Tasseography, Tasseomancy, or Tassology is more than mysticism behind fortune-telling based on patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds or wine sediments. For some it has become a science, for me, a reason to document many of the Undrinkable Coffee Rests I drink throughout the day – at home, in Cafés, in glasses and cups, mostly coffee but sometimes tea.
In Great Britain there is a great number of individuals practicing and writing about this topic. The meanings and aesthetics of it have been taken to the level of even designing pottery around the end of the 19th Century based on forms and patterns found in readings. While in Great Britain Fortune telling has mostly focused on tea rests, in Turkey the traditional coffee preparation – mocha – has provided very adequate material to read from. Those reading coffee use traditionally the mocha preparation but any type preparation leaving grinds at the bottom of the cup will do.
A classical but simplified aspect of coffee readings is that the uncovered (white) parts of the cup foretell good, while the forms made by the grounds (dark) foretold the bad/evil). Among the symbols, what prevails are objects, animals and people, each symbolizing particular things, based on fortune-telling traditions or beliefs. Generally the readings are made after the grounds have dried out and the cup is facing the person who drank it.
On this page you see a selection of my “Undrinkable Coffee Rests” (unless otherwise noted) since the summer of 2007. According to place of residence, quotidian rhythm and state of mind, I drink an average of two cups of coffee/tea per day. None of these go unnoticed and many are photo-documented. Starting with a Sony Ericsson P990i, later with a Leica D-Lux 4, lately I use an iPhone 7, and a Sigma DP2 Merrill.
Being that knowledge and joy are key, I gladly include this short information about the science of reading coffee grounds but my main interest is the esthetics and the playfulness with these unpredictable results.
If you wish to play with this matter a bit, this list more by looking into the symbols at the bottom of your own coffee cup may surprise you. Compare what you find in your cup with the symbolism behind these forms.