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Coffee home - Coffee history - Coffee Cup Fortune Telling History And Origins

Coffee Cup Fortune Telling History And Origins

Coffee Cup Fortune Telling History And Origins
The Future In A Cup: Tea, Or Coffee?

The origins of coffee cup readings stem from the ancient Chinese art of tealeaves reading practised for centuries; originally by monks who ceremonially drank tea in bell shaped cups. Before that, it is thoughts that monks used to read patterns formed on the internal part of bells in temples, so the handle-less teacup was a logical progression.

This was later adapted to coffee grounds reading by the Arabs, who first discovered coffee beans around 600 AD and managed to keep coffee as a secret, having a monopoly on cultivating and drinking coffee for several hundred years. Coffee made its way and became known or used as a beverage in Western Europe and the Americas, only in the late 18th century.

Both tealeaves and coffee cup readings are known as Tasseography, or tasseomancy (kafemandeia in Greek). The art was very much alive and practiced by these various seers from Greece, Persia, Russia, Armenia and Yugoslavia.

No matter what symbols the coffee grounds depicted to each of them, the interpretation was very similar and accurate.

Coffee Readings- what are they?

Coffee Readings are psychic readings done by using a cup of coffee as though it's a crystal ball. Ground Turkish coffee is mostly used when cup readings are done. The residue is left at the bottom of the cup after the coffee is drunk, when the cup is then covered with a saucer, shaken, and turned over (up side down) into the saucer, and left to dry.

The patterns formed on the inside of the cup trigger psychic insight; and are interpreted according to what they mean to the seer. Once you allow the information to flow intuitively, and with little training you can soon be well on your way to reading your own cup.

There are others who read filter coffee, and instant coffee too - much like crystal ball, or water cup scrying. (In fact, you can pretty much read anything- cloud formation, carpet patterns, or rabbit bones- as they do in Africa).

If a coffee cup that is drunk in a hurry, without the intention of having it read, or while not in a relaxed state, it can't be read. The grains do not appear to form any meaningful patterns- merely chaotic brown dots or mud in a cup! This is probably true for any form of divination, if you focus or intention is not present, the medium used will not provide a useful insight into the future.

The Origins of Coffee Cup readings in Europe: "I must have my Coffee!"

The long kept secret of coffee by the Arabs has probably helped make the history of coffee and coffee readings into the stuff of legends and lore.

Initially, Arabs brewed coffee from green, un-roasted beans making a tea-like beverage. By the late 13th century, Arabians roasted and ground coffee before brewing it. Ironically, it is said Arabian men usually brewed coffee, which was drunk by Arabian women to alleviate menstrual discomforts.

From Yemen, where coffee was cultivated, using coffee beans spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula and later via the Ottoman Empire to Turkey. The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, opened in Constantinople in 1475.

When the Turks were forced to break off their siege of Vienna in 1683, they left behind them 500 sacks of coffee. An enterprising Polish businessman used it to open the city's first coffee house. Coffee quickly became the choice of Europe's Middle Class and Coffeehouses sprung up all over. It became the drink over which all matters-important and mundane-were discussed. Barista, was coined as the coffee bartender who makes coffee specialty drinks as his or her profession.

‘The great coffee wave' created a number of ancillary trades. "Cup-women" entered the scene - anyone in search of wisdom would come to consult one of these women with a small bag of roasted beans. The art of reading coffee cups appeared in various literature of the time. "We have a sort of Mother Witch . . which are the Coffee and Tea Throwers to tell People's fortunes"- From Round About Our Coal-Fire, 1731.

Coffee cup fortune telling became very popular - and notorious -, with official notifications to ban the activity. The first such fortune-tellers started their trade in Paris, and subsequently set up business in Germany. So much so, that in 1732, Johann Sevastian Bach composed his Kaffee-Kantate.

