A mate in the USA told me that he knows a few peopel that have signed with an espresso membership program ( http://www.illyusa.com/AB1666000/memberships/M701/ ) and for them it was a way of getting coffee and a better machine with out a big upfron $$$ hit.
Now I understand that some shops may be able to do a deal where they get the Machine at almost nil but are expected to use X amount of beans a week / month etc.
How long before this takes off here ?
As Barnum said theres a sucker born every minute.
Under that program youd pay USD$252 directly for the X5 and then a minimum of another USD$1,248 for 26.4 pounds of coffee in the first year plus an additional amount for shipping.
Thats USD$1,500 plus most likely another $100-$200 in shipping charges.
And for this you get to enjoy an espresso machine you can buy for USD$300 and stale nasty coffee that wont brew correctly unless you also spend another couple of bills, or more, on a grinder.
I think Ill pass.
Java "No sucker here" phile