Over Christmas our coffee machine started malfunctioning, leading to floods all over the kitchen work surfaces. I tried descaling it and ordered a couple of replacement parts, but that didn’t work and it looks like the time has come to say goodbye.

I’m very attached to my morning coffee ritual, so this has caused me more angst and anguish than I expected (definitely a first world problem), but when I look back, I realised that I have had the little beastie for a good few years now, so maybe it’s to be expected that it needs replacing.

That got me thinking – how long is a coffee machine supposed to last anyway?

So I did some research, and put together this guide, exploring the lifespan of coffee machines, when it is time to upgrade or replace, and even some tips on extending the life span of your machine.

Types of Coffee Machine

There are more types of little coffee helpers on the market now than ever before, and it feels like a new model is released daily. This is why nobody can say with certainty how long a coffee machine should last for.

Doing some research on the type of machine that you have will help you to understand how long it should last – here is a full study published on their life expectancy.

To put things simply, a coffee machine which is ‘automatic’ and has automatic parts should last from 5-10 years. Manual machines can last much longer, especially if they are looked after.

How Do You Know It is Time to Replace Your Machine?

You shouldn’t necessarily replace the machine at the first sign of trouble. There are often things you can do to improve the coffee being created, especially if you are using a pod or capsule coffee machine.

The first thing to do is to descale the machine, making sure you have got rid of limescale that could be causing potential problems or even blocking your coffee machine. Your machine manufacturer should be able to supply instructions for this, and may even sell you the chemicals you need.

Signs that the machine may need replacing include:

  • Cold coffee: If the coffee that is being made by the machine is no longer hot, it is a sign that there is something wrong with the mechanics that won’t be a simple or quick fix.
  • Slow extraction: If your coffee machine is very slowly making your drinks and this problem isn’t fixed by descaling then it is a sign it could be on the way out.
  • It stops working altogether: There may be a fix, but in a lot of cases, a coffee machine stopping is a sign that it could be on the way out.

Of course, there are many other reasons why you might look to replace the coffee machine. Things change in the industry, and you might be able to get your hands on a much better machine now, or the pods or capsules that your machine uses might even be discontinued.

If something breaks and you don’t want to get rid of the machine yet, you should do what you can to repair it. This is especially true if the machine is only a few years old, as this shouldn’t be long enough for a coffee machine to break unless it has been greatly overused.

If issues develop within a few months of having a machine then it could be a fault. Be sure to check what is covered under the warranty you got when buying the coffee machine. You might be able to get a repair or a replacement.

Extending the Lifespan of Your Machine

There are many different things you can do to expand the lifespan of your coffee machine. Of all the reasons why your machine might develop a problem, misuse or poor maintenance is probably near the top. 

With that in mind, how can you extend the lifespan of your coffee machine?

  • Cleaning: It isn’t the most glamorous job, but cleaning is essential if you are going to make sure your coffee machine doesn’t develop problems unnecessarily. Your coffee machine will come with instructions on cleaning and descaling.
  • Regularly replacing parts: This is especially true on the more expensive automatic coffee machines, and the sort of models people might use in coffee shops. Parts may need servicing and replacing.
  • Switching off between uses: If you are running a coffee shop this might not be a wise idea, but for most of us using home coffee machines, switching off between uses makes sense. It saves energy and the strain on your machine’s parts, which can extend its lifespan.

Conclusion

A coffee machine is a bit like a car. There will come a time when it is not worth continuing to repair, and this is just a part of its lifespan. At this time, it makes far more sense to upgrade than it does to persevere with substandard coffee. While you should get five years or more out of most machines, there will come a time when it simply needs to be replaced or even upgraded with a better model.

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