You have just woken up. It’s a bright day and you are fully pumped for it. As always, you turn on your Nespresso machine and start to fix a cup of coffee, but there’s trouble in paradise. The coffee isn’t coming out as usual and you are wondering: why is my Nespresso machine not making a full cup?

Don’t fret! This is not uncommon; it’s a problem you can fix in minutes, especially if you have interacted with espresso machines before. Don’t stop there, though.  Such a situation could also mean that your coffee maker has deeper problems.

The good thing is that I’m here with all the solutions you need to take care of this. First things first. Let’s look at why your Nespresso machine is being stingy.

Reasons Your Nespresso Machine Is Not Making a Full Cup?

Normally, an espresso machine should extract your coffee in less than 30 seconds and leave you with about 40 mL of coffee or 100 mL of lungo (that’s the Italian word for long). These are the standard preset sizes for most Nespresso models, so when the volume that is dispensed is less (or more) than that, the culprit could be either of the following situations:

  1. You unintentionally re-programmed your unit, or
  2. Your machine needs to be descaled

One way the first situation happens is when you press the button to start the coffee-making process and then press it again to stop before the coffee maker completes a brewing cycle. This reprograms your machine to brew different volumes, which might explain why your Nespresso is not making a full cup Maybe the espresso size is 30mL and lungo size 80mL.

How do you fix that? Two solutions are available:

  1. Reset your unit to its default settings
  2. Descale it

How to Reset Nespresso Machines to Factory Settings

As mentioned earlier, it’s possible you might have accidentally reprogramed your brewer. The good news is you don’t have to restore it to factory settings right away.

Some Nespresso machines let you set your ideal cup size for espresso, lungo, latte, cappuccino, and other drinks it’s able to make. From here on, it will remember your setting every time you brew.

The procedure slightly varies from model to model; however, I found a general way to do it. Just adjust the steps based on your specific unit.

  1. Turn on your unit and make sure the water reservoir is full.
  2. Let the machine get ready for brewing. Some units will stop flashing after about 25 seconds, indicating that the water is hot.
  3. Load the Nespresso capsule into its compartment.
  4. Press and hold the button you’d like to program ( espresso, lungo, etc.).
  5. Release the button once the brewer has made the desired quantity.

That’s it. You have now set your desired amount of coffee!

Next, let’s look at how to reset a Nespresso machine to default settings. This is where you want to be extra careful and here’s why.

Models such as Nespresso Pixie, Nespresso Citiz and Nespresso Essenza share the same procedure, but variants such as Nespresso Lattissima, Lattissima Touch, and Nespresso Inissia have their own unique procedures. My advice is that you check the manual for your specific model to learn how to go about resetting it to default settings.

Be aware that this process will erase any milk or coffee settings you have programmed into your unit.

That said, I’ll briefly let you in on the steps to follow for the mentioned three units that share the same process.

Step 1: Turn off your Nespresso machine.

Step 2: Press and hold the lungo button as you turn on the unit.

Voila! Your coffee maker is now restored to its default settings! You can stick with the preset sizes (40mL for coffee and 100 mL for lungo) if they suit your cup or you can set the specific volume you want using the steps I discussed earlier.

2. Descaling Your Nespresso Machine

It’s not uncommon for these coffee makers to be clogged with limescale and other debris. These substances come from the water you use for brewing. Bottled, tap or filtered water all hold minerals and impurities that accumulate steadily inside your machine.

The first sign you may notice as a result of this is the brewing process slowing down with time. Instead of the usual 15 to 30 seconds, you will find yourself waiting up to one minute for your coffee to be ready.

Also, your brew may not be as hot as it’s supposed to be. The last nail on the coffin will be your Nespresso not making enough coffee or worse, failing to produce any water.

Descaling fixes that. Here’s what you need for the process:

  • Special descaling solution, preferably the Nespresso descaling solution
  • Clean water
  • Empty container
  • Paper towels or a soft piece of clothing for cleaning


  1. Power off your machine.
  2. Empty water reservoir and then fill it with the descaling solution and water (follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to mix the two).
  3. Place an empty container (at least 1-liter capacity) under the machine’s spout.
  4. Switch on the unit and adjust the settings to descaling mode (check your manual for guidance).
  5. Leave the machine to descale until the cycle is complete.
  6. Pour out the liquid from the container.
  7. Clean and rinse the water reservoir, then fill it with fresh, clean water up to the MAX line.
  8. Carry out two to three rinse cycles to get rid of leftover residue from the cleaning solution.

Back to the original question. Why is my Nespresso machine is not making full cups? I believe you have all the fixes at your fingertips now. It’s time to act!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Nespresso machine makes the largest cup of coffee?

Nespresso built the Vertuo line of espresso makers to cater to coffee drinkers eager to make a big cup of joe. You have the freedom to choose between six different cup sizes, from simple mugs to a full carafe.

You are probably wondering how the machine keeps the strength of your brew intact for the different cup sizes. A lot of research went into ensuring you get the strength you desire. The coffee capsules come in different shapes and are bigger than the older varieties so that they can accommodate a bigger cup.

What size cups fit under Nespresso?

Pixie, which is the most basic Nespresso model, accommodates two cup sizes; 40ml for espresso and 110 ml for lungo. The more advanced models can accommodate more than two sizes; some Vertuo models can take up to 500ml. With the exception of the Vertuo capsules designed for larger quantities, the amount of water in your cup with the brew will give you either weaker or stronger coffee, so make sure you choose a mug size that can hold the amount of coffee you prefer.

How does Nespresso know what size cup?

Each Vertuo coffee capsule has a special barcode that the Nespresso Vertuo machine reads when you insert it into the unit. The information gathered helps it figure out not only the right cup size but also the perfect flavor, aroma, and crema for your brew.

Last Word

Just like every other coffee maker, Nespresso machines work at their optimum when you take good care of them. Many of us, unfortunately, shy away from doing this because we assume it’s a complicated process that requires special tools. But that’s not correct!

In fact, the manufacturer’s manual already has all the processes simplified for you. When that Nespresso machine is not dispensing enough coffee, it’s possible you have not been looking after it properly. Descale it first and then carry out other procedures later.

Since that takes time and a bit of effort, I suggest you begin by either setting up your ideal cup size or resetting the machine to its default state. Both processes only take a few minutes.