How To Read The Tea Leaves In Your Cup Like A Fortune Teller Can

Ian Parkin is the author of this post.

In this beginners guide to reading tea leaves you will learn a method of fortune telling by interpreting the shapes and symbols remaining in your cup after drinking a brew of loose-leaf tea.

For the purpose showing you this technique, I will refer only to tea. But very similar divinatory messages can be found in the leftover grinds of coffee (especially Turkish Coffee) as well as leftover sediment in wine glasses.

What is tea leaf reading?

  • Reading tea leaves is an ancient practice, and within the right intuitive hands, the simple dregs of a tea or coffee cup can become an intriguing fortune telling oracle. The reading of the tea leaves has been traditionally called tasseography and tasseomancy (tasse is the French word for cup and -graphy means a 'representation of' and -mancy means 'divination of').

As with most divinatory oracles nowadays, there are two differing methods. Psychic and not psychic!

Real psychic readers of the tea leaves, any perceived symbols will be intuitively deciphered. In an oracle based reading or divination of the tea leaves, every specific meaning of the symbols is referred to through a list in a book, memorized, and then regurgitated verbatim.

Whichever way you want to learn, this guide to reading tea leaves can be fun and fascinating. Perhaps a combination of both ways may work well for you. For example, a musical symbol means good luck is coming. Combining the traditional meaning with imagination and your intuition will help weave a predictive story that only you will see in the cup.

Your Guide To Reading The Tea Leaves

The Psychic Junkie Guide To Reading Tea Leaves

The Tea Cup | The Teas | The Brew | The Atmosphere | The Reading

Choose The Right Teacup For You

Approach finding the right teacup the same way that you would any other special divination tool. If you plan to read for a group, you may find a whole setting of cups that would be appropriate. You should choose a wide cup with a shallow bottom, and sides that gently slope. Since the inside of the cup is going to be your canvas for psychic symbols, when you need to find cups that are white or lightly-colored on the inside. You cannot learn Tasseomancy properly if the cup is clear or has designs on the interior. Coffee mugs and taller cups also should be avoided.

You don’t have to go out and buy an expensive tea set. If the ones you currently have fit the criteria, they will do just fine. There are some gifted families who pass down tea-reading cups from generation to generation. Some psychics say that certain teacups just “feel right” to them. Trust your intuition when you choose your own divination cup

Which Tea For Me?

Make sure you use loose leaf tea, not teabags. If your experience with brewing tea involves dipping a tea bag by its string into a cup of hot water, do not feel bad. Now you’re going to learn the art of tea leaf readings you will be introduced to the fascinating world of loose leaf tea. Most grocery stores sell different blends of this kind of tea. Common blends are green and black tea such as oolong or gun powder teas.

While learning Tasseomancy you may as well treat yourself to heavenly bliss and visit a tea shop and peruse their proprietary blends of herbs and tea. Find a scent that you love and buy a few ounces. Certain names and scents may resonate with your inner awareness. Just because a certain tea has a big price tag per ounce does not mean it will give clearer messages. Simply buy a tea that you love.

The Process of Brewing

There are many books and websites that are dedicated to the “proper” way to brew tea. The Japanese have perfected it into an art form. Some traditional methods require you to use two different teapots. Feel free to do some research to find a method that fits your needs best.

For a simple method, measure a couple tablespoons of tea for each cup into your pot and pour hot water over it. Let it steep for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally with a teaspoon. And remember not to use a strainer when pouring. Provide lemon, cream, sugar, or honey for your guests to add to their tea. It will not affect the tea leaves reading at all. What if a guest does not like tea? Simply put a teaspoon of tea leaves and splash of hot water in their cup for reading purposes.

Creating the Right Atmosphere

Yesterday’s Victorian parlours were not saturated with the technical interference that today’s living rooms have. When you plan to do any kind of divination you want to set the mood. A calm space that’s quiet, comfortable, and free from distractions is a great place to begin. That means that all technology (televisions, computers, phones etc) need to be turned off. Electricity and other kinds of energy can cause disturbances in the spiritual realm.

It does not have to be an elaborate tea with scones and Cornish cream (unless you want it). Just set a nice table with tea and a plate of tempting sweets. Another wise step is to ask for your guardian spirits and angels to be with you and to encircle the assembled company with love and light.

How To Read Tea Leaves

How To Read Tea Leaves

To do a reading for a friend, you should do it from the cup they drank their tea. The important thing is to have fun! This should not have the sombre atmosphere of a funeral. Yes, we need to be respectful when dealing with divination and the spirit world; however, it can still be done with freedom and joy.

Your guests will be able to drink the tea as they please. When they are finished, ask each guest to leave at least a teaspoon of liquid with the leaves at the bottom of their cup. Each guest can get a reading one at a time.

These are the necessary steps for reading tea leaves:

  • Ask the guest to close the eyes and think of a question about a problem he/she is facing.

  • Picking the teacup in their left hand, they should gently swish the contents around three times (a mystical number).

  • Next, the guest should gently invert the cup onto its saucer. Have a few napkins ready if there is a little overflow of liquid.

  • Ask your sitter to swirl the cup three times in rotation to the left in the saucer with the left hand.

  • The guest should put the left hand on top of the cup and meditate on their questions for seven seconds (7 represents divinity).

  • As the tea leaf reader, you will turn the cup over, making sure the handle faces the guest.

