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Salvaging My Faulty Nespresso Coffee Machine

I’ve been a coffee drinker since young. There’s coffee all day in the flask at home, and mugging for tests and examinations (since some three decades ago…) meant more caffeine was needed to keep me awake.

Instinctively, while at work, sipping a cup of coffee mid-morning and after lunch has become a routine. While off work during the weekends, catching up with friends over coffee surely makes a good excuse.

In December 2012, I became the proud owner of a Nespresso coffee machine – U machine.

I love my U machine – it’s compact and takes up little space. It’s easy to use – pop in a capsule, select the soft touch control (of three cup size choices), close the slider and in a few seconds, out comes the aromatic coffee. To go with my choice of coffee (I stock up a few variations of different intensity for myself, the family and guests), I would have a slice of cake, a few pieces of biscuits or a sandwich.

Image source: Nespresso
During the two-year warranty period, my coffee machine went on strike twice. In May 2014, the slider got stuck. A month later, the machine made noises and water was dripping while the coffee was being prepared. For both occasions, I managed to get the machine fixed within a week.All appliances will not serve for eternity… On a fine afternoon in Oct 2016, the machine decided to go on strike again – after a good two and a half years. It was perfectly fine when my daughter made her coffee that morning. When I tried to make mine, water dripped out through another passage about an inch behind the coffee outlet, and with some intermittent drips at the rear. I attempted again but the same problem persisted.

The next thing I thought of was to call the hotline. The customer service officer was polite and emphatic. After hearing me out, she provided troubleshooting tips. It still didn’t help… When it failed, she provided two options – to repair the machine for $120 with a two-year warranty or to get a trade-in value of $120 for a new Lattissima Plus (retailed at $468), a milk solution machine, for only $348. The trade-in value is the same as the current festive promotion of $120 discount for a milk solution machine.

I was not willing to part with any money. A 3Rs advocate, I was determined to give my pre-loved-turned-faulty machine one last shot. (I still love it very much…)

I experimented with the machine several times (er… I did waste a few coffee capsules…) and observed the “new” coffee outlet. It flowed out about an inch behind its usual passage. Bingo! I realised I could still use the machine as follows (see video):

Video Source: Magdalene Ng

  • Step 1: Switch on the power, open the slider, press one of the three cup size controls and wait for the machine to heat up
  • Step 2: Remove the adjustable cup support and drip grid, capsule container, and drip tray
  • Step 3: Fold a kitchen cloth and put it below the slot (for fuss-free cleaning)
  • Step 4: Put a cup atop the cloth and push it to the rear
  • Step 5: Press the preferred cup size control
  • Step 6: Pop in the choice of capsule
  • Step 7: Close the slider
  • Step 8: (A loud stream of drilling sounds follows as the coffee is being prepared) Wait to collect the coffee
  • Step 9: Remove the cup of coffee as the drip dies off… in time for the used capsule to drop onto the cloth
  • Step 10: Remove the cloth with the used capsule (and clean up water overspill if any)
  • Step 11: Put back the adjustable cup support and drip grid, capsule container, and drip tray
  • Step 12: Turn the machine to OFF mode by pushing any control for more than 3s, after which the other two controls flash off together.
  • Step 13: Switch off the power.
  • Step 14: Enjoy the coffee!

Perseverance, patience and a little innovation allow me to continually enjoy coffee of the same quality. I could have just caved in and forked out the money to repair the machine or to trade it in for a brand new one…

I will use the “faulty” machine till it fails again. The “3Rs spirit” in me will definitely do my utmost to see if the machine can be salvaged again!

* 3Rs stands for Recycle, Reuse and Renew

Lastly, here’s a great piece of information for all the Nespresso fans. – The Ultimate Nespresso Guide

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