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Tasography or cup-gazing, the tradition that is as big as Tinder

Tasography or cup-gazing, the tradition that is as big as Tinder

The Turkish art of reading fortunes from coffee grounds can date back at least 500 years to Gen Z, although many young people have embraced it and turned it into a trend.

Every day, millions of people have a cup of coffee the first thing they do when they wake up to boost their energy levels.

Although it is widely believed that coffee beans were first cultivated in the highlands of Ethiopia, it was thanks to the Ottoman Empire that the earliest method of brewing coffee was popularized.

The first coffeehouse in history was opened in Istanbul in 1554 and by the first half of the 17th century about 600 coffeehouses had been set up across the city. It was then that coffee culture as we know it was born.

The preparation of Turkish coffee itself, from grinding the beans to boiling in the dzhezve, is a tradition in itself, which, due to the 500-year Turkish occupation, has become a habit in Albania as well. And what is the strangest tradition of Turkish coffee, is reading the fortune in the dregs of the cup.

Tasography or cup-gazing, the tradition that is as big as Tinder

How was he born?

The tradition can be traced back to Sultan Suleiman's harem, as women were excluded from public cafes. Instead, fortune tellers were allowed to enter the harem to read what appeared in the coffee grounds.

This practice has a name and it is called tasography. In Turkey, unlike Albania where the neighbor reads the cup, the service is also offered in various cafes. Times have even evolved and AI-powered apps offer coffee fortune reading or connect with virtual fortune tellers.

Virtual forecasters

In 2017, Faladdin - a name coined from 'fal' and 'Aladdin' - was created by model and influencer Sertac Tasdelen, who grew up with a mum who could see the mug. In 2010, his friends started sending pictures of their strained coffee cups to his mother, who would respond by email. Eventually, this evolved into the app that generates income today. Now, Faladdin has more than five million active users worldwide and is as big in Turkey as Tinder.

In America Gen Z are also very fond of fortune telling. They are obsessed with horoscopes and reading Tarot cards. Yes, yes, even those aged 13-25.

Although the background may have changed – from harems, to coffee shops, or to phone screens – the demand to predict life continues to exist.