A bird's eye image of loose leaf tea brewing in a clear teacup | Reading Tea Leaves | The Tea Centre | Tasseography

Reading Tea Leaves: Guide to Tasseography

Reading tea leaves, ‘tasseography’ or ‘tasseomancy’ dates back to the seventeenth century in alignment with the introduction of tea to Europe, specifically Romani culture. 

The basic idea of tea leaf reading is to interpret the leaves left at the bottom of the cup as symbols with different meanings. If you’re looking to put this divination tool to the test, find out The Tea Centre’s method, meanings, and extra tips below!

The Method

There is a procedure you follow to read your tea leaves! To begin with, you will need a white or clear teacup, some loose leaf tea, and hot water.

  1. Begin by brewing a cup of tea without a strainer or infuser so the tea is floating around the cup.
  2. It’s important to set an intention when brewing the tea! Specifically, silently ask yourself a question that you need guidance on, using the tea leaves as a conduit for divining an answer.
  3. Once your tea has finished brewing, sit back and enjoy!
  4. Upon finishing, shake your teacup well. Then tip your teacup upside down onto your saucer; this will remove any excess liquid left in your teacup.
  5. Tip the teacup back up, position the teacup handle due south, and have a go at reading your tea leaves! To do this, use your intuition and imagination to identify any potential symbols that the tea leaves look like. 
  6. Once you find the symbols, start searching up their meaning online or in tasseography textbooks! We’ve listed some common symbols and their meanings below to get you started.

The Meanings

Here are some examples of symbols and their meanings!

An image of hot water being poured into a teacup with loose leaf tea inside | Reading Tea Leaves | The Tea Centre | Tasseography

Bell: represents unexpected news. If the bell is positioned near the top of the cup, then the news is good!

Fish: is generally thought to mean good fortune.

Box: get excited! Tea readers believe that a box suggests you’re about to receive a gift.

Octopus: a symbol of warning. This is your sign to avoid dodgy people or taking unnecessary risks over the next few days.

Wagon: can you hear the bells? A wagon is thought to represent ‘getting hitched’, meaning you or someone close to you is having a wedding in the near future.

Zebra: grab your passport! A zebra and its stripes are said to mean a trip or long-distance travel is on your horizon. 

There are many more different symbols and meanings available online and in tea leaf reading books.

Tea Reading Tips

Make it an occasion:

Reading tea leaves is a great activity for a high tea or if you have a few friends coming over! Even the most cynical will enjoy the ambience and festivity of a tea leaf reading.

Picking the right tea leaves:

Excluding tea bags, bulky fusions, and herbal tisanes, any tea is fair game in tasseography! If this is your first time reading tea leaves, we recommend orange pekoe black teas like Dhelakhat Assam or Battagalla Ceylon as their dark hue makes these leaves the easiest to read. However, our personal favourite is rolled oolongs like Vietnamese High Oolong or our limited-edition Alishan! Not only are they beautiful to watch unfurl during the brewing process, but oolongs are also forgiving when it comes to steeping. Therefore, you don’t have to rush to drink all your tea before it turns bitter.

Pay attention to the teacup’s handle:

It should always point due south, as this is thought to be the cardinal point where physical and metaphysical energies collide. Tying into astrology (where due South is the fourth house, representing homelife and family), the handle also represents the reader’s environment! Therefore, if tea leaves are positioned near the handle, their meaning is related to your immediate surroundings. If the leaves are opposite to the handle (due north), it indicates external influences or occurrences.

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