The name for coffee cup cardboard sleeves is Zarf

Those goofy cardboard sleeves around takeout coffee cups. What are they called? Today I learned they are called a Zarf.

coffee cardboard sleeve is called a Zarf

What an wonderful word. Zarf. How in the world is it such a cool word? Is that for real? Yes, it is real. Zarf is an Arabic word for vessel. According to etymonline, the usage dates back to 1836.

Etymonline: zarf. Coffee cup holder, vessel

Do a Google Image search for: zarf coffee. You’ll get some incredible results for ottoman coffee cup holders.

Zarf coffee: google images

The search results for that are quite a contrast in cultures. The American cardboard holder next to the exquisite ottoman metal holders.

Giving props: I learned about the word Zarf via the Freakonomics podcast. Specifically, their “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” live show:

A.J. JACOBS: Well that and I was able to squeeze in— I have a new book. It’s called Thanks A Thousand, and the idea is I went around the world and thanked a thousand people who had even the smallest role in making my morning cup of coffee possible. So I thanked the farmer who grew the coffee beans, and the trucker, and the logo designer, and the man who made the zarf.

Stephen DUBNER: What’s a zarf?

Manoush ZOMORODI: Bless you.

JACOBS: Well, thank you. A zarf is, I learned, the official name for that little cardboard sleeve that goes around a coffee cup.

ZOMORODI: No way. Come on, that’s not the word for it. Zarf?

JACOBS: Zarf. Yes. And, just so you know, it has a long and glorious history. There were zarfs in ancient China made of gold and tortoise shell so—

ZOMORODI: Wait, A.J. wins. I’m sorry. That fact was amazing. That’s so cool.

Freakonomics is a great podcast, easily in my top ten favorite podcasts. Maybe in the top five. You can listen or subscribe at freakonomics.com/archive.

Enjoyed this blog post?

Join the creatives who receive thoughtful Spudart blog posts via the email newsletter

guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
john
john
6 months ago

thanks

3
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x