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Part 2: How to Prepare for a Tea-Leaf Reading

It is not difficult to prepare a cup of tea. We imagine that almost all of