Several people asked that I forward any comments regarding shopping for latte systems, etc. I really did not get a lot of responses but the message below was exactly the kind of information I was hoping to get. I had several other similar responses that mentioned the cappuccino machine.
I think you are looking for a small espresso/cappucinno maker.
Typically makes about 2-4 cups of coffee and has a steam spigot for frothing milk. I see them often (even at yard sales), and my 20-yr. old one just gave out after daily use! I don't know if there's a fancier gadget, but this would make regular drip coffee, espresso, and you can froth the milk for capuccinos -- this covers most of the coffee drinks, lattes, mochas, etc. I spent about $50 20 years ago, but I think they are not as much today. There are all sorts of fancier models out there, but this one, if you can stand the sound of the steamer frothing the milk is a great one. I think Cuisinart, Proctor Silex, Hamilton Beach all have their own versions.
Alternatively, two French presses work as well (the kind of glass non-electric decanter with something that looks like a plunger to press the coffee down -- one for the coffee, the other for frothing milk - I use the smaller version for this). This works better for me, because it's not as loud, it is non-electric - thus less expensive - and I like my warm milk frothed rather than all the bother of the steamer, cleaning it, cleaning the splashes etc.) Happy Holiday Shopping!
Thanks all for the great advice and suggestions on my query regarding latte/coffee type systems. Since I sent the
summary, someone has recommend a system from
http://www.keurig.com/ which gives it high praise. The key elements for my friend are ease of use, clean up and variety. While you cannot froth milk, etc. they do offer a good selection of flavor cups.
Turns out someone in my college has one and has offered to make some samples for me. He said the costs turns out to be about 44 cents per cup. While not the cheapest setup I think this will work great for my friend.
The person in my college said you can buy these at Bed, Bath and Beyond too rather than just online. I will compare pricing. BB&B may be good since you can generally find coupons for them.