Partly an ode to coffee and partly a stab at the movement in Germany to prevent women from drinking coffee (it was thought to make them sterile), the cantata includes the aria, "Ah! How sweet coffee taste! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have my coffee." In 1742 a pamphlet appeared in Leipzig entitled "The prophetess of the coffee cup with observations by G.G.B.", and a decade later in Hungary "The Oraculum- Geomaticum or the art and wisdom on seeing Fate in coffee and all other infusions".

Coffee... The Stuff Of Legends

Botanical evidence indicates that Coffea Arabica originated on the plateaus of central Ethiopia, several thousand feet above sea level. The word "qahwa" goes back some 1000 years BC in mud tablets, which means coffee in Arabic, where wild coffee berries were part of staple food for tribesmen.

One of the oldest coffee discovery legends tells of a young goatherd called Kaldi in Ethiopia in around 650 AD, who went looking for his herd and noticed that after eating a certain kind of berry, they were particularly lively. He tasted the berries and his sleepy eyes opened. Acuba, a learned man from town saw how Kaldi and his goats were lively, tried the berries and took them back to town where he mixed the berries with drinks at his monastery.

When the Monks first tried it, they were disappointed by the bitter flavour of coffee beans that they threw it in the fire. Soon, a delicious aroma was wafting around. The monks used the roasted fruits to create a brew, which they saw as a gift from God because it helped them to stay awake half the night. Coffee then spread to other towns and monasteries, Acuba became a rich man. No one knows what happen to Kaldi!

Another legend relates how the Archangel Gabriel brought a dish of the dark elixir to the prophet Mohammed, who lay dying. Thanks to the ‘divine power' it gave him, he unsaddled 40 knights and went on to create the greatest Islamic empire ever seen.

During the Islamic expansion (circa 11th-16th century), coffee found its way across the Red Sea to Turkey, Spain and North Africa. By the thirteenth century, coffee's medicinal and religious usages became well known from the holy cities of Mecca and Medina to Egypt, Persia and Syria.

The invigorating effects of this new "wine of Islam" enraptured the Persians because real wine was strictly forbidden to Muslims, Turkish people claimed coffee to be an aphrodisiac and husbands kept their wives well supplied; if the husband refused, it was a legitimate cause for a wife to divorce! The first coffee houses were opened in Damascus and Aleppo in 1530 and 1532.

Legend also has it that the Arabs, protective of Coffea Arabica, forbade transportation of the plant out of the Moslem nations.

Despite efforts to control this wonderful commodity, coffee was smuggled to India, by a Muslim Pilgrim called Baba Budan, around 1650. He planted his seeds in the hills in Mysore, India where they flourished. From there, the Dutch began cultivating Coffea Arabica in Java on the Indonesian archipelago.

In 1714, The Dutch unwittingly provide Louis XIV in Paris with a coffee bush as a gift- which he kept well guarded green house; until 1723 when a French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu do Clieu stole a seedling and transported it to Martinique. Within 50 years and official survey records 19 million coffee trees on Martinique. Eventually, 90 percent of the world's coffee spreads from this plant.

Coffee become a signature cultural drink in America at the time of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when Americans revolted against King George's Tea Tax and, the Continental Congress declared coffee the official national beverage. Today it still exists as a form of diversion for young people in coffee houses in France and Italy, Romania and Spain and of course all over the Mediterranean.

*** The Arabs used so much coffee that the Christian church denounced coffee as "the hellish black brew." But Pope Clement VIII found it so great tasting that he baptized it and made it a Christian beverage saying "coffee is so delicious it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it."

*** The first coffee House opened in England in 1652. A cup of coffee sold for a penny.

*** In 1901 the Japanese Dr. Sartori Kato presented the first soluble coffee powder.

*** In 1938 the Nestlé Company laid the foundation for the commercial marketing of soluble coffee (instant coffee).

*** The scale of coffee use is reflected in the trend of world raw coffee consumption in the last 250 years.

1750: 600,000 bags,
1850: 4 million bags,
1950: 36 million bags,
1995: 94 million bags,
2000: 103 million bags.

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