Why does Nespresso coffee taste burnt, bitter or bad? 6 Reasons

Nespresso is a well-known, highly conventional coffee machine, most marketed and highly innovative, that satisfies its users with convenience, a variety of coffee recipes, and most importantly, the quality of coffee it produces. We are sure that you have purchased a Nespresso machine with the hope that it satisfies your coffee needs.

Nespresso coffee is typically robust, with a creamy texture and sharp notes – these three elements whirling and popping melodically in your mouth are the closest thing to a blessed morning coffee you’ll get. But what will happen if one day Your Nespresso machine’s coffee pod suddenly tastes bad, bitter, or burnt? When looking out, you will find that your machine is working fine, and you’re getting the right amount of coffee or espresso volume. So what’s the problem?

So stop stressing your mind to figure out the Reasons! In this article, we will discuss why does Nespresso coffee tastes burnt, bitter or bad? Reason of Nespresso coffee taste burst and ideal fixes to get rid of!

Why does Nespresso coffee tastes burnt, bad and bitter? Reasons

After extensive research, we have found six reasons that are responsible for your Nespresso natural flavors being lost or altered and also brewing your bitter or burnt coffee.

First of all, the amount of coffee consumed should be proportional to the amount of water consumed. Anything less or more would be very prominent in producing your perfect cup of coffee. As a result, Nespresso has specified the following coffee and water proportions.

We have also provided guidance to fix these issues, and it will surely help you to make your coffee from bitter to better!

Reason 1: You Are simply Over Extracting the Coffee

The first reason might be you are extracting too much coffee unconsciously. If you are using Nespresso Vertuo line machines, you can skip this portion. As vertuo line models work by scanning the bar-code printed on pods/capsule, that automatically tells the machine how long to brew the coffee for each pod.

Unless you are using pods twice or using 3rd party unapproved refillable or reusable pods, you don’t need to worry about over-extracting the coffee. However, if you accidentally change the cup size setting, then you need to reset the machine to the default factory setting.

For Nespresso Original Line machines, over-extracting coffee is a more prominent issue, especially if you are using Essenza, Pixie, Inissia, or CitiZ model.

There are two cup size options available on original line machines, a smaller one (espresso) on the left and a larger one on the Right (lungo). Espresso pours 1.35 oz, while Lungo pours are 3.7 oz. 

You should know that only specific pods can be used to prepare lungo. Use pods with the word “Lungo” in their name if you want to have a larger cup of coffee.

If you try to brew Lungo with Espresso or other pods, you’ll end up with a cup of bitter, burnt, or bad Nespresso coffee. That’s because you’ll actually end up enabling more hot water to run through the pod than you intended.

Reason 2- Nespresso Temperature Setting

Temperature setting is a critical factor in brewing coffee. The ideal pulling espresso temperature is between 92 to 95 °C. Nespresso has reportedly set their machine’s mechanism to heat to exactly 93°C.

The Heating mechanism which is used in Nespresso machines is called Thermo block. Water needs to pass from the Thermo block to the capsule holder through piping.

This is where the problems occur. If this pumping path isn’t hot, the 93°C water will become cold (well, less than 91°C by the time it reaches the coffee beans).


To resolve this problem, Run fresh water through the machine couple of times before popping the pod into the holder; this will do two things

  1. It will Clean the machines and rinse out any residual grinds
  2. It will Heat up the capsule mechanism and spout

This implies that the hot water is at the proper coffee extracting temperature (ideal temperature of 93 degrees) when it reaches the coffee capsule, extracting the maximum amount of flavor.

Reason 3- Using Expired / Unsealed Pods or 3rd part capsules

 If you’re experiencing a bad, bitter, or burst taste, then there might be chances that they have passed their expiration date. You can simply check it by gently pushing the foil seal. If the seal bounces back, the seal is tight.

If the seal is not tight, then there is a hole somewhere that has been letting oxygen go inside. This causes the Nespresso coffee grinds to produce a drink that tastes bitter.

Another reason for the bitter or burnt taste of coffee is the usage of 3rd party unapproved capsules. Third-party capsules that are specifically designed to be compatible with your Nespresso machine.

 Some of these are made to be biodegradable and even disposable; that’s where the problem occurs. First of all, biodegradable packing is semi-permeable which means it can’t be stored for a longer period of time.


  • Nespresso pods should be stored properly in a dry and airtight container to avoid moisture.
  • For 3rd party capsules, the only solution is to experiment. You can try different 3rd party capsules and choose the one from which you get the best taste

Reason 4- Machine needs thoroughly cleaning

If you regularly and consistently use your Nespresso machine, it will easily collect oils and dust particulates. As a result, the flavors of your next cup of espresso will definitely be affected by the dust particulates that have accumulated inside the machine. The result is bitter and burst coffee.

If the water coming out of your machine when you run a water-only or cleaning cycle has a brownish-type tint to it, then your machine needs cleaning.