  • Keep in mind that divining the meaning of tea leaves is completely subjective to the intuition of the reader.

There are some traditional ways in learning Tasseomancy - When looking for messages in the leaves refer to their position in the cup:


  • Consider the different parts of the teacup as a divination tool. The handle of the cup (turned toward the guest) represents him/her, his/her family, and home life. It’s the sitter's “domain”.

    Leaves in this domain refer to your sitter and events happening in this home. Strangers and events happening far away from their home are represented by leaves on the opposite side of the cup.

  • In the depth of the cup, leaf patterns that are closest to the domain can also represent immediate family and close friends. The middle portion of the cup may also represent people they know on a surface level. The third section is complete strangers and outside influences.


  • The cup rim can signify the near future, halfway down the cup can signify events during the next few months and leaves closer to the bottom can indicate the distant future. These vertical signifiers can also relate to joys and contentment being near the rim of the cup; worries and sadness near the bottom.

  • Past, Present and Future? Symbols to the left of the handle are influences of the past. Those that are in line with the domain are present situations, while symbols to the right are future influences.

  • You may also consider the depth of the cup as a 6-month timeline. The closer the sign is to the top of the domain, the closer they are in time. Closer things may also be seen as more pressing matters.

Divination Tea Leaf Reading Symbols

  • Look for patterns in the leaves - as if you were seeing formations in the clouds. It is really up to you as the reader to discern the significance of these symbols. Perhaps you see the shape of a tree, and you may intuit either spiritual or financial growth in the guest’s life. Tiny drops of leftover water may represent hurts from the past, or even the omen of obstacles in the future.

  • There are plenty of books that will provide general meanings to the symbols your tea leaves take. Do you see a bird? That's lucky. How about an Angel? Good news is on the way. But for best results, use your own intuition first. Try to search for a shape, what comes to your mind? As you continue to think about that shape take a few moments to let a thought drop into your mind as to its meaning. Relax with this, you are starting to release your psychic ability.

As with any tool of divination it becomes clearer as you continue to practice and the more psychically tuned you will become. Tasseomancy is a helpful tool and is not meant to dictate the choices you make. We are all free-willed agents who are ultimately in charge of our own destinies.

Tasseomancy Lore

  • A few drops of tea, lingering in the empty cup can symbolize tears.

  • It is said only intuitive people request readings. They will hear good news. If you are compelled to read for someone, a warning of bad or sad news is contained in the tea leaves.

  • Stalks represent people, often strangers. Long, firm stalks exemplify men; short, thin stalks symbolize women. Slanted stalks show untrustworthy people.

  • Dots always imply money.
Tea Leaf Reading Cards

Tea Leaf Reading Cards

  • Reading tea leaves is an ancient skill that can be easily mastered with the help of these cards. Learn all about the different zones of the teacup, common symbols and their meanings to find out what your future is!

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Fortune Teller - Teacup and Saucer

Fortune Teller - Teacup and Saucer 

  • This amazing teacup and saucer is perfect for a person with a love of something mystical. Featuring a variety of fortune telling and astrological symbols, the white cup has the text 'Mysterious things I see when I tell fortunes in tea' and a contrasting black saucer. It also come with a handy guide to tea reading that is perfect for a complete beginner. Not dishwasher or microwave safe, new bone china. Dimensions - 8 x 18 x 18cm

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Reading the Leaves: An Intuitive Guide to the Ancient Art and Modern Magic of Tea Leaf Divination

Reading the Leaves: An Intuitive Guide to the Ancient Art and Modern Magic of Tea Leaf Divination by Sandra Mariah Wright and Leanne Marrama

  • Whether you’re wondering about career, finances, matters of the heart, or health, Salem witches Sandra Mariah Wright and Leanne Marrama are here to help build your intuitive skills and transform your life. Reading the Leaves shows you how to brew a cup of tea for divination purposes, interpret more than 200 time-tested symbols that are most likely to show up, such as hearts and anchors, and what their size, location, and relationship to other shapes mean, set an intention, create a regular tea ritual, keep a tea leaf reading journal, do a reading for family and friends, make their favorite tea time recipes, and respond when a "bad" symbol shows up. - You already possess the tools, and both Wright and Marrama recommend this true journey of self-discovery. Wright says you don't have to be a witch to find your inner magic

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Your Comments About Reading Tea Leaves

Coffee Cup Reading is Also Tasseomancy

Coffee Cup Reading is Also Called Tasseomancy - by Marie (London UK)

Coffee Readings are psychic readings done by using a cup of coffee as though it's a crystal ball. Ground Turkish coffee is mostly used when cup readings are done. The residue is left at the bottom of the cup after the coffee is drunk. The cup is then covered with the saucer and turned over (upside down) onto the saucer and left to dry. When I learned Tasseomancy, and then with coffee grounds, it was the patterns formed on the inside of the cup trigger psychic insight and are interpreted according to what they mean to the seer.

For the reading to be meaningful and accurate, sip your coffee while relaxing, sort of in a contemplative mode. My experience showed me that the intention, or the emotional and mental state, of the drinker affects how the coffee grains take shape. If a coffee cup is drunk in a hurry, without the intention of having it read, or while not in a relaxed state, it can’t be read. The grains do not appear to form any meaningful patterns- merely chaotic brown dots in a cup! This is probably true for any form of divination, if your focus or intention is not present, the medium used will not provide a useful insight into the future.

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