Ask Mehmet: Fortunetelling through coffee cups

  • Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Ask Mehmet is a forum for people to ask questions of the local area, as well as the outer confines of the region and the country as a whole. To submit a question, send an email with the subject "Ask Mehmet" to Then, look for an answer to the question on the 39th Air Base Wing's official website at and Incirlik Air Base's Facebook page.

Mehmet, I heard that fortunetelling with the help of coffee cups is very common in Turkey. Could you tell us about that, please?

Fortunetelling using coffee cups after drinking Turkish coffee is a common, popular and ancient art in Turkey.

Not everybody has the skill to read coffee cups, but it is quite popular among Turkish women. There's a Turkish proverb that says "The memories of a cup of coffee are good for forty years." Turkish women usually ask each other to read their coffee cups at the end of visits.

People should drink Turkish coffee in small sips and shouldn't be consumed to the last drop. The coffee grounds set at the bottom of the cup and fortunetellers use the grounds for fortunetelling.

When finished drinking the coffee, the drinker places the saucer on top of the coffee cup when they finish drinking. Then, they shake the cup slightly and flip the cup over so the grounds fall to the saucer and place it on the table with the saucer still on top. The drinker lets the cup cool for a while and hands it to the fortuneteller.

Fortunetellers make their predictions according to the designs and shapes the coffee sediment creates in the cup. No two fortunetellers ever agree on the meanings they see in the coffee grounds.

A wide variety of subjects are covered, such as finance, travel, politics, love and matrimony. If the fortuneteller knows the subject the individual is interested in, the fortune is usually directed on that topic.

Some people make a fortune from reading coffee cups professionally. Here are some popular interpretations one might search if they wish to begin reading fortunes from coffee cups:

· Large white spaces mean peace of mind.

· A vertical white line down the side of the cup is a snake symbol meaning bad luck.

· A white uninterrupted circle around the top of the cup means travel. But if it blocked by a
patch of black, it means you'll have to turn back before the journey is completed or cancel
it at the last minute.

· Some white lines are also interpreted as travel. A long line means a long trip: a short line means a short trip.

· A white pigeon-shape is a good sign meaning happiness or good news arriving. Sometimes, the fortune tellers give an estimated time of receiving that news, depending on the black spots they see around the pigeon-like shape.

· A horse shape is a sign that your wishes will come true.

· A big gap of white space means solutions to problems.

· Lumps on the sides mean money.

· A big lump at the bottom of the cup means problems.

There is another Turkish saying about fortunetelling, "Don't believe in fortunetelling, but don't disregard it either."