso Brands

Nespresso OriginalLine machines allow you to use capsules from brands other than Nespresso. However, just because these brands are Nespresso compatible, doesn’t mean that all of them are made up to par.

Some brands actually make pods that don’t fit correctly. Others use very stiff materials that don’t get punctured easily. This especially happens with cheaper pods.

So before buying compatible capsules, try to read more about how they fit your particle model. Also, go for aluminum made capsules because the material is more flexible than plastic, it’s what Nespresso uses for their pods.

The safest non Nespresso brand to use is Starbucks OriginalLine (or Vertuo) pods, because they are actually made by Nespresso and the quality of pods is guaranteed.

5- Nespresso Machine Handle Not Fully Closed

With some machine handles, like Pixie’s or Inissia’s, sometimes it’s not noticeable that you have not completely closed the lever or handle down for the machine to puncture the pod correctly. You’ll want to feel the pod’s puncture slightly as you force down the handle.

Why Is My Nespresso Only Making a Little Bit of Coffee?

If your Nespresso machine is making little amount of coffee, but the pod is being punctured fully, then this can still be one of two things:

  • Air pockets is still restricting the flow of the water.
  • The coffee spout is clogged and needs to be cleaned.

We’ve already talked about fixing airlock problems above. But how do you clean a clogged spout?

You’ll need something like a tooth pick or a paperclip. All you have to do is insert it in the coffee spout and move it around to loosen any clogged coffee grinds. When done, run a shot of hot water (espresso button with no pod inside) to get rid of any residue.

Why Do Nespresso Pods Fall Through?

Another capsule related issue is Nespresso pods falling through. If you are using official Nespresso pods, then this could be caused by a bent or crushed rim of the capsule. Try and bend the rim back into its original shape and give it a try.

On the other hand, if you are using third party capsules, they could be incompatible with your machine. If they are aluminum made, check of bents on the rim as well and try to reshape them into the correct shape.

How To Avoid This Problem

Always store your pods correctly. Nespresso capsules are made of aluminum that can easily get crushed or bent. Keep the pods in their original box if you don’t have a proper storage unit for them. And don’t place anything heavy on top of them.

Signs Your Nespresso Needs Descaling

Nespresso recommends that you descale your machine every 3 to 6 months, or after approximately around 300 brew cycles. Descaling is not the same as cleaning the machine. When descaling, you need a special solution that breaks down calcification and limescale that builds up inside the tubes and pipes. Not maintaining your brewer leads to all kinds of clogging and performance issues.

  • Your coffee is not as hot as it used to be.
  • There’s little to no crema on your espresso.
  • There’s coffee grounds inside your cup.
  • Coffee volume decreases even though you did not reprogram it.
  • And eventually, no water pressure and pods not getting punctured.