The Art of Divination: learn how to predict the future with coffee grounds

Are you fascinated by the art of divination?

In my early 20s, my roommate had the bright idea of getting a Turkish coffee reading at a trendy cafe in Istanbul. Bubbling with curiosity, I was on board.

At the bustling cafe in the heart of Taksim, we waited as loads of women received readings. Between sips of bitter sweet coffee, I watched the young women as the falci, or fortune teller, read their coffee grounds. Most were looking for love. When will I get married? How many children will I have?

Then it was my turn. The fortune teller hypnotically gazed at the patterns in the dried out grounds with his piercing green eyes. In broken English, he predicted my future with nearly flawless accuracy. He predicted that I would live in a French speaking country, but not France (I currently live in Lausanne, Switzerland). And he predicted the birth of my two children (I currently have one girl).

Known as “kahve fal” in Turkish, the art of divination by reading coffee grounds is practiced in the Levant, Balkans and Caucasus regions. Following the arrival of coffee from Ethiopia in the 14th century or perhaps earlier, coffee drinking spread throughout the Middle East and North African coast. Some say that the Sufis, a mystical sect of Islam, spread the practice. Avid coffee drinkers, Sufis drank the bitter beverage to stay awake during long ceremonies.

Coffeehouses eventually sprout up across Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire. The 17th century Ottoman chronicler Ibrahim Peçevi described coffeehouses as, “meeting places of a circle of pleasure seekers and idlers… they used to meet in groups of about 20 or 30. Some read books and fine writings, some were busy with backgammon and chess; some brought new poems and talked of literature.”

Street cafe in Istanbul, Turkey, circa 1900’s

So, are you ready to gaze into the future? Learn how to read coffee grounds like a falci.

What You Need

  • Mocha powder coffee
  • Sugar
  • Mocha cooker
  • Coffee cups
  • Saucers

How To Read Coffee Cups

1 – Set the Mood

Invite your friends or coven over. I’m not one for rules, but traditionally you aren’t supposed to read for yourself. Hence, this is going to be a coffee reading party.

Before they arrive, set the mood by decorating the space with candles, crystals, oriental lamps, pillows, and perhaps an evil eye talisman.

turkish coffee reading

2 – Prepare the Coffee

Fill the mocha kettle with enough water for one cup of coffee. Then add a teaspoon of mocha. You may prepare the coffee with “sade” (no sugar), “az” (little sugar), “orta” (medium sugar), or “sekerli” (sweet), as you prefer.

With the stove on low heat, mix well as you bring the coffee to a boil. Take the mocha off the stove when it starts to foam. Next, pour the coffee into the cup.

3 – Drink your coffee

As you drink the rich cup of coffee, set an intention for the reading. What do you hope to learn?

After nearly finishing your coffee, notice the grounds at the bottom of the cup. Next, take the saucer and gently seal it atop the cup. Swirl the cup and saucer clockwise three times, allowing some of the grounds to swish up the sides of the cup. Then firmly flip them toward you.

4 – Read the grounds

After waiting about 5 minutes for the grounds to dry, soften your gaze and notice the shapes in the grounds. Shapes at the bottom of your cup are further in the future. Symbols around the rim of the cup may happen soon. After the main reading, you can also read the saucer.

Coffee Ground Symbols

Source for Symbols: Sage Goddess’s Soul Shift program

What insights did you receive in the cup? Share in the comments!

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Photos by Kate Molchanova on Creative Market and murotelli, Alim Yakubov and istanbulphotos on Shutterstock

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