Any Harry Potter enthusiast or fan of the mystical has heard of the intuitive powers of tea leaves. The belief is that drinking a cup of tea with loose leaves in it will lead to a cup that tells your fortune. Leaf formations at the bottom of the empty cup could provide clues to your future. While we aren’t sure we believe in the validity of these fortunes (especially given our lack of skill!), we thought we’d give this whimsical practice a try. Follow our steps, and you can learn to read tea leaves, too!
Prepare the Tea Leaves
In order to read your leaves, you’re going to need leaves! Pick out your favorite loose leaf tea, take a pinch of leaves, and sprinkle them in a teacup with a handle. We suggest avoiding blends or oddly shaped leaves for this exercise. That means Jasmine Pearls, Silver Needle, and Alishan Oolong aren’t your best bet for this activity. Follow the brewing instructions for your tea and then drink the entire cup, leaving only a tiny bit of tea and the leaves in the bottom of the cup.
Set Up the Reading
Next, take the handle of your teacup with your right hand and swirl the contents of the cup to the left (counterclockwise) three times. Grab a saucer or small plate and invert the teacup so that it lies flat, upside-down on the plate. We recommend putting the plate over the opening of the teacup before inverting your cup. Things will be a lot less messy! Be sure to let the handle of your cup point at you. After all, you’re the one looking for answers.
Read Your Fortune
Start looking for shapes. Common shapes in tea leaves include L-shapes, Anchors, Hearts, and Palm Trees. You’ll notice that some shapes are larger and less identifiable than others. Large clumps could represent troubled times in the future. Placement of the leaves is relevant, too. Treat your shapes like a timeline. An object at the top of your plate is chronologically close to you, while a shape at the bottom of your plate could be further off in the distant. For even more insight on reading your tea leaves to create a cohesive prediction, check out Tea Association of the USA’s guide to tea leaf readings.
A Few Tips
Use a lightly colored teacup. It’ll be difficult to read your leaves if your teacup is dark or has busy patterns on the interior. Eisai’s Choice Sencha is a great tea to use for readings. The density of the green tea leaves keeps you from ingesting a mouthful of leaves with every sip and the leaves will fall nicely into shapes when wet. We also suggest using slightly cooler water temperatures as to not burn your leaves or, more importantly, your tongue!
You can get a full guide to tea leaf shapes from WikiHow. From Acorns to Wheels, this guide will cover every shape that manifests itself on your saucer. And, of course, have fun with your reading. We’re not clairvoyant and we suspect you aren’t either, so having fun with your reading might be more important than accuracy.