Coffee tasseography is called καφεμαντεία in Greek or kahve falı in Turkish. Traditionally, coffee readers use Turkish coffee, or any coffee that has grinds that sit at the bottom of the cup. Most of the liquid in the coffee is drunk, but the sediment at the bottom is left behind. It is often believed that the drinker of the coffee should not read their own cup.
There are at least two forms of coffee reading. Both require that the cup be covered with the saucer and turned upside-down. Some traditions, such as in Romania, require that the sediments in the cup be swirled around the inside of the cup until they cover the majority of the cup’s inside surface. Other traditions, such as Turkish and Middle Eastern, do not require this swirling but do require that the cup be turned towards yourself for showing your own fortune. The coffee grounds are given time to settle and dry against the cup before a reading begins.
Many interpretations for symbols exist, but one common thread is the color of the symbols. Since most cups used are white or ivory and the grounds are dark, strong contrast exists for the symbols. White is considered a “good” symbol foretelling of generally positive things for the drinker, while the grounds themselves are considered to form “bad” symbols.
Symbols can be many things, including people, animals, and inanimate objects. Usually, the fortune teller will group nearby symbols together for a prediction.
After a reading, the drinker will be asked to “open the heart”. This is done by placing the right thumb at the inside bottom of the cup and twisting clockwise slightly. This will leave an impression behind that the fortune teller will interpret as the drinker’s inner thoughts or emotions.
|Apple||achieving knowledge, completing school, getting diploma|
|Flying birds||good news|
|Cat||a deceitful friend or relative|
|Dog||loyal friend or relative|
|Kite||wishes will come true|
|Raven||death or bad news|
In 2007, a coffee-reading fortune teller from Israel was charged with practicing magic, a crime punishable by up to five years in jail. The fortune teller in question was acquitted of the charges after the Israeli Gov. deemed it too hard to prove she was knowingly ‘faking it’.