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Reading the Tea Leaves or Coffee Grounds

Reading tea leaves or coffee grounds has traditionally been practiced in many countries by the women in the family, typically at gatherings of family and friends. Tea leaf reading is also referred to as tasseomancy, tasseography or teomancy. Coffee reading is known as cafeomancy.

But this sort of divination has long been practised wherever there is a liquid that leaves behind some sort of dregs, whether it be tea leaves or coffee grounds. In ancient times, they would read the wine lees left in the glass.

Enjoy a free coffee reading or read on to learn to do your own readings below.


First of all sit, down and enjoy your cup of tea. Remembering of course, that you need to make your tea the old-fashioned way using a teapot, so that you end up with a fair few tea leaves! You need a teacup with a wide mouth, sloping side of cups, and a plain, undecorated surface inside of cup. Do not strain the tea as you pour it. Many people believe you cannot read your own cup, however that is a personal preference. As with any form of divination, it is always difficult to read your own fortune objectively.

If you prefer coffee, simply brew your favourite variety of coffee and add a pinch or two of dry coffee grounds to the coffee so that there will be enough grounds to read. If you add the grounds before drinking, then let the cup sit for a few minutes so that the grounds sink to the bottom. Otherwise add the grounds to the remaining coffee dregs after you have drunk your cup of coffee. You will find that different varieties of coffee, such as Turkish or Greek coffee, are more suitable for coffee reading.

Part of the ritual of this form of divination is to sit down and enjoy the tea and the company of your fellow drinkers before you get started. This is not as frivolous as it sounds as it allows you to relax and also gather your thoughts.

Before you even start the reading , there may already be some early signs to interpret:

  • Bubbles on the surface of your tea or coffee means that money is on its way.
  • If any tea leaves are floating on the surface, then visitors are imminent. The number of leaves shows how many days away they are.
  • If two teaspoons are accidently placed on a saucer, then you can expect news of twins soon.
  • If a teaspoon is placed upside down onto a saucer then you will hear news of the ill-health of a close relative.

Finish your tea leaving a small amount of liquid in the bottom of cup of the cup. Holding the cup in your left hand, swirl the tea leaves round three times in a clockwise direction. Make sure that the remaining tea swirls around the whole of the cup.

Then, upend the cup on the saucer and let the liquid drain away.

Coffee drinkers can use the same method with the remains of their coffee, or they can pour the remains across a plate and interpret the patterns that are left on the plate.

Variations with Coffee Reading: In Romania the coffee grounds are swirled so that the most of the inside of the cup is covered. In many Middle East areas, before the start of the reading, the drinker "opens the heart" by by placing the right thumb at the inside bottom of the cup and twisting clockwise slightly. The impression that is left by this small action is then interpreted by the reader as the drinker's inner thoughts or emotions.

Now you can examine the cup and the patterns of the tea leaves inside.

As a general first impression, just a scattering of leaves inside the cup indicates a tidy mind and disciplined life. A lot of leaves indicates a rich, full, busy life.

Reading the Leaves

The cup is held so that the handle points towards the questioner. The handle represents the questioner and his or her home, and the tea leaves are read in relation to the position of the handle.

The rim of the Cup represents recent events. Leaves lying closer to the bottom of the Cup indicate events that are more distant in time. The very bottom of the Cup represents misfortunes.

Leaves that lie to the right of the handle indicate the future, and leaves to the left of the handle indicate the past.

The further away the leaves lie from the handle, the further away the events are in either time or even physical distance.

First take a quick look inside the cup to see if there are any signs that jump out at you:

  • Any distinct drops of tea or coffee that remain in the cup despite the swirling and emptying of the cup, represent tears.
  • A very large clump of tea leaves indicates trouble. Near the handle - trouble caused by your own making. Opposite the handle - the trouble is not your fault.
  • Tea-stalks indicate people. Long stalks indicate men. Shorter stalks indicate women. Pale or dark stalks indicate colouring. Slanted stalks indicate untrustworthy people.

Most tea leaf readers interpret the patterns that the dark tea leaves make against the light background of the cup. However, some also read the images formed in white (seen on the cup itself), with the dark clumps of tea leaves forming the background.

Please note that the symbols and interpretations commonly used with tasseomancy can be very different from those used in dream interpretation.


