Today is my 39th birthday and I finally got to fire up an early present, a Breville Ikon Expresso Machine. Anne and Burl fixed us dinner and we had a little cake and presents. After opening a killer household use impact driver, Tammy, Anne and Burl surprised me with the Ikon. It’s been sitting in the kitchen, politely waiting until the birthday morning when I would have time to prep and experiment.
After some initial troubleshooting involving priming the machine’s pump, we were ready. I used our existing coffee and was not disappointed. Our grinder has an espresso setting, producing the correct “grains of sugar” texture that you need. It was as simple as loading the filter, fitting it tightly to the machine and pressing a button. The Ikon produced some great looking espresso with a decent crema (the reddish-brown foam on the top) which maintained a very good flavor. We added some hazelnut syrup and steamed milk (with amateur foam) and had cappuccinos while reading the morning paper.
I have to say a special thanks to my wife [Tammy](http://tammykirks.com) for recognizing the perfect gift and to [Anne](http://keckeley.wordpress.com) and Burl for chipping in to make it affordable. Tammy and I saw the machine in the fall last year but even at 75% off, I didn’t think I could justify the expense. After we started our [Dave Ramsey financial planning journey](http://www.houseofwarwick.com/2009/01/27/financial-planning-class/), that made a purchase of a luxury something that we didn’t schedule or budget. Tammy was able to pull it off without letting me see where the money came from or how.