German Word of the Week: Kaffeesatzleserei

While listening to something-or-other on the radio, I heard the word you see above. And thought to myself: Coffegroundsreadery?

Yes, coffeegroundsreadery! Anglo-Saxons like to read tea leaves, but apparently our swarthier cousins, who are more fond of coffee, read coffee grounds instead. Here's how it's done:

There are at least two forms of coffee reading. Both require that the cup be covered with the saucer and turned upside-down. Some traditions, such as in Romania, require that the sediments in the cup be swirled around the inside of the cup until they cover the majority of the cup's inside surface. Other traditions, such as Turkish and Middle Eastern, do not require this swirling but do require that the cup be turned towards yourself for showing your own fortune. The coffee grounds are given time to settle and dry against the cup before a reading begins.

Whatever you do, don't try this in Israel.

5 thoughts on “German Word of the Week: Kaffeesatzleserei

  1. Ummm, Andrew? It seemed kind of obvious that the problem for the lady in Israel had little to do with the coffee-ground reading but had everything to do with predictions of disaster and provision of expensive remedies against said disasters.

    Also, her choice of client may have been unfortunate, as a policeman who comes to feeling cheated may have knowledge of legal remedies perhaps not widely known among the general populace.

    Seems to me the ‘seer’ largely had it coming to her in some form….


  2. This coffee-reading thing is more international than I thought. I´ve heard once from a iraqi that they do it there. Maybe it is one of the few things that Brazil and Iraq have in common (?!)


  3. Ligia: It’s not unknown in Serbia, either. I’ve seen – much to my surprise, actually – people taking it very seriously.


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