The symbols and meanings that follow below can be used as a general guide when doing your readings. However, you may find that certain symbols have a particular meaning for you alone and vary from the meanings given below. Feel free to follow your own instincts when doing readings. Basically, the rule of thumb is, if it works well, then stick with it.



Abbey Freedom from worry.
Ace of Clubs A letter.
Ace of Diamonds A present.
Ace of Hearts Happiness.
Ace of Spades A large building.
Acorn Success At top of cup - Financial success. Middle of cup - Good health. Near bottom of cup - Improvement in health or finances.
Aircraft Sudden journey, not without risk. Possible diappointment. If broken indicates an accident.
Alligator Treachery, an accident.
Anchor Top of cup - success in business and romance. Middle of cup - prosperous voyage. Near bottom of cup - social success. Obsured - anticipate difficulties.
Angel Good news.
Ankle Instability.
Ant Success through perseverance.
Anvil Conscientious effort.
Apple Business achievement.
Arc Ill health, accidents.
Arch Journey abroad, a wedding.
Arrow Bad news.
Axe Difficulites and troubles that will be overcome.

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Baby A series of small worries.
Bag A trap ahead. If open - you can escape; if closed - you will be trapped.
Bagpipes Disappointment.
Ball A person connected with sport, or variable fortunes in your life.
Balloon Short-term troubles.
Barrel A party.
Basin Trouble at home. If broken - serious trouble.
Basket If empty - money worries. If full - a present. If near the handle of cup - a baby. If near the top of cup - possessions. If full of flowers - social success. Surrounded by dots - unexpected money coming your way.

Bat False friends, a journey ending in disappointment.
Bath Disappointment.
Bayonet A minor accident, a spiteful remark.
Beans Poverty.
Bear Facing handle of cup - irrational decisions cause difficulties. Facing away from handle of cup - a journey.
Bed Inertia.
Bee Social success, good news. Near handle of cup - friends gathering. Swarm of bees - success with an audience.
Beehive Prosperity.
Beetle Scandal, a difficult undertaking.
Bell Unexpected news. Near top of cup - promotion. Near bottom of cup - sad news. Two bells - joy. Several bells - a wedding.
Bellows Plans will meet with setbacks.
Bird Good news.
Birdcage Obstacles, quarrels.
Bird's nest Domestic harmoney, love.
Bishop Good luck coming.
Boat Visit from a friend, a safe refuge.
Book Open - expect legal actions, future success. Closed - delays, difficult studies.
Boomerang Treachery, envy.
Boot Achievement, protection from pain. Pointing away from handle of cup - dismissal. Broken - failure.
Bottle One bottle - pleasure. Several bottles - illness.
Bouquet Love and happiness.
Bow (Bow and Arrow) Scandal, gossip.
Box Open - romantic troubles solved. Closed - the lost will be found.
Bracelet Impending marriage.
Branch With leaves - a birth. Without leaves - a disappointment.
Bread Avoid waste.
Bridge An opportunity for success.
Broom small worries disappear, a false friend.
Buckle Disappointments ahead.
Bugle Hard work necessary.
Building A move.
Bull Quarrels, enmity.
Buoy Keep hoping.
Bush New friends, fresh opportunities.
Butterfly Frivolity, fickleness. Surrounded by dots - frittering away money.

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Cab A disappointment.
Cabbage Jealousy causes complications at work.
Cage A proposal.
Camel Useful news.
Candle Help form others, pursuit of knowledge.
Cannon News of a soldier or a government employee.
Cap Trouble ahead - be careful.
Car Good fortune.
Cart Success in business.
Castle Financial gain through marriage, a strong character rising to prominence.
Cat A quarrel, treachery, a false friend.
Cattle Prosperity.
Chain An engagement or wedding.
Chair An unexpected guest. Surrounded by dots - financial improvements.
Cherries A happy love affair.
Chessmen Difficulties ahead.
Chimney Hidden risks.
Church Ceremony, unexpected money.
Cigar New friends.
Circle Success, a wedding. With a dot - a baby. With small lines nearby - efforts hampered.
Claw A hidden enemy.
Clock Avoid delay, think of the future, a recovery from illness.
Clouds Trouble ahead. Surrounded by dots - money trouble ahead.
Clover Prosperity.
Coat A parting, an end of a friendship.
Cockatoo Trouble among friends.
Coffeepot Slight illness.
Coffin Bad news.
Coin Repayment of debts.
Collar Dependence on others for success and happiness.
Column Promotion, success, arrogance.
Comb Deceit, a false friend.
Comet An unexpected visitor.
Compass Travel, a change of job.
Corkscrew Curiosity causing trouble.
Crab An enemy.
Crescent A journey.
Cross Sacrifice, trouble, ill health. Within a square - trouble averted. Two crosses - long life. Three crosses - great achievement.
Crown Honour, success, a wish coming true, a legacy.
Crutches Help from a friend.
Cup Reward for effort.
Curtain A secret.
Cymbal Insincere love.