First of all, whatever Nespresso model you used, it is always recommended to eject the used/trashed capsule right away after brewing your coffee. If you don’t remove used pods after brewing coffee, the coffee grinds buildup inside.

As a result, those used coffee grounds will get mixed in and possibly end up in your cup when you go to brew pods in the future. Your Nespresso coffee will taste burnt, bitter, or bad as a result of this.

In addition, to remove the remains of coffee grounds from the machine, it is recommended to run just water cycles to clear the machines of any remaining coffee bean oils, grinds, or residue.

 For the Original line Machine

 Put an empty glass on the cup holder and just run a brew cycle (either espresso or lungo) without inserting any pod into the pod chamber

For Vertuo line Machine

For vertuo line machine, you should run cycle once every week.

Reason 5- Nespresso Descaling Setting

In addition to regular cleaning, Descaling, or Regular maintenance of the Nespresso machine is mandatory for preserving the quality of coffee and prolonging the life of your Nespresso machine.

The reason is the regular usage of the coffee machine causes Water deposits (also known as scales) will stick to your machine, resulting in a burnt and metallic-tasting cup of coffee.

Now the question is how often you should descale your coffee machine?

It is recommended to descale your coffee machine once in 3-6 months or after brewing 300 cups of coffee, whatever will come first.

There is another thing which you should also take into account if your machine is frequently utilized by multiple family members, friends, or colleagues, then your Nespresso will most likely need to be descaled more frequently than every six months.

However, never use vinegar or baking soda as a descaling solution to clean or descale your Nespresso machine, as it has a negative impact on the taste of your coffee. (Nespresso itself doesn’t recommend using vinegar or baking soda to descale the machine as it can cause damage to the internal parts of the machine).

We recommend you Choose the Nespresso Recommended descaling solution kit for descaling purposes.

Check Nespresso descaling instructions for Original line and Vertuo line machines.

Reason 6- Nespresso Cup setting 

Nespresso recommends sticking to recommended cup size for each type of coffee you want to prepare. Otherwise, you will end up with coffee being bitter or burst in taste.

  • Ristretto (25 ml / 0.84 oz.)
  • Espresso (40 ml / 1.35 oz.)
  • Lungo (110 ml / 3.7 oz.)
  • Americano (25 ml / 0.84 oz. coffee; 125 ml / 4.2 oz. hot water)
  • Hot water (200 ml / 6.7 oz.)

The following key points should be kept in mind while programming cup size settings.

  • Before programming, make sure that your machine has enough water in the water tank.
  • Use the correct capsule for your machine.
  • Each cup volume is programmed separately, so if you wish to customize all of the available sizes, you’ll have to repeat the process.

Machine Defect

There might be an off chance that your machine has now become defective and requires repairing. You can easily figure out this issue if your coffee tastes metallic or plastic, especially in case if you have Nespresso Vertuo Next model.

The possible reason is the Thermo block which is an internal component of the machine responsible for regulating machine temperature, and it may be overheating.

You can also contact Nespresso customers support to seek professional help.

Additionally, if you have purchased your machine within the last twelve months, it should still be supported by a warranty. They may offer you the option to send your coffee maker in for factory service or, better yet, a replacement machine.

Ways to Create the Best Nespresso coffee

Here are five ways that guarantee the best coffee brewed by Nespresso machines

  1. Clean your Nespresso machine Regularly
  2. Use Filter water for brewing coffee
  3. Descale your Nespresso machine regularly
  4. Properly warm up your Nespresso machine before usage
  5. Reprogram your Nespresso machine to create the tastiest Nespresso coffee pods.


Being a coffee lover, No one wants to enjoy coffee that has been burned, tastes bitter or bad. Coffee is supposed to cheer your soul, provide your energy, wake up your mind and fill your heart with happiness, not to make your mouth pucker in disgust, not. So you won’t be wondering why your Nespresso coffee feels burnt, bitter or bad the next time you get that burnt sensation. Instead, you’ll jump into action.

Frequently asked question

Why does my Nespresso coffee taste burnt?

Each Nespresso capsule is designed to extract a specific amount of coffee. After that, it will stop creating flavor and begin to burn, resulting in a burst of bitter and bad coffee. Original coffee capsules have the recommended extraction size details imprinted on the coffee sleeve to enable you to extract at the recommended level every time

How do you get the burnt taste out of a Nespresso machine?

Fill your machine with filtered water and Nespresso recommended descaling solution. Start the descaling process on your machine (check Nespresso descaling manual instruction). Clean and empty your water tank. Refill your Nespresso machine with fresh water and run it through again.

Why does Nespresso taste watery?

This leakage is most likely caused by an inadequate coffee grind in the capsule, resulting in poor extraction and machine leaking. If you’re using refillable capsules and you’re getting watery coffee, try changing the coffee grind in the capsule until the leakage stops.

Can I use vinegar or baking soda to descale my Nespresso?

Never use vinegar or baking soda as it has a negative impact and can damage your machine. Never fill up the water tank during the descaling process.