Of all the weird things I've done for this blog (getting a well-known chef to taste my tea ice cream, measuring whether Richard really has "perfect pinch," nibbling on the dried fruit in our Alpine Berry Blend), this might be the weirdest. At least, in my world. You see, I'm steeping a cup of tea and then I'm going to read my own tea leaves.
Reading tea leaves is also known as tasseography. It's a method of fortune telling by looking for patterns in loose tea leaves. I don't know anything about how to do it, but I did what anyone would do: I Googled.
Will I see the future? Will those soggy leaves tell me something? Will I make a mess and end up using too many paper towels? Who knows, but here goes.
Step 1: I've gotten out the only teacup I own, a really funky cup and matching saucer given as a favor at a bridal shower. I usually drink tea in large mugs, because two leaves sachets are big enough for mugs, as you probably know.
Step 2: I have some loose Organic Assam Breakfast (seems like the right tea for leaf-reading, don't you think?) and I put a pinch of it in this teacup.
Step 3: I'm steeping.
Step 4: I'm sipping. Unfortunately, instead of just enjoying a carefree tea time, I'm supposed to be concentrating on a question while I sip this cup of tea, as though it's a Magic 8 Ball. But what sort of question? Can it be a yes/no question? I settle on "Will I ever get to live in a bigger house?" and as I sip this cup of tea, I'm imagining my perfect future abode for my family. It's my top concern lately, so why not ask this silly refreshing cup of tea? (Oh — and I'm supposed to be drinking it with my left hand, because I'm typically right handed. Don't ask me why. Ask Google.)
Step 5: I swirl the bit of liquid left and all those big leaves of Assam around in the cup three times, and dump it into my saucer to get the water out. I wait a few seconds, flip it back over and look inside. A big clump of leaves stays on the saucer, but oh, look! I think the leaves stuck to the inside of my cup look like a dolphin and a chicken.
Step 6: Dolphin and a chicken ... dolphin and a chicken. I look here to figure out what it all means for me and my small house. Um, there are no dolphins and chickens on the list. I decide to generalize and turn dolphin into "fish" (don't send letters. I know dolphins are mammals.) and chicken into "bird." And I come away with "good news" and "good fortune." If I want to describe that big clump of leaves in the saucer as a mountain, I get "great goals, but also difficulties." Tell me something I don't know, tea leaves.
Step 7: I conclude that while this was fun and made me feel a bit Harry Potterish-mystical, what's most telling is that my teacup is sitting on the kitchen table with my laptop, two baseball caps, a stuffed bunny, a toy truck, a baby bottle, car keys, some earphones, my wallet and a bib. Will I ever get to live in a bigger house? I really, really hope so.
Also, that was great tea, so I'm going to make another cup. Have any of you out there tried to read your own tea leaves? How'd it go?