Say It With Tarot

Everything you want to know about Tarot--especially for contemplation, self-empowerment, personal growth and creativity--from Tarot expert, author and deck co-creator Janet Boyer.

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Coffee Divination and Dream Symbolism

How many java junkies out there?

You, too?

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While a cup of coffee may be a simple symbol for a morning wake-up call, it’s possible to glean information from this beloved brown elixir. This oracular practice is known as tasseomancy or tasseography.

There are several ways to use coffee for divination:

1. Notice the steam that rises from a freshly poured cup of hot coffee. What shapes do you see? What impressions do you get? Take note and write down your observations for further contemplation.

2. After pouring hot, freshly-brewed coffee in a cup, add some liquid creamer or half-and-half. Watch closely as the milky liquid “blooms”. What images form before your eyes?

3. Instead of pouring creamer in a still cup of coffee, take a spoon and swirl it around first—then add the liquid half-and-half. Record the designs emerging from this undulating mystical palette. What might the Universe be saying to you?

4. Tasseomancy usually involves Turkish coffee, which starts with Arabica beans ground even finer than espresso. When a friend of mine would go to a coffee shop that sold whole bean coffee, she’d always get raised eyebrows when asking for “Turkish grind” (that stuff is strong). She swore her coffee lasted longer that way. However, true Turkish coffee is more than just a fine grind: it’s also unfiltered. Brewing is easy: take a few teaspoons and put it in a small pot (the Turks would use a long-handled copper pot called an ibrik). Add a cup or two of water. You can also add sugar, too, if you prefer sweetness. Boil for several minutes. Take the pot off the heat. Cool for a few more minutes. Pour into your favorite cup or mug. Enjoy—but stop when you get close to the bottom so you don’t drink the grounds. Swirl around the muddy remains. What do you see? Jot down what comes to mind. Here are some symbols and what they could mean should you see them in your coffee grounds (above all, always use your intuition—and common sense):

Airplane, Boat, or Train:  An upcoming trip

Horseshoe: A sign of good luck

Branch or Twig: Social activities; fleeting friendships

Clouds: Wishes coming true; wishful thinking

Coins: Monetary prosperity

Ear: Good news

Lamp: Guidance and understanding

Hand: Assistance and help

Eyeglasses: Study the situation thoroughly; needing to see more clearly

Moon: Secrets; using intuition Mountain: An obstacle or challenge Heart: Love and passion

Knot: An argument; relationship trouble

Kite: Aspirations; high goals

Lock: Something to be solved or opened

Tear Drop: Disappointment or sadness

Numbers: Could mean a birthday, day, month, apartment number, etc.

Letters: Could represent the first letter of someone’s name relevant to the question

Octopus: Overwhelm; too much to do

Volcano: A situation about to erupt, especially involving someone with a fiery personality

Water: Intuition; cleansing

Zebra: Lack of certainty; double-mindedness

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Coffee Dream Symbols

If you dream of coffee—or anything related to the Holy Bean—your subconscious may be trying to tell you something. Or, if you’re inclined to experience prophetic dreams, you may be glimpsing the future.

Here’s what The Ultimate Dictionary of Dream Language by Briceida Ryan advises:

Coffee – Trust your instincts regarding a love affair. You will soon receive a marriage proposal if this is what you desire.

Coffee Maker – During your quiet times you will be able to develop successful plans.

Coffee Shop/House – You will enjoy brunch with someone you have wished to spend time with. This will develop into a greater relationship. Within two days, you will also begin to feel younger, will develop new vigor and greater self-esteem.

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In her book In Your Dreams, Mary Summer Rain decodes these symbols as:

Coffee – Stands for persevering energy; that which enriches one’s motivations.

Coffee Beans – Depict the freshness of renewed energy; sparked motivation.

Coffee Grounds – Signify the negative aspect one leaves behind after being re-energized.

Coffee Klatch – Pertains to the emotional uplift brought by sharing restful, energizing times with others.

Coffee Mill – Refers to an aspect that has the capacity of energizing one.

Coffeepot – Illustrates a brewing situation and may indicate a percolating condition within self that advises of a rest period.

Coffee Shop – Exemplifies a rest period and the need to choose a specific manner for same.

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In my absolute favorite dream book, A Stream of Dreams, author Leon Nacson writes this about coffee symbolism:

Someone related a dream to me recently that left him mystified. In the dream, he gave birth to a cup of coffee! Interestingly, the birth coincided with the arrival of a new baby, his first.

Coffee is a stimulant, yet it’s also associated with having a “break”—sitting back, relaxing, and taking it easy. The dream my friend had is directly associated with his child, who’s going to provide him with a lot of fun and an excuse for a time-out, bit is also going to be a stimulating challenge.

Decided whether the coffee in your dream is stimulating you, and if so, what is it stimulating you to do? Or is it telling you to take a break and chill out? Where did you get the coffee? Home, work, or a partner? Are you being stimulated by, or do you want time off from, home, work, or your partner?

Is the brew too hot to swallow, too cold to enjoy, or just right, the aroma awakening your sense of smell and satisfying your desires? You answer will indicate how you’re experiencing life at the moment. Is the coffee you’re drinking instant, indicating that you want a quick fix? Is it espresso, indicating that you’re under extreme pressure? Or is it percolated, indicating that you need to slowly mull over and think out whatever it is you’re doing?

If you ordered a half-decaffeinated, half full-strength latte with a twist of lemon in your dream, does that indicate that you want it all?

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Interesting, huh? I bet you’ll never look at coffee—or any symbolism associated with it—the same way again.

What about you, dear readers? Have you ever performed tasseomancy? Or have had your coffee grounds (or tea leaves) read? How was your experience? What about coffee dreams? Do share!

Speaking of coffee divination, my husband and I are creating a Coffee Tarot: Grande Edition that’s now on Kickstarter! Visit our project at this link or watch the video below.


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Janet Boyer is the author of Back in Time Tarot (Hampton Roads), Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer Publishing) and Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down Advice (Dodona Books). She's the co-creator (with her husband, artist Ron Boyer) of the Snowland Deck and Coffee Tarot, and authored both companion books to those decks. A Renaissance Soul, she is also an award-winning cook, mixed media artist, jewelry artisan and journal maker. Next to creating, her favorite thing to do is spend time with her beloved husband, son and 5 cats at her rural home in Pennsylvania. Visit her at


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