Your Future in a Turkish Coffee Cup

This year I went to Turkey, visiting the towns of Istanbul, Canakkale, Izmir, Pamukkale and Kusadasi. Think shisha, mosques, bazaars and Turkish Coffee. 

The Pamukkale Pools

One of the things on my bucket list was to have an authentic ‘coffee cup reading’ after I stumbled across them by chance. I had never heard about them until a lady at my gym started to do them for a few people. I was immediately intrigued by this centuries-old tradition.

The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul.

I’ve had my palm read in Hong Kong. I’ve even had a ‘white witch’ lay out all my future for me in Indonesia. And I must confess, occasionally I do enjoy the guilty pleasure of reading my horoscope. But deep down, I never really took any of it that seriously.

Turkish coffee is a thick liquid with a very strong and even tangy taste. After drinking, the coffee grounds are left at the bottom of the cup and left to settle.

I didn’t know the lady at the gym before she read my coffee cup. But I still had my doubts. It was possible that she had profiled me as a young adult who was bound to have boy and friend issues. Maybe she had even taken the liberty to stalk me on social media…

But everything she said made sense, maybe even too much sense. She could identify people in my life by the first letter of their name. She knew about my travel plans and even told me when I would see certain people again.

Türkischer Kaffee
Photo credit: Nico Kaiser 

So when I planned my trip to Turkey I was determined to find someone to read my coffee cup. (As a kind of test).

In Istanbul I enquired about the best coffee shops to have it done, but my tour guide said to wait until we were out of Istanbul as he knew ‘the perfect person’. Somewhere between Canakkale and Izmir, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was modest to say the least. It was in the middle of nowhere, just off the highway we had been driving along.

My tour guide introduced me to the man who would do my coffee cup reading – a big bearded, but gentle Turkish man who didn’t speak a word of English. I was instructed to drink my coffee alongside my lunch (a pita pizza) and then turn the cup upside down to let it dry.

If I was worried about the lady knowing too much about me in the first reading, then I had eliminated this variable. This man had no idea where I came from. It wasn’t possible that he could have known anything about me. We were from completely different cultures and lived on opposite sides of the world!

My tour guide Ahmed translated while we sat at a small table and the restaurant owner inspected my cup. He started off by talking about my parents and hit the nail on the head by describing them as very attached to me but slowly giving me more freedom. He knew that I had a new boyfriend – someone I had previously known but was now in my life. He said that this guy had a long neck and face (which he does) and that he likes to wear hats (we have a joke about the hat he was wearing when we met). He even knew about my career dilemmas – doing what my parents want me to do versus pursuing my more creative side. He even offered advice by saying that I should try and merge the two paths together.

turkish coffee
Photo Credit: Kahve Fali

I guess the main question is whether you should believe something which seems so mystic. Do you just believe it because you want to? Or is there some truth to it?

I think that I’ll always be a bit skeptical… but it can’t hurt to have it done. If anything it’s an interesting glimpse into the future and a way of experiencing something outside of your own culture.



  1. I’ve heard of tea leaves telling fortunes, but never coffee. I’m a sceptic but I’d love to have it done just to see – and I love strong coffee so even if the fortune isn’t true, the event will have been worth it!

    Thank you for following Indifferent Ignorance too. 🙂

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