A Tempest in a Coffee Cup Turkish Coffee Traditions

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A Tempest in a Coffee Cup Turkish Coffee Traditions

We’ve all heard of reading tea leaves, but did you know that reading fortunes from coffee grinds is just as popular, if not more so, in certain parts of the world? Reading tea leaves and coffee grinds has ancient origins, and both types of fortune-telling are an art form. Before we delve into the specifics of finding out your future from your coffee cup though, let’s take a look at a brief history of Turkish coffee the way it began; as a delicious beverage.Coffee in any form is not a simple endeavor. Many components are involved in its creation; the type of beans one uses, the grinding method, how finely the beans are ground, the water temperature, the amount of water one uses to saturate the beans, the amount of sweeteners, the addition of milk or cream (and what type, temperature, amount etc. of those components), and even the type of cup in which the coffee is served all play a role in the final taste profile. Turkish coffee, rather than having water strain through ground beans, is prepared by grinding the beans to a fine powder, and then boiled with water and sugar before being served. Sometimes a cardamom pod or powder is added for extra flavor. It’s made in a special copper pot called an ibrick (no, it’s not an Apple product used to virtually build a house), which can be handmade and sometimes, very ornate with carvings and decorations. Copper is the material of choice for Turkish coffee pots because it distributes heat quickly and evenly. When the coffee comes to a boil, it is allowed to foam up, and then it’s briefly removed from the heat before it’s returned again to create more foam. Finally, it is removed from the heat and the grinds are allowed to settle to the bottom. It is this settling of the grinds which leads to the fortune-telling part. After the coffee is sipped slowly and the cup is emptied of liquid, the person having their fortune told places a saucer on top of the cup and turns it over, allowing many of the grinds to settle on the saucer and some to remain in the cup. After the sediment dries thoroughly, the cup is lifted by the reader and the grinds are carefully observed. The most important component is the creation of symbols by the grinds, but another important consideration is the motion or movement of the grinds and any remaining liquid when the cup is flipped back up. It is said that if a drop of stray liquid falls from the cup onto the saucer, that means the subject will experience tears in the near future. If a large chunk of grinds suddenly falls from the cup to the saucer, that represents a very good thing; a resolution of problems all at once. There are many symbols which can be seen and interpreted within the grinds as well. Below are a few of the basics: For more information on this fascinating tradition, visit: http://www.turkishculture.org/lifestyles/turkish-culture-portal/coffee-fortune-telling-205.htm?type=1 For a Turkish coffee recipe you can make at home, see: http://mideastfood.about.com/od/drinkscoffeetea/r/Turkishcoffee.htm. Happy drinking (and reading!).

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