What Do Flashing Lights Mean On Breville Bambino & Barista Express?

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

A Guide To Breville Bambino & Barista Espresso Machine Blinking Light Alerts

Flashing lights on the Breville Bambino and Barista Express espresso machines usually signal that some type of cleaning is needed. Most often this will be group head cleaning cycle, but it could also involve the burr grinder or the steam wand. Fortunately, the Breville espresso machines have different blinking light alerts for different problems. Which lights will flash and what they mean will differ based on the Breville espresso machine model you have. I’ve summarized what those lights mean and how to fix the problems for the most popular Breville coffee maker models.

An important note before getting into the details. If the Breville flashing lights you see are the alert for a group head cleaning cycle that is needed, you’ll want to be sure to get some cleaning tablets that are compatible with your machine ASAP. If you are not going to choose the Breville brand, be sure to read the product description carefully to make sure they are compatible with your espresso machine model.

Breville Bambino Plus Flashing Lights

1 Cup and 2 Cups Lights Flashing

When both the 1 Cup and 2 Cups lights are flashing on your Breville Bambino Plus, your machine is telling you it needs a cleaning cycle. You’ll need a cleaning disc and cleaning tablets.

  1. Insert the cleaning disc into the filter basket in the portafilter
  2. Place 1 cleaning tablet into the indent on the cleaning disc
  3. Lock the portafilter into the group head
  4. Empty the drip tray and place it back on the machine. Put a 2 liter or 68 fl oz container on the drip tray under the portafilter and steam wand
  5. Remove the water tank and fill it to the MAX line. Place it back on the machine
  6. To enter cleaning cycle mode, press both the 1 CUP and 2 CUP buttons for 5 seconds. These two buttons will stay lit. Press either one to begin cleaning. The lights will alternate flashing while it is in progress
  7. When the cycle is over, the Breville Bambino will return to ready mode
  8. Remove and rinse the portafilter, cleaning disc, drip tray and container
How To Flush Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine

Milk Temperature & Milk Foam Lights Flashing

When the milk temperature and foam lights are both flashing on your Breville Bambino Plus, it means the steam wand needs cleaning. Over time, the wand can become blocked by left behind milk residue. To fix this, first just try taking the cleaning tool with pin and inserting the pin into the holes of the steam wand. Move them around gently. After this, try another STEAM cycle. If there still appears to be a block, use the spanner in the middle of the cleaning tool to unscrew the steam wand tip. Let the tip soak in some hot water and reuse the pin in the holes. Reattach the tip to the wand and try again. Repeat until successful.

Breville .BES860XL/89N Cleaning Kit Assembly with Color Box
  • This is an O.E.M. authorized part
  • Fits various Breville models

Breville Bambino Blinking Lights

2 Cup Button Flashing Continuously

The 2 Cup button on the Breville Bambino will flash continuously when the espresso machine needs a cleaning and descaling cycle. You’ll need to get a descaling solution.

  1. Empty the drip tray and then return it to the machine
  2. Fill the water tank to the DESCALE line and then add your descaling agent, following the instructions on the pack
  3. Place a large 2 liter container under the group head and steam wand
  4. Press the 2 Cup and Steam buttons together for 5 seconds to start the descale cycle. The 2 Cup button will begin to flash
  5. The descale mode will pause once the water and solution mix in the tank has been used up
  6. Remove the water tank and rinse it well. Then fill it to the MAX line with clean water only and return it to the machine
  7. Take the large container, empty it and return it under the head and steam wand
  8. Press the 2 Cup button to start the rinse cycle. When the rinse cycle is over, the machine will go to ready mode. Be sure to refill your water reservoir before using the brewer.

LED Lights Flash Six Times Three Seconds

When all lights on the Breville Bambino flash six times in 3 seconds, it means there is no water in tank. Remove the water reservoir, fill it with fresh water to the MAX line and then add it back to the machine.

Breville Barista Express Flashing Light Alerts

Clean / Descale Light Flashing

When the clean / descale light on the Breville Barista Express flashes, the machine needs a cleaning cycle. When it is solid, it needs descaling. You’ll need a cleaning disc and cleaning tablets.

  1. Insert the cleaning disc into either the one cup or two cup filter basket
  2. Put the filter basket into the portafilter
  3. Place 1 cleaning tablet into the indent on the cleaning disc
  4. Lock the portafilter into the group head and then turn the machine off
  5. Press and hold 3 buttons at the same time for 3 seconds: 1 Cup, 2 Cup, and Power
  6. This will start the cleaning cycle. It will last for 5 minutes. When its over, the Barista Express will beep 3 times
  7. Remove the portafilter and check to make sure that the tablet has been completely dissolved. If it did not, repeat steps 5 and 6 until it has
  8. Rinse the filter basket and portafilter with fresh water
How To Clean Breville Barista Express

Single And Double Filter Size Lights Blinking

If both the single and double filter size lights on your Breville Barista Express are flashing, it means that there is an issue with the hopper (the part of the machine that holds the coffee beans). It may not be securely in place or the grinder chute may be blocked. Remove the hopper and clean it, following the steps below. The grinder burrs are sharp so be careful when following these steps!

  1. Unlock the hopper by turning it counter clockwise. Empty it of any beans, return it to the brewer, and then twist it clockwise to lock it
  2. Now the hopper is empty, run the grinder. This will remove any grounds that were caught in there
  3. Unlock the hopper again and remove it
  4. Remove the upper burr by turning it counter clockwise to unlock it and then pulling it up to remove it. This will also reveal the lower burr
  5. Take your cleaning brush and clean the top burr, lower burr and chute
  6. Put the top burr back in place and rotate clockwise to lock it. Then re-install the hopper.

If that doesn’t work, your grinder may need more advanced cleaning. Reference page 27 of the espresso machine’s user manual.

Steam Light Flashing

After 5 minutes of continuous steaming, the machine will automatically disable the steam function. The steam light will flash. When this occurs return the steam dial to the STANDBY position. Machine will commence normal heat up procedure.

Hot Water Light Flashing

When the Steam/Hot Water light on your Breville Barista Express espresso machine is flashing, it indicates that the Hot Water function has been selected. This will happen if the Steam/Hot Water dial was turned to the Hot Water position. The thermo-coil will begin to heat and hot water will eventually come out of the spout. If this was accidental, or if you want to stop the flow of water, just turn the dial back to Standby.

Power Button Blinking

A blinking power button simply means that the Barista Express espresso machine is heating up. When the correct temperature has been reached, it will turn steady.

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