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Daffodil Great happiness.
Dagger Impetuousness, danger ahead, enemies.
Daisy Happiness in love.
Dancer Disappointment.
Deer A dispute or quarrel.
Desk Letter containing good news.
Devil Evil influences.
Dish Quarrel at home.
Dog Good friends. If running - good news, happy meetings. At bottom of cup - friend in trouble.
Donkey Be patient and optimstic.
Door Strange occurrence.
Dot This symbolises the importance of the nearest symbol. Several dots - money.
Dove Good fortune.
Dragon Unforesen changes, trouble.
Drum Scandal, gossip, a new job, arguments.
Duck Money coming in.
Dustpan Strange news about a friend.

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Eagle A change for the better.
Ear Unexpected news.
Earrings Misunderstanding.
Easel Artistic success.
Egg Prosperity, success - the more eggs the better.
Eggcup Danger is passing.
Elephant Wisdom, strength, lasting success, a trustworthy friend.
Engine News on its way fast.
Envelope Good news.
Eye Overcoming difficulties, take care.

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Face One face - a change, setback. Several faces - a party.
Fairy Joy and enchantment.
Fan Flirtation, indiscretion.
Feather Instability, inconsistency, lack of concentration.
Feet An important decision.
Fence Limitation to activities, minor setbacks, future success.
Fender Beware of a person you dislike.
Fern Disloyalty, an unfaithful lover.
Finger Emphasises the symbol to which it points.
Fir Artistic succes. The higher the tree, the better.
Fire Achievement, avoid hasty over-reactions.
Fireplace Matters related to your home.
Fish Good fortune in all things, health, wealth and happiness.
Fist An argument.
Flag Danger ahead.
Flower Wish coming true.
Fly Domestic irritations. The more flies, the more petty problems.
Font A birth.
Fork A false friend, flattery.
Forked Line Decisions to be made.
Fountain Future success and happiness.
Fox A deceitful friend.
Frog Success through a change of home or job, avoid self-importance.
Fruit Prosperity.

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Gallows Social failure, enemies confounded.
Garden roller Difficulties ahead.
Garland Success, great honour.
Gate Opportunity, future happiness.
Geese Invitations, unexpected visitors.
Giraffe Think before you speak.
Glass Integrity.
Glove A challenge.
Goat Enemies threaten, news about a sailor.
Gondola Romance, travel.
Gramophone Pleasure.
Grapes Happiness.
Grasshopper News of a much travelled friend.
Greyhound Good fortune.
Guitar Happiness in love.
Gun Trouble, quarrels.

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Hammer Overcoming obstacles, ruthlessness, work that is uncongenial.
Hand Friendship.
Handcuffs Trouble ahead.
Hare Timidity, news of a friend.
Harp Harmony in love.
Hat A new occupation, a change. Bent and broken - failure likely. In bottom of cup - a rival. At side of cup - diplomacy.
Hawk Sudden danger, jealousy.
Hayrick Think before you act.
Head New opportunities.
Heart Love and marriage, a trustworthy friend.
Heather Good fortune.
Hen Domestic bliss.
Hill Obstacles, setbacks.
Hoe Hard work leading to success.
Holly An importance occurrence in the winter.
Horn Abundance.
Horse Galloping - good news from a lover. Head only - romance.
Horseshoe Good luck.
Hourglass A decision that must be made.
House Security.

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Iceberg Danger.
Initials Usually those of people known to you. If next to a triangle, the initials of strangers.
Inkpot A letter.
Insect Minor problems soon overcome.
Ivy leaf Reliable friend.

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