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Your fortune in a cup... The art of Turkish coffee cup reading

Old Turkish proverb:

Fal’a inanma, fal’siz kalma - Don’t believe in fortune, don’t live without fortune

Literal meaning: Your mind says, “nonesense”, but your heart says, “what if?” - the intrigue to know the unknown is hard to resist...

On our previous blog posts, we've talked extensively about the intricacy of the Turkish grind and brewing process.

Another most famed feature of Turkish coffee culture is of course the mystery of having a fortune teller read the grinds in your cup and saucer, and transcend you away to the fairy-tale of your future, and all that it holds.

After all, the heart yearns for conversation, coffee is but a mere excuse, right?

The tradition of coffee cup reading is as old as preparing Turkish coffee itself. It has been steeped through history ever since the Arabs developed the process from the ancient Chinese art of tea leaf reading. Today, all forms of fortune reading; cups and glasses (tea leaves, coffee grinds, wine sediments, etc) are neatley wrapped up into what is called Tasseography. You can read more about Tasseography here.

Once the Ottomans got involved with developing coffee culture, coffee cup reading was propelled to new heights, and with the strong black concoction spreading throughout the land, more and more people started realising what fantastic powers they had developed and thus began promoting themselves as soothsayers, psychics and mediums. Naturally, the majority of these coffee cup gazers were imposters and quite blatantly feigning it, but there were also others who were either very lucky or extremely gifted with the sixth sense in being able to extract the truth from the past or accurately predict the future.

Today, Turkish coffee cup reading is a very popular and enjoyable pastime, done more so in a fun and casual way amongst friends. However, if you do look for someone of a more professional nature, then the internet is a great place to start.

Where to have your cup read:

Without any affiliation, I have taken the liberty to suggest a number of Turkish Coffee Cup Reading Professionals who I’m sure will be willing help you find true happiness (job, home, partner, lottery numbers): - We love "Love my Fortune" for more than the fact that they are as passionate as us in spreading the joys of Turkish coffee. They also offer a very personalised fortune telling service via email. So enjoy your coffee (as per my preparation instructions below), take photos of the shapes, email over to them and receive your personal reading, all within an hour for an introductory price of only $4.99. They promise that your cup will be read by the website owner's mother, "Jiju", who is not only a great Turkish Coffee Fortune Teller, but also a well known healer in Turkey. Now, we all know that Turkish coffee readings will only come true if they are read by someone's loveable mother or aunt, right? Love it... - Meryem is located in Bromley, London and has been communicating with the spirit world for over 25 years. She is currently offering a promotional price for a one time Turkish coffee cup reading at £45, at the time of releasing this blog post. - Sasha is located in Essex, England. He has been the resident fortune teller on the Big Brother & Celebrity Big Brother “Bit On The Side” shows. His other claim to fame is appearing on TOWIE and doing fortune reading for Joey Essex. Hence, his coffee cup reading fee is £100. - Deniz is located in New South Wales, Australia. The reason I added Deniz to this list is because he has a lot of fans from down under and also because Deniz can do phone reading, skype reading, email reading and photo & face reading. He charges 170 AUD (approx. £90). Deniz has also been on TV and from his website it is quite clear that he is a hit with the ladies.

The rules of preparation:

There are various methods and traditions on how to prepare the coffee cup, just as there is to the various methods of making Turkish coffee. We’ve gone for the “A-La-TurkishCoffeeClub” approach - we think ours is the best…

  1. Drink your coffee from the same point of the cup from beginning to end and stop when you reach the sediment at the base. Don’t eat the coffee grounds but make sure you don’t leave too much of the liquid either. If you do the residue will be too watery and won’t stick to the sides of the cup.

  2. Place your saucer over the top, so that it is sitting upside down and covering the mouth of the cup.

  3. Hold the cup and saucer at chest level (and quite tightly together). Failure to do this properly may mean your only immediate future will be cleaning a thoroughly stained carpet or sofa.

  4. Rotate the cup and saucer seven times in an anti-clockwise swirling circular motion. Whilst doing so, say the words “Neyse halim, ciksin falim”, pronounced as “Ney-se haa-lim, chik-sin faa-lim”. If you find that difficult to pronounce, then feel free to say it in English, “Whatever is my fate, so it shall be read” - not a direct translation but essentially what we’re saying (plus it rhymes)...

  5. Turn the cup and saucer inwards, towards yourself and upside down, so that the saucer is now at the bottom and the cup is closed over the top.

  6. Place a small coin on top of the base of the cup. This helps to cool the cup quicker and dispel any bad omens lurking inside. It is also thought that gold coins were used back in the day, which doubled up as payment for the fortune-reader’s services.

  7. When the coffee cup is at or just above room temperature, the fortune teller will open the cup, and begin to interpret the coffee grinds that have taken shape.

  8. The fortune teller will now begin the ritual… fingers crossed & good luck (and don’t forget to wear your evil eye for protection).

The reading:

According to beliefs, and as you’d imagine there are plenty, if the cup and saucer are firmly stuck together when the fortune teller tries to lift it, it is believed that that cup should not be read. This is called the “prophet’s reading,” which says “who-eth soevereth hath dranketh thy cupeth, shalleth be-eth luckyeth andeth doth noteth needeth to-eth haveth their-eth fortuneth readeth” (and that’s my effort of writing in “ye olde” speak).

If your cup does separate from the saucer or gets crowbarred apart, then the ritual begins from the point where you had been drinking from the cup (remember rule no. 1 above?). This is used as a point of reference and order of the fortune telling process. The cup is visually split both horizontally and vertically. The shapes in the lower half unveil your past and shapes in the top half foretell your future. The shapes on the right interpret positive meanings, but the shapes on the left are baddies (enemies, illnesses, troubles, etc). If a large chunk of coffee ground falls to the saucer as the cup is picked up, it means that the person for whom the reading is taking place will soon be rid of all trouble and strife. If all your Gods are smiling and if your fortune teller is feeling equally awesome, then your coffee reading session could last for up to an hour. But don’t think that’s it.

There’s still the saucer to look at.

The saucer is interpreted as the home and gives clues about domestic life. The fortune teller will hold the saucer straight and wait for the coffee grounds to flow back into the cup. If there are large blank areas on the saucer where the coffee has not touched, it means that there is a sense of relief that will be experienced in the home. If however the shapes on the saucer are confused and disorderly, this may mean that there will be some negativity within the household that needs to be seen to. At the end of the reading, a skilled fortune teller will flip your saucer once over. If a drop of coffee manages to get behind the saucer (and not onto the carpet or sofa), this is taken as a good sign that your wish will come true.

An important consideration while reading someone’s coffee cup is not to say things that will make a person too happy or too sad. It is common of fortune readers to refuse to interpret a person’s cup. If this happens to you, don’t be disheartened. It’s best to accept the fortune tellers words and think positive thoughts...

So go ahead, enjoy a fine cup of Turkish coffee and take a chance to delve into your past, look into your future and make all your wishes come true.

All that for the price of a cup of coffee - now that’s value for money, wouldn’t you agree?.

Afiyet olsun...

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