Can a Cup of Coffee Really Tell the Future?

I am standing outside a movie theater, looking up to see if a cafe really exists within it. There is a top floor, but it is all I can make out. We walk into the theater and the box office is empty, the first floor deserted. I guess there are no matinees this afternoon.

A small “cafe” sign is posted near the stairs on the right and so we head upstairs. A glass door leads into a open, smoky cafe. Two men sit at a table near the door and smile as we walk in. The man at the host stand gives us a nod as a greeting and I feel out of place. I look around and see two older woman in different parts of the room. They are both smoking and I see a deck of tarot cards at each of their tables. I’m in the right place.

The man at the stand doesn’t speak English so he calls someone and I speak into the phone.

“Hello, do you speak English?”

“Yes, a little.”

“Um, I wanted to get my coffee grounds read. Can I do that here?”


“Okay, how does it work and how much does it cost?”

“Go sit down, they will bring you coffee. Drink it and then it will happen. It is 15 lira. Do you speak Turkish?” it seems like a silly question since the whole point of us communicating via phone is that I don’t speak the same language as the rest of the people in the cafe.

“No, is there someone who could translate for me?”

“Okay, yes, I will help you. Bye.”

I hand the phone back to the host and he motions for us to sit down. We choose a table in the middle of the room and my cup of thick Turkish coffee is brought over. I’ve read enough beforehand to know I need to drink the coffee and leave the sludgy grounds in the bottom of the cup. As I drink my cup, a mother and daughter frantically walk in and speak to one of the soothsayers. A cup of coffee is quickly brought to the girl, she drinks, flips the cup over and brings it to the woman. An excited exchange ensues over the girl’s future - both mother and daughter weighing in.

I finish my coffee, but am not sure what I do next. One of the young men in the cafe comes to our table, flips my coffee cup over on its saucer and gives me a thumbs up. I watch as more Turkish women come into the cafe and order their cups of coffee. This place seems like the real deal. We are the only foreigners in site.

I have no idea who is going to be my translator and if he will be on the phone, in person or perhaps even on a computer screen via Skype when I have my grounds read. I ask again what I should be doing and two hands signal that in 10 minutes something will happen. So we wait. And wait a little longer. I am getting a little antsy. Will my coffee grounds have congealed by the time it is my turn? What am I doing in this smoke-filled, Turkish cafe at the top of a movie theater anyway?

Finally, a man races into the cafe and looks around. The other men look at me and signal that it is time. I bring my coffee cup and saucer to the woman at the front of the cafe and my translator sits down. We both glance back and forth at the woman and the coffee cup as she stares into it. She starts talking, he starts translating and then they both stop.

“Is there something you really want to know about today?” my translator asks.

“Well, I guess I want to just know what lies ahead. I have been traveling for almost a year now and want to see how things may unfold after this.” He translates that back to the woman and she nods her head as if she already knew that. Of course she did.

Getting acquainted with my reader and translator.

Getting acquainted with my reader and translator.

She reads the grounds in the cup, the grounds on the saucer and then tips the saucer back over the cup to read the grounds as they run back into the cup. She alternates between telling me things and asking questions, again nodding as if she knew the answers before I say them. She knows a few things that have recently happened and her accuracy makes me start to really believe what she is saying. She uses a napkin to write down a few things - letters, numbers corresponding to months - things that may hold some significance in the coming year. I am frantically trying to remember everything she is saying.

A lot being revealed during this 30 minutes.

A lot being revealed during this 30 minutes.

Her overall message is really positive and leaves me with a lot to think about. When we finish, she gives me a motherly grin and says that everything will be okay. The translator looks relieved to be finished, he is filling in for his brother who speaks better English than he does. I still have no idea where he came from or whether he left his work just to help out.

I pay my 15 lira for the coffee and the reading and we leave the cafe, joining the hustle and bustle along Istikal Avenue, one of Istanbul’s main shopping avenues.

I was told that in two weeks, or three weeks, or two months things will start to unfold in my life that will set us on our next path. I think two weeks is coming close to an end so I will wait for another week or another two months and go from there.

My coffee grounds reading was at the Majestik Cafe, above the Cine Majestik on Ayhan Isik in Istanbul. It seems there are legitimate readers along with their copycats around town so do your research if you want a true reading.