Coffee is one of the top luxury goods worldwide. In most cultures, role in the not only individual but also social rituals are related to its consumption. Just think about the wonderful beverages sipped during friendly conversations, coffee breaks at work or coffee cupping. Religious ceremonies come less to our mind, though there are places in the world where coffee also plays a role in religious life.
Coffee is regarded as a mystical drink with supernatural powers in many cultures.For example, one of the most popular techniques of prediction, coffee grounds prediction emerged due to the Turkish coffee, while members of the Ethiopian Oromo tribe believe that coffee is a gift from God, so it is an important ingredient of the religious ceremonies.
How do they predict the future from coffee?
Roasted coffee is grounded repeatedly until the appropriate fineness is not reached. It is brewed together with sugar in a long-handled brass dish called cezve, and they take it off the heat before boiling. Then it is heated a few more times, then the beverage is poured into cups with the coffee grounds. In a good Turkish coffee,coffee-grounds is not floating on the surface, but rather sits on the bottom of the cup, which allows the prediction too.
The coffee grounds prediction is a traditional fortune telling technology, which can be traced back to several centuries and is extremely widespread in Turkey, the Arab world and the Middle East. When the Turks came to Europe in the past centuries, coffee and the prediction method related to it became also popular in the European countries. According to the beliefs, the Turkish coffee is particularly suitable for divination, because after the consumption we may draw conclusions to the future from the symbols outlining from the grounds that remained at the bottom of the cup.
For the divination, we should place the saucer on the cup after the consumption and turn upside down three times, that the redundant coffee grounds may fall in the saucer. After pulling off the cup we may begin to read the figures. Since the coffee grounds prediction is connected to different traditions and rituals, different cultures often interpret symbols differently. According to the Turkish tradition, we should not predict for ourselves, because it might affect the future. It is definitely worth a try in an authentic café when we are in Turkey because fortune telling is an exciting experience, which we may interpret as a tradition, or simply as a game.
Coffee drinking as an important ritual
The Oromo tribe lives in the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia. For them, coffee means life itself and a serum of fertility. It is believed that the coffee plant is better than all the other plants, because it grew out from the tears of their God, Waaaq. Arabica coffees are the most prevalent in this area, which prefer the higher altitudes of 1000-2000 meters and the drink made of these is not simply considered as a beverage, but as an important nourishment and medicine by the locals.
The coffee plant is evergreen, so the members of the Oromo tribe consider it as a “symbol of fertility, the blessing of Waaaq” because of its green color remaining throughout the year. Farmers also plant a few coffee plants near the gate of their residence in the hope of luck, good harvest and peace, that they may feel the presence of Waaaq through the plant. The coffee is an integral part of their social and religious rituals, so the transmittal of the traditions associated with this from generation to generation plays a particularly important role in the life of the tribe.
The tradition of coffee drinking
I think it is not surprising that coffee plays such special role in many cultures since coffee consumption has a centuries-old tradition in Europe, and in those areas, wherethe Arabica and Robusta varieties are native, it has been consumed since even longer for its invigorating effect. Many cultures attribute supernatural powers to it, and is considered as a superior plant. Coffee has many positive effects on the body and the soul alike, regardless of whether we consider it as a mystical magic plant, or we approach its benefits from a scientific point of view. Everyday individual and social rituals related to coffee play an important role in our culture too.