How To Read Tea Leaves

Reading tea leaves is an old tradition. Fortune tellers on several continents have practiced this art of divination. With a few simple steps, you, too, can interpret the images left in your cup after a soothing cup of tea.

White cup and saucer
Loose tea
Hot water

  1. Prepare to ask a question. It is best if the person seeking answers does not read her own tea leaves, so try this with a friend. The person seeking guidance should clear her mind of all superfluous thoughts.
  2. Prepare the tea. Place a small teaspoon of loose tea into the white cup. Pour hot water over the tea to fill the cup.
  3. Allow the tea to steep. The person asking the question should hold the tea cup in both hands while it steeps. Make sure to think of the question while inhaling the aroma of the steeping tea.
  4. When the tea cools, drink it. The tea should be sipped once the temperature is warm, not hot. As you sip, be sure to continue to keep your mind on your question. Also be sure not to drink the tea leaves, and leave a small amount of water left in the cup when you are done. Drinking the tea relaxes the petitioner and helps to focus your mind on the answers you seek. Once done, hand the tea cup to the reader.
  5. Swirl the tea. The person who will read or interpret the tea leaves should swirl the remaining water and tea leaves for a few seconds.
  6. Drain the remaining water. Place the napkin onto the saucer then turn the tea cup upside down onto the napkin. This allows the remaining water to drain out and the tea leaves to stick to the inside of the cup.
  7. Turn the cup over and view the designs. The tea leaves will remain in the cup stuck to the sides and bottom. These loose pieces will form symbols of number, letters, animals, geometric shapes and figures.
  8. Interpret the symbols. The reader should view the cup, turning it to see the symbols from all sides before making the interpretation. Using a book of basic knowledge or your own intuition, identify the symbols and then interpret them. For easier interpretation of the symbols in your teacup consider reading on of the following reference books:
  • Tea Cup Reading: A Quick and Easy Guide to Tasseography by Sasha Fenton
  • Cup of Fortune: A Guide to Tea Leaf Reading by Marjorie A. Fontana
  • Telling Fortunes by Tea Leaves by Cicely Kent

    Or purchase tea cups especially designed for easy reading. A trip to a new age or mystical shop should yield a variety of cups available with common symbols or even zodiac symbols to aid your interpretation of the tea leaves.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles:



I like this article. I've read it a couple times and have now decided to go look for more information. Wouldn't this be a fun thing to impress family and friends with at a party? Thanks for piquing my interest.

By Marion Cornett

Interesting. Will try this.

By Mary Norton