How To Read Turkish Coffee Grounds?

Turkish coffee is a popular drink in Turkey and many countries in Asia and Europe. There are several features that set this special beverage apart from other varieties. These include the use of an ibrik or cezve when brewing, the grind of coffee beans, and the foam produced.

Apart from the strong taste and robust flavour, Turkish coffee is also a part of the culture. Many drinkers enjoy cup reading, which is a very popular way of fortune telling in Turkey and the Middle East. So, if you are interested in this interesting activity, read on to learn how to read Turkish coffee grounds.

Overview of tasseography and Turkish coffee reading

In a world full of uncertainty, people have been trying to answer numerous questions from imaginable sources like the moon, the stars, their selves, and more. This resulted in science, astrology, theology, and tasseography – the practice of reading leftover tea leaves or coffee grounds at the bottom of a cup to tell fortunes.

The reading of Turkish coffee grounds is the most popular form of tasseography. Since it is not strained, a dark and muddy sediment is left after the coffee is drunk. With a set of rules, you can read the patterns to tell the past or future of the drinker.

Today, this practice is very common and became a daily life in many parts of Europe, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.

Reading rules and tips

It requires intuition, experience, and symbol knowledge to read Turkish coffee reading. However, everyone would try it at home to have fun and experience a unique cultural feature.

Coffee reading is all about interpreting the patterns in the cup and telling your past or future. Practising regularly would allow you to notice more symbols and their meanings. Below are several basic rules to know before starting:

  • Do not interpret your own coffee cup unless you want to practice or learn the meaning of symbols
  • Always start from the handle of the cup. If you are left-handed, move from left to right and vice versa
  • Do not give the same coffee cup to other readers to double check the meaning
  • Have a wish or question in mind before sipping the coffee

Reading preparation

how to read Turkish coffee grounds

Turkish coffee reading starts with cup preparation. You want to see readable patterns and shapes rather than a bunch of messy grounds.

Step 1:

After brewing, sip your Turkish coffee slowly on the same side of the cup. Leave one or two last sips so that the grounds can be loose during the swirling process.

Step 2:

Make a wish after the last sip. This is a very important part of reading Turkish coffee grounds because the reader will later tell you whether the wish would come true.

Step 3:

Cover the cup with the saucer and make sure it is sealed closely

Step 4:

Hold the cup and saucer in front of your body, around chest level

Step 5:

Make three circles in a horizontal and clockwise direction. The main goal is to move the coffee grounds around so that they can spread evenly inside the cup.

Step 6:

Flip the cup quickly to bring the grounds down to the saucer, thus creating some typical patterns for reading

Step 7:

Now the cup is given to the reader. Wait around 10 minutes until the grounds are completely cool and drained. Place a ring on the back of the cup if you want to know about relationships, and a coin if you want to learn about money.

Step 8:

Now the reader will gently separate the saucer from the cup to show the excess grounds. The shapes and patterns inside the saucer and cup will carry some meanings that can be interpreted with a set of rules

Cup division in reading Turkish coffee grounds

There are many factors that determine the meanings of coffee grounds. These include the symbol size, colour, and distribution inside the cup. Additionally, an important part is to look for the negative and positive signs. This means the reader will pay attention to the location in which symbols show up.

Depending on preferences, there are different methods. Below are 3 common approaches:

5-section approach

Divide the cup into 5 parts, starting in the middle area: left section for the present, right section for the future, bottom section for family and home, front rim section for wealth, and handle section for love and life events

4-section approach

From the handle, imagine one vertical line and one horizontal line that divide the cup into 4 parts: right-vertical line for positive matters, left-vertical line for negative matters, down-horizontal line for far future, and up-horizontal line for near future

3-horizontal approach

Divide the cup into 3 sections: top for the future, middle for the present, and bottom for the mast

Decode common symbols in Turkish coffee reading

how to read Turkish coffee grounds

In general, professional readers often divided the reading of Turkish coffee into 2 parts:

  • The saucer represents your home and explains your love or private life
  • The cup represents out-of-home activities, such as investments, work, or business

In coffee ground reading, symbols are basically shapes or patterns with different meanings. They are not clear illustrations or pictures. This means you must use your imagination and vision to bring out the insights.

Therefore, different readers can explain the same cup in different ways. But some symbols are widely accepted by interpreters around the world.

Some symbols are self-explanatory. For instance, a ring represents marriage, a purse represent money, and a heart represents love. Below is a list of common symptoms in coffee reading and their meaning:

  • Dog: friendship
  • Cat: bad friendship or argument
  • Devil: bad news or danger
  • Angel: good news or protection
  • Fish: career success
  • Nest: pregnancy
  • Flower: happiness
  • Mountain: trouble
  • Crow or raven: bad news
  • Bird: good news
  • Flag: danger at business or home
  • Square: new home or happy marriage

The key to becoming a good reader is to have good intuition. In addition, it is important to have a wide knowledge of symbol meanings. The logical links between the symbols and surroundings are essential in interpreting the coffee grounds.

That is not to say each person has their own style and technique. Some practitioners can read the patterns more figuratively, while others read them more literally.

This short clip will show you more about Turkish coffee reading:


With a long history, reading Turkish coffee grounds can be a ritual for those who love this special drink. It can make your drinking experience more varied and interesting. So, brew up some rich, thick Turkish coffee full of caffeine, invite some friends, and give it a go! A small secret: it can be a perfect excuse to enjoy more coffee.



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