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How to divinate on coffee grounds and read tea leaves for beginners.

Posted by Anna-Maria Ninnas on


Tasseonomy is the art of divinating with a cup using tea or coffee. The word 'tass' or 'tasse' in several languages literally means a cup or mug. What you do is drink your hot beverage and interpret the shapes made by the leftover tea leaves or coffee residue. It's a highly accessible and affordable divination craft, as you can buy all you need at any store. In this blog post, I'll show you how you can turn your tea drinking ritual or coffee with friends into divination séance!

Month of Alternative Divination Methods

This topic was voted most for on my Instagram in the Stories poll. My October blog posts have been looking into divination tools outside of Tarot and even Lenormand, as I too update my knowledge and provide you with more ways to practice soul-care. I never tried tasseonomy before in my life, so this was so new and exciting for me! Check out my other posts on:

 

Getting started

You will need a teacup, a saucer, your beverage of choice and something to brew in. Teacups are typically small enough so that the amount of liquid you have to drink is easy, while also being wide enough to give the coffee residue or tea leaves some canvas space. Do not use a glass cup, because seeing the shapes as they form can ruin the ritual. For a teapot, it's best to have a classic one with a spout that connects as close to the pot as possible, no filter. 

The saucer is essential because you will need to tip and drain some excess drops of the drink, and it's aesthetically pleasing! Light or white cups work best as the contrast will help you see shapes better. If you don't have a matching set, that's alright --- but it also might mean it's time to treat yourself to some shopping!

Ground coffee in a French press.

Coffee and how to prepare it

Use ground coffee. It's the kind you would use with a coffee press or boil in a cezve, the Turkish coffee pot. You could also do it in a teapot! Do not use instant coffee, as it will simply dissolve. Ground coffee stays behind. Personally, I just added coffee grounds straight into my cup and added hot water to save resoruces, and let it brew. I can manage this way that it's not too strong but not too watery either. Proportions and brewing is something that comes with practice, but you can always research online how to brew coffee.

If you brewed it in a container, Swirl your teapot, cezve or press to get the grounds off the bottom, then pour your coffee. Don't filter the coffee, and of course, take the top off from the french press. Let the coffee settle on the bottom of the cup for a few minutes,  don't swirl the cup while drinking so you don't end up drinking most of the grounds!

Tea and how to prepare it

Use loose-leaf tea. Teabags won't suit, as the tea inside is nearly powdered and is too small. As mentioned above, the best teapot is a classical ceramic one with a spout that starts as low as possible, so it takes more of the tea leaves with it. Make sure there's no filter in your teapot's spot; otherwise, most of your leaves will stay behind. Swirl the pot before pouring. Don't use teas with flowers, bits of fruits of other impurities in it.

If you don't have a teapot, you could also brew the tea leaves directly in the cup! If you don't have company and are having tea on your own, this way, you'll use only as much as you need. Whether cup or pot, you want to brew it for three to five minutes, primarily to make your leaves soft. 

Loose leaf black tea.

Milk, sugar?

I'm able to enjoy all kinds of teas pure, but with coffee I couldn't help adding a bit sugar and just a bit creamer the first time I tried it. And honestly, once it all drank and dripped, it didn't seem to make a difference. However, if you ever visit Turkey for coffee divination though, prepare to drink pure, strong coffee!

 

The ritual

Start by enjoying your drink! Set your intentions by meditating on what's been going on lately, what your worries are or what you're planning on. If you're having a drink with someone, then even better, voice and discuss these intentions or concerns out loud. Take your time to be mindful, trying not to overthink the reading you're about to do. Rather, be in the moment. 

Even better, if you find yourself drinking tea or coffee during card-reading anyway, you can expand your reading this way! You could use Tarot to see what's happening inside, or Lenormand to see what's happening externally, and then use coffee or tea to divinate the approaching. It's really up to you how you want to delegate which tasks to which tool.

Stop when there's just a little bit of liquid left. Now, swirl the cup a bit to let your divination substance unstick from the bottom. Place your saucer on top of the cup, and turn it all upside down. Your cup is now slowly dripping its remaining moisture onto the saucer. 

The handle of your cup should face you. Slowly, begin to turn the cup on top of the saucer like you're turning a radio button. This might produce a scratching sound. Turn your cup slowly three rotations. I also like the suggestion someone made to tap the bottom of the cup gently three times to signify you're done. Now, flip the cup and look for symbols.

Don't rush the process. The longer you look, the more you will see. Looking from afar is the trick, not up-close. Trust your first impressions. With tea, you're looking for symbols made by the tea leaves. With coffee, you're looking for both shapes made by the grounds, as well as shapes found inside or between the grounds i.e. the white of the cup. Also with coffee grounds, depending how much grounds you used or was left over, you might be looking not just at tiny symbols, huge chunks of shapes!

You can turn the cup around from various angles. Or, you can also divide the cup into different sections, such as 'past, present, future'. Feel free to interpret these symbols based on what these associations mean to you personally or culturally, but you can also search for some meanings online, invest into Tasseonomy books or cheat sheet cards online to browse the tasseonomy dictionary. In my own research, I found it strange that there isn't a site or app for collecting tasseonomy symbol meanings. Maybe we should look into that!

Comment below if you have any questions, follow up suggestions, or whether you found this guide helpful. It was fun to research and try these new things out, and I hope I sparked your curiosity to go out there and study the many divination methods out there.

Enjoy your drink!

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