My mother has successfully read tea-leaves since she was a young girl. When I learned the name "tasseography" I thought it was a fascinating coincidence that the woman who taught my mother to read was called Grandma Tassel (her surname). Tasse is French for cup (and German, too I just learned). My mother also happens to be an excellent baker which meant I had lots of friends in highschool! LOL She reads the symbols formed by the leaves. This is a sample cup I drank without my mother's expert interpretation. I see a duck (increase in wealth), halfway down the cup. There are a few initial letters as well.
The cup is traditionally read from the top (present) to the future (bottom). Images that are seen are interpreted symbolically. Some readers read the negative space between the leaves and even the shadows. Apparently, tasseography symbolism differs from that of, say, dream symbols.
Created for The Dictionary Of Image