Loose/bulk tea/coffee

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clevermizo

Senior Member
English (USA), Spanish
Inspired by some private messages, I was curious what everyone calls tea or coffee that is "loose" or "bulk" (rather than in packages). I suppose the same goes for spices, or anything that can commonly be sold as a bulk item rather than as a packaged item.

My Syrian dictionary lists the term farT فرط for this, with reference to coffee with the example sentence:

بتبيع البنّ فرط أو بالباكيتات؟
bətbii3 l-bənn farT aw bəl-baketaat?
Do you sell coffee loose or packaged?

How does this differ between dialects and what should I use in standard Arabic?
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In Palestinian Arabic we say فلت (falat). Well, at least that's the word I know. There is probably some regional variation.

    I'm not sure what it would be in MSA.
     
    Last edited:

    ma7adan

    New Member
    Arabic (Lebanese)
    It's "falt" in Lebanese too. The root f-l-t refers to something being loose or having escaped, which in the case of tea is simply saying that it is not kept in a container/package. But f-r-T makes sense too, and "fraTa" in Lebanese means change (money), again referring to something being loose and not together (loose change).
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Do you also use nafal, I wonder?
    Yes, I believe nafel is also used.

    We also use fraaTa for "change," but as far as I know we don't use that root for "loose" as in "loose tea."

    f-l-t, f-r-T, and n-f-l are all very interesting roots with a variety of derivations. They probably each deserve their own thread. :D
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    We use farT for cigarettes :) Yes, some small kiosk كشك سجاير sell cigarettes بالواحدة not by packs, they (men) say "sagaayer farT" سجاير فرط in contrast with 3elbet sagaayer علبة سجاير .

    For tea, we say shay saayeb سايب in contrast with met3alleb متعلب or fekyaas في اكياس . We use the same adjective (saayeb) with spices, rice, pasta (makaroona مكرونة)...
    Unless there are other words I don't know of.

    I'm not sure about coffee, but I think it's the same as tea.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In Palestinian Arabic, سايب means "morally loose"! :eek:

    "Coffee" is an interesting one. In Palestinian Arabic, when you say "shtareet ahwe" it's understood that it's loose, and that it's "ahwe 3arabiyye"; we use "niskaffee" to refer to instant coffee, which you usually get in jars, cans, or pre-sealed bags.

    Some people say "bin" to refer to coffee grounds as opposed to liquid coffee, so you could also say "shtareet kiilo bin," for example.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    That's part of it (I think), but it's also about the form. سايب and فالت can both mean "morally loose." فلت, however, is unambiguous and clearly refers to something physical (like tea). We do not use the word فلت to refer to moral looseness.

    But Clevermizo has a point. Unless used as a verb and not as an adjective, سايب can pretty much only mean "morally loose." فالت, however, can be used as an adjective to refer to something phyiscal.

    By the way, Ghabi, your knowledge of Levantine Arabic is uncanny. :thumbsup:
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    haha This is sweet :D
    In Egypt, when we say that a boy us faltaan فلتان we mean he's morally loose.

    And, regarding coffee, we do make the difference between coffee ground (bonn) بُن and the drink (ahwa) قهوة , so you can't buy a ربع كيلو قهوة (that would sound really strange) but a ربع كيلو بن , and the other way round is also true: you can't go to a café (also called "ahwa", by the way) and ask for a كوباية/فنجان بن but a فنجان قهوة or قهوة في كوباية (I don't drink coffee myself, but I notice that some people prefer drinking it in glass (kobbaaya) كوباية, while others prefer "fengaan" which is the china cup).
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    كوباية/فنجان بن sounds really strange in Palestinian Arabic, too (unless you actually mean "a cup of coffee grounds"), because بن can only mean "coffee grounds," but ربع كيلو قهوة sounds completely normal, and in fact, that's far more common (in my experience) than ربع كيلو بن. So basically, we can use قهوة for both coffee grounds and liquid coffee, but بن is only used for coffee grounds.
     

    djara

    Senior Member
    Tunisia Arabic
    In Tunisian Arabic بُن is very finely ground coffee (actually powder) for Arabic coffee. The European-style, more or less coarsely ground coffee is قهوة.
    When you buy loose coffee (or any other foodstuff) we say قهوة صَبّة qahwa sabba
     
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