Fortune Telling from Turkish Coffee Grounds

I don’t believe in fortune tellers and horoscopes. I believe in serendipitous moments in which the right person says the exact thing you need to hear at exactly the time in which you needed to hear it. Throw in a beautiful embroidered tablecloth, ornate copper tea cup-holders, and the smell of Turkish coffee mingling with sweet cigarette smoke – for a moment I can believe in destiny and psychics and magic. I mean this in the least “Orientalism” way possible.


Traditionally, one finishes sipping the coffee, leaving the bitter grounds congealed at the bottom of the cup. You cap the saucer on top of the tea cup, grip the two together while rotating it in front of your body clockwise three times, and then flip (always away from your body) the cup-saucer upside down. If you want to know about your financial success, place a coin on top of the upside down cup. If you want to know about your love life, place a ring on top. Introspect about life and make a wish as you wait about five minutes for the cup to completely cool down. Turn it over to your lovely Turkish friend who will proceed to read your future.

I’m not going to lie to you guys – I wished for love. Self-love, romantic love, familial love, I don’t know what, I just wanted love. Perhaps because I had just watched Moulin Rouge on the plane a la “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” Filiz lifted my upside down cup off the saucer and a plop of coffee grounds spread out cleanly in one mass.

“Oh! That’s really good! That means whatever the fortune is, it will happen surely and definitively.”

She then peered into my cup and my fortune began – “I see a big cloud. This means that there’s something in your life that’s weighing you down, you’re obsessing over it and it’s holding you back. There’s a bright star, that’s good. Your future is very bright but whatever the cloud is in your life, you need to overcome it. I see a whale…but I’m not quite sure what that means. There looks like you’re having trouble at your work. Sometimes at work it seems like there’s too much for you to handle but don’t worry it will all be fine in the end so do not be overwhelmed. Oh! I see a big romance and love coming soon for you.”

The final step is to tilt the contents left on the saucer back into the cup and read the drippings while holding the saucer vertically. Most of the time, they’re confirmations and predications of the timing for what was read in the grounds.

“You’re fortune is going to come true during the dark of the moon. Be alert for love then!”

Look, I know this is irrational and just for fun. But I looked up the next “dark of the moon.”


It’s set for September 24th. I also looked up whale symbols in coffee readings and found that it signifies a very big accomplishment especially in your career. And you know what? I have been obsessing over past relationships. I have let it affect me even now when I should be completely free to explore the world, to make decisions about my future selfishly and with greed. Nothing will hold me back anymore from traveling the world a thousand times over. And balancing work with language classes with scholarship applications has been taking its toll on me this month. I needed that reassurance that everything will and always will be fine. Nothing new was really learned I guess but it helps.

Though if on Sept. 24th I fall in love at first sight at some art exhibition in Paris… we’ll see.


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