The “Ventilate” Message: A Quick and Easy Fix (Simple Guide)

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If you are seeing ventilate on your coffee machine, then there is no need to worry. Your machine needs a little cleaning so it can make better coffee for you. 

Short Answer: The “ventilate” means either your machine has low water flow, which creates an air bubble inside the machine, or the grounds are too fine that the machine cannot make coffee. 

The feature ventilates can be found in super high-quality espresso machines such as the Saeco coffee machines. If you own one, you might already experience that sometimes your machine asks you to ventilate it to ensure you’re getting the very best out of your coffee machine.

There are two options to clean most of the coffee machines, decalcify and ventilate. You don’t need to call a maintenance specialist; you can do this at home on any coffee machine to keep it working in tip-top condition.

Let’s look into what “ventilate” means for coffee machines and how to run ventilate at home. 

What to look for before buying a coffee machine?

coffee machine

Before we see the ventilate feature of coffee machine let’s look into some important things that you should know before buying a new coffee machine, including:


Purchasing a coffee machine is not a one-time expense. If you buy Keurig and Nespresso, you have to spend money on capsules and pods. And if you buy a drip machine, then you have to spend on grounds and filters. So, weigh down all the pros and cons of pricing that only buy the one you can afford. 

Brewing Temperature

if you are serious about coffee, always look with the best temperature setting. 

The ideal temperature is 196°F to 205°F to extract the best flavor of the coffee. 

Special Features 

We have many fantastic machines in the market that offer unique features such as auto on and off option. 

Here I have reviewed the best coffee machines and their features, do check them out. 

Easy to Clean

The most important thing to look for in a machine is how to clean and maintain it for a longer time. 

For example, if you don’t have the time to handwash your machine daily, you should look for something that can go in the dishwasher.

Here’s a table so you can get an idea of how much different coffee machines cost and what are some best machines to check out next time you decide to buy one:

Types of Coffee MachinesBest Coffee MachinesAverage Price
Ground coffee machinesSage Barista Pro espresso machine

De’Longhi Dedica pump manual espresso coffee machine

Morphy Richards espresso machine
Pod Coffee machinesLavazza A Modo Mío Deséa

Wacaco Nanopresso Nespresso

Magimix Nespresso Expert.
Bean-to-cup coffee machinesSage The Oracle Touch

Krups Evidence Plus EA894T40 Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine

De’Longhi Magnifica S ECAM 22.360.B Coffee Machine
Coffee machine

What does ventilate mean on a coffee machine?

The “ventilate” message means that low water flow created an air bubble inside the machine. Sometimes this message also appears when the machine was not cleaned well or because of the wrong coffee grounds size. 

In most coffee machines, it just means that the system has sensed a low water flow and shut down because of it.

In such a case, push the button to have water come out of the wand, which should be enough to make the unit work again. 

However, if no water comes out and the message still appears on the machine, or if water does come out, but the message still pops up, then you might have another problem.

What does ventilate do on a coffee machine?

If the machine is not descaled, it can cause water hoses to be clogged. “Ventilate” ensures that the hot water tube is cleared of air bubbles created inside the machine.

To ensure the machine is clean, remove any potential debris or coffee waste inside that could have been causing clogging. 

Running a ventilate check is essential as it will help to decalcify any mineral buildup inside the machine.

How to ventilate a coffee machine? 

Every coffee machine has a different way to ventilate.

If you are using a Saeco coffee machine, then follow this process:

  1. First, plugin and switch on your Saeco. 
  1. When “ventilate” shows light, check to see if the water tank on the back left of your machine is full.
  1. If the machine needs ventilation, place a coffee cup underneath the part of the machine where the hot water comes out.
  1. Start the button for hot water and fill your coffee cup with the boiling water. 
  1. Once your cup is full, empty the boiling water from a cup.
  1. Now, turn your machine off and back on again to check if the “ventilate” light is still on. In case it is, you need to repeat the process until it ventilates message stop showing up.

Watch the video to learn how to ventilate coffee machine:

According to experts, the machine has a blockage of debris or other things which is restricting the water flow.

Firstly, check the steam valve and inlet pipe of the steam valve. If the ventilate message is still there, you need to find the potential blockage somewhere in the water system causing the problem. 

Do all coffee machines have this feature?

white mug under a coffee machine

No, not all coffee machines have the ventilate feature. This feature is only available on high end automatic coffee machines.

If your machine has this feature and pops up again and again after brewing 4 to 5 cus of coffee then you should know the solution and a few important things:

“Ventilate” Message Soultion 

When your Super-Automatics Saeco or Gaggia coffee machine shows ventilate message, there are a few things to consider.

Grind size

Sometimes your coffee might be the reason for ventilate messages. When the grind is too fine, the pump might not work.

To fix this, increase your coffee grind size. Be sure to brew 3-4 cups unit needs to be cleaned and serviced:

Soak the brew unit in water and soap for an hour. Dry the brew unit and then place everything back and try the machine again.


If you haven’t been descaling your machine, then you should know at this point when your machine starts showing signs of ‘ventilate.’

If you have been descaling your machine regularly, try again just in case it is a descaling issue because descaling should be done every 2-3 months for proper cleaning. 

Keep the Machine Running

If you are not using the machine for an extended time, it can also cause the pump to dry. In such a situation, the pump cannot pump air, and you will be needing to use a hand pump to be primed manually.  

Calcium Coat 

When the flow meter is not reading the water flow, it’s probably because of a blocked water inlet or Calcium coat on the magnet sensor.

Descale the machine, and check if the pump is louder than usual. It must be manually primed.

Broken or damaged

When the boiler outlet valve tip is broken or damaged, then you need help from an expert repairman. 

What coffee machines have this feature?

You can find ventilate features in Hotpoint, Saeco, and Gaggia coffee machines. 

All of them have a similar way of clearing or ventilating the machine by running water flow.

You can also try the descaling solution. By descaling the machine, you can make up to 10 coffees but then expect the issue back to the usual. In such a scenario, descale the machine using twice the recommended solution followed by rinsing it with warm water at least 4 times.

Final Words

coffee beans

That is all for what ventilate means on a coffee machine and how to ventilate your machine.

So in short, ventilate simply means that there’s something blocking the water flow in your machine and you need to check it out, or perhaps the grounds you are using are too fine to create coffee. This is nothing you should be worried about as there are many was to fix this.

However, if you want to avoid this message, it’s best to do frequent maintenance check on your coffee machines to make sure nothing is off.  

Even if the “ventilate” message isn’t showing, it’s vital to run boiling water one to two times a week through your coffee machine despite the brand you own to keep it clean. It improves the taste of your coffee but also helps make sure the machine is running as smoothly as possible.

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