Arabic Language Blog

Traditional Drinks from different parts of the Arab world (1) Posted by on Nov 29, 2017 in Arabic Language, Culture, Vocabulary

A group of men drinking mint tea

From Pixabay

Traditional is always considered good and special in the Arab world, whether it was food, clothes, etc. In this week’s post, we’re going to learn about a number of traditional drinks that are made and consumed in different parts of the Arab world, from Morocco to Syria. What is special about these drinks is that they are very healthy as they are made with fresh fruits/ herbs.

In this first part of the post, we’re going to focus on four different hot drinks المشروبات الساخنة  (Al-mashroob-aat  As-saakhina). There are four common drinks that are perhaps less known to non-Arabs. These are:

  • Mate (Matteh) مَتِّه

Matt is looks like green tea but tastes different and its made up of different herbs الأعشاب العطرية too. It is made by adding boiling water to a mixture of ground dried leaves and herbs. It can taste slightly bitter مُرّ/strong, but one can add a flavour نكههto it, such as sugar سكر, thyme زعتر , wild mint النعناع البري, ginger الزنجبيل , etc. Although mate contains caffeine, it’s often helps one to relax and is believed to be effective for migraines الصُّداع. It is usually drunk with a straw made specifically for this drink, which is called jozeh جُوزِه

This drink is very famous in both Syria and Lebanon and is considered one of the daily/typical drinks in these two countries and usually make appearance in TV episodes!

  • Maghrebi Mint tea (Ataay)أَتَاي

This type of tea is popular and a daily drink in North Africa, particularly in Morocco and Tunis. It’s made up of green tea and spearmint. It’s usually served with lots of sugar. It’s particularly healthy and is known for its effectiveness for breaking down fat إذابة الشحوم  and losing weight فقدان الوزن

People usually drink it after lunch as it helps with digestion الهضم

  • Tea with almonds (Shaai bil-looz)شاي باللوز

Another drink that is widely consumed in North Africa, particularly in Tunis and Libya. This drink is a specialخاص  and not as mundane as green tea because of the almonds اللوز added to it. This is why it’s often served in special occasions المناسبات only.

It is made by preparing black tea that is flavoured with mint and lots of sugar. This black tea is then poured into a glass that has a bunch of blanced almonds لوز مزلط  looz mzallet.

  • Salep (Sahleb) سحلب

It’s a cosy warm drink that is specifically consumed in the winter الشتاء   and it’s considered a good source of calcium, warmth الدفء  and energy الطاقة

It’s easy to make and affordable. All one needs is cane  قصب corn scratch نشا الذرة, cinnamon قرفه  and orange blossom water ماء الزهر

You can also add ground nuts ألواز مطحونة لوز مطحون أو on top, such as coconut  جوز الهند or pistachio الفستق – almondsاللوز)

Stay tuned, we’re going to look at more drinks next week in the second part of this post.


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About the Author: Hanan Ben Nafa

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.