5 signs you need to replace your coffee machine

How to tell it’s time to replace your coffee machine, from funny tasting drinks to constant maintenance

Should I buy a bean to cup coffee machine
(Image credit: Sage)

The first thing most people do in the morning is turn on their coffee machine, whether you have one of the best bean to cup coffee machines, a filter maker or you prefer instant coffee. A cup of coffee is a necessity, but if your machine has started to make funny noises or your drinks have a strange taste, it could be time to replace your coffee machine.

Premium coffee machines like bean to cups can cost a lot of money, so ideally, you don’t want to replace yours any sooner than you need to. Most coffee makers last between 5-10 years, and many manufacturers offer warranties so you can get your machine fixed if something unexpected happens. But if your machine is nearing the end of its life or it’s not performing well anymore, you shouldn’t be made to struggle through weak or bitter tasting coffee. 

Instead, here are five signs to look out for that indicate your coffee machine needs replacing. Below, I cover all types of coffee makers, including the best pod coffee machines, and give advice on how best to look after your coffee machine.

1. The technical parts aren’t working properly

Regardless of the type of coffee machine you have, the technical parts can burn out over time, especially if you’re making multiple cups a day. From the water heating process to the integrated grinder, electrical and mechanical issues can happen, but in general, if you’re regularly cleaning and taking care of your machine, you should be able to avoid these issues.

However, nothing lasts forever. If you notice your machine making odd noises, water is leaking from places it shouldn't be or there are cracks in the appliance, it’s a strong sign that your coffee machine needs replacing. If you only experience small issues with one component of your machine like the tank, you should be able to find replacement parts on your manufacturer's website but for structural and internal issues, a replacement is the only option.

2. The water or milk doesn’t get hot enough

As mentioned briefly, the heating element can wear out overtime. The ideal brewing temperature that most coffee machines reach is 90°C / 195°F or higher to achieve the perfect extraction of the beans and taste. So, if your coffee machine isn’t getting hot enough, a key sign to look out for is if your coffee, tea or milk is weak and lukewarm. If this is the case, it’s time to order a replacement machine, or you can contact your manufacturer to see if it can replace the heating element in your current coffee maker under warranty.

De’Longhi coffee machine

(Image credit: De’Longhi)

3. The taste of your coffee changes

One of the biggest signs that your coffee machine needs replacing is if your drinks taste funny. Of course, your coffee might not come out perfectly every time you make it, but if you’re noticing that it consistently tastes weak, bitter or metallic, your coffee machine could be past its best or in need of a good clean.

It’s important to clean your coffee machine regularly so it works effectively. Your coffee could be tasting and smelling strange because you haven’t given the main body or the water tank a proper clean, so make sure to do this on a regular basis (more on this below). But if you’re cleaning your coffee machine thoroughly and your drink still tastes off, it could be a sign that the internal components are breaking down.

4. The machine always needs maintenance or cleaning

Speaking of cleaning, if your coffee machine is always alerting you to cleaning jobs or maintenance issues, it could be time to buy a new one. While it’s important to look after your coffee machine, if it’s asking for repairs after every drink or you’re finding it challenging to clean, it’s a sign that it’s past its best. Of course, you can pander to your machine and run it through a cleaning cycle everyday, it’ll be more cost-effective and less stressful to upgrade to a new model.

5. Extra long brewing times

Brewing time is different for different drink types, and if you’re making coffee for a big group of people. But if you make the same coffee every morning and you notice that your coffee machine is taking longer than normal, it could be a sign that the internal components are failing or malfunctioning. Again, you can clean the internals of your machine to see if it’s a limescale problem, but if you do this and the brewing time is still long, it’s time for an upgrade.

What is the best pod coffee?

(Image credit: Sage)

BONUS: You can’t find compatible pods

Pod coffee machines are increasingly popular, more cost-effective and easier to maintain than more technologically advanced models. But a clear sign that your pod coffee machine is past its time is if you can’t find any compatible pods. This is normally a sign that the manufacturer has discontinued your coffee machine. Instead, upgrade to a new pod coffee machine, and make sure the one you choose is compatible with lots of pod types. For example, L’OR, Lavazza and retailer-owned pods are compatible with most Nespresso coffee machines.

How often should you clean your coffee machine?

If you use your coffee machine every day, you should aim to thoroughly clean it at least once a month. However, regular maintenance of your machine is important, so after every few uses, you should be clearing out the drip tray, replacing the water in the tank and throwing out or recycling your used pods.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!