An inexpensive, low-quality cappuccino, particularly one from a vending machine; a cappuccino made from brewed or instant coffee. Also: cheappuccino. [Blend of cheap and cappuccino.]
Scratch-off tickets are fun...I tend to have better luck with them. The most I got was $5 on one. Used it to buy a "cheappuccino" and junk from the gas station.
—Golden Silence, "Lotto Ladies" (comment), La Bella Noire's Ramblings, February 6, 2007
Cheapuccino: A cappuccino, as made in rural NSW, with frothy milk but instant coffee.
—Richard Glover, "Left botaxed by the four-wheel-drivel of a testiculating henderpsychotic," Sydney Morning Herald, October 12, 2002
The word cappuccino comes from the Capuchin monks, who were noted for wearing a robe that included a sharp-pointed hood, called a capuche. Legend has it that a monk named Marco d'Aviano invented the cappuccino in Vienna when the Turkish army broke of its siege of that city and left behind sacks of coffee so bitter that the monks had to cut it with milk to drink it. The resulting beverage was about the same color as the monk's brown robes, too, so that may also have had something to do with the name.
Since Word Spy is to a large extent fueled by excessive quantities of espresso, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the word espresso itself. It's short for the Italian phrase caffé espresso, which literally means "pressed-out coffee." Pressed-out? That describes the technique used to make espresso on older machines: you pull down a handle that forces hot water at high pressure through the ground coffee. (This is why brewing a single serving — a shot — of espresso is often called pulling a shot.) Lots of people use the word expresso, instead, and that variation is accepted by lots of dictionaries, so don't let anyone tell you it's wrong. In fact, you can tell them that not only is it correct culturally, but it's also correct etymologically. That's because both the Italian espresso and the English express (in the sense of "to press or squeeze") originate with the Latin word exprimere, "to press out."