How to Tell Your Fortune with Coffee and Tea

Coffee, tea or me? That was a 1960s-era, stewardess joke (when airlines still offered more than beverages). But that is another factoid for another day. Here are the facts regarding how to tell your fortune with coffee grounds and tea leaves, with Psychic Chic as your steward-guide. Goodness knows, so many of us want to know what the future will bring, now don't we?

Oh, I know if you want to read your own fortune, you can easily consult a deck of cards or your palm, but the coffee/tea methods doubles your pleasure and your fun. You get  a nice cuppa (coffee or tea) and your fortune, all rolled into one.

For both coffee and tea, you will need a simple ceramic or china cup in a white or pastel color and a similar, smaller demitasse cup. No patterns inside the cups, please. They will only distract you. There's a bit of difference between fortune-telling (also known as Tasseomancy or Tasseography) with coffee grounds and with tea leaves. Here's the skinny on how to do one or the other, or both, if you want a second opinion!

To read Coffee Grounds, you will need to make Turkish Coffee. This beverage is easier to brew than it sounds. It helps to own a narrow-topped, small copper or brass boiling pot called a cezve or Kanaka, but this is not entirely necessary, if you own a very  tiny pot. (Too big a pot will cause the all-important coffee foam to stick to the pot sides. Also, a shallow depth of water allows coffee grinds to sink).  Make sure you use very finely ground, highly-roasted coffee beans (like French Roast). You should grind (or have the beans ground) to the consistency of fine powder (the finest ever used for any coffee drink). Take 1-2 teaspoons of the powdered coffee, 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar (and a pinch of cardamom, if you like)  and 1 demitasse (very small) cup of cold water. Boil. Remove the coffee from the heat and shake gently. Reboil the coffee again and shake 3 times. You will need to brew the coffee for a total of five minutes. You will know you've brewed correctly, if your coffee has a thick foam layer at the top. It's best to drink this coffee when it is very hot, and all the way down to the bottom. Once the coffee liquid is gone, the thick layer of the grounds' sediment at the bottom will tell your fortune. If any liquid remains, drain it off, turn the cup over and let the grounds fall randomly onto your  cup's saucer. Give the grounds time to settle and to dry before looking for the symbols. Of course, you should not expect to see any clear artistic icons. Rather, you will see some outlines - like a circle (for a ring) a kite (wishes will come true) a line (you are on the right path,) and so on. There are many ancient traditions regarding Tasseography - and some suggest that you should only ask a fortune teller to read your coffee grounds. However, I depart from that advice, because that will only pad the price of your drink. You can learn to read your own symbols, if you so desire, although it may take practice. Don't expect a perfect fortune symbol to appear the first time you try. But then, again, stranger things have happened.

To read tea leaves: If you choose to read your fortune using tea, select the loose tea herbs you like best (you will not be using tea bags). I prefer chamomile, peppermint or lemon, but the choice is up to you. Pick something delicious. Brew your tea, using your preferred method (sometimes a tea ball). When the brewing is complete, pour the tea (without using a strainer) into a plain china or ceramic cup. Drink to the bottom.  When you have finished, and there is no more tea, (if need be, pour the remaining liquid into the saucer), gently swirl and shake the leaf remnants which have gathered at the bottom of the cup. Gaze into the cup to see what sort of patterns may have appeared. If you see a mountain, for example, expect challenges - or a trip.  If you see a snake, beware, unless you collect reptiles as pets, and then the snake is a lucky confirmation for you.  There are variations on the tea-leaf reading theme (to swirl or not to swirl, etc). But I say do what feels comfortable and right - for you.

In addition to telling your own fortune through coffee and tea, this divination makes a fun party activity. You can be the first person in your group to introduce the ages-old, global traditions of tea leaf and coffee ground fortune-telling, without having to pay someone to do the reading. (Tea leaf reading began in Asia, the Middle East and Ancient Greece - all at approximately the same time. Coffee reading is a longtime Middle East tradition, dating from the Medieval era.  You can learn more about Tasseography on the internet, including excerpts in Project Gutenberg).

If this sounds like fun, or even if it doesn't, or you don't drink stimulants, you can also engage your own personal fortune-teller (you) by starting a collection of antique china fortune telling cups. They are difficult to find, but loads of fun to display. In years and years of collecting, I've run across only two (one with cards, the other with symbols). But I am certain there are more out there waiting for me .

Like all things involving predictions of your future or your fortune, take these readings and symbols, with a grain of salt. Or in the case of coffee and tea, a lump of sugar.


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