Tea Leaf Readings: How They Work

Basics of Tea Leaf Readings

There are many effective techniques to discern our paths using our natural spiritual links to the greater universe. One such technique, which is known as tasseography, uses tea leaves, wine sediments, or coffee grounds to divine the future.

This type of psychic reading goes back hundreds of years, and there’s an amazing amount of prescience in this form of fortune telling.

As mentioned, tea leaf reading goes far back. The first instances of Western tasseography go as far back as medieval Europe where the practice was used by fortune tellers throughout the continent. As time progressed, this type of reading spread to Asia and the Middle east where coffee grounds started to be used for the technique.

As time progressed, special tea cups were developed for the reading technique that had elaborate designs and guides that would aid in the reading technique.

How it Works

First, it’s important to throw a pinch of tea leaves into a cup. The type of tea leaves used varies from culture to culture and from practitioner to practitioner. Boiling hot water is then poured on top of the leaves and the tea is left to steep for a few minutes. The tea is then either drunk or poured away if the person getting the reading prefers not to drink it.

Once only the tea leaves are left, the person doing the divination, who is often called the tassologist is then left to interpret the shaping of the tea leave’s patterns. To do this, they must take the cup by the handle in their left hand with the rim facing upwards. Then, the tassologist must move the cup in a circular pattern for three consecutive revolutions so that a pattern will form in the leaves.

Each part of the cup that houses the tea leaves means something to the reading. First, there’s the rim; this part of the cup represents the present. The sides of the cup represent that near future, which could be indicative of things that could happen to you in the same day. The bottom of the cup, on the other hand, represents the far future. It’s in this part of the cup that many sitters seek the most guidance.

Truly understanding the patterns that arise in tasseography takes years of practice and expertise, so it’s best left to those who have an understanding of it and who also understand the world of the spiritual. Once the fortune is ready to be read, the sitter, the person getting the reading, must focus on the symbol so that the reader can get an accurate divination of things to come.

Once the reading is being divined, it can take several minutes for the tassologist to find an answer to the sitter’s questions, so it’s important that all involved are patient. The tassologist will have to view the leaves from different angles in order to truly see the truth that the leaves are trying to impart. As a general rule, the more examination is done on the leaves, the more truth that they will have to give to the reader.

Sometimes the leaves will form shapes that are indicative of some truth and sometimes they will even form letters, like an “L” for love.


Here is a quick list of some of the symbols that can appear in a tea leaf reading:

Anchor – This is a symbol that indicates luck. The part of the cup it appears in will tell you if you have a lucky streak going currently, in the near future, or in the distant future. This symbol can mean either professional or love luck.
Owl – While this bird is often associated with wisdom, in tasseography, it is actually associated with sickness and poverty. If this is the divined symbol, don’t start any new business ventures.
Elephant – This symbol means good luck and health.
Triangles – This symbol means good financial luck. When you see this, consider a new investment.
Birds – Flying birds mean that luck is coming from the direction that the birds are flying from. This means a fortunate journey is coming.

How Coffee Reading Differs

Using coffee grounds rather than tea leaves, as you might expect, differs somewhat. Since standard coffee grounds will not have quite the same patterning as tea leaves, many of those who practice tasseography will use Turkish coffee to divine. Since this coffee has a tendency to leave more grounds at the bottom, it’s considered the best coffee for ground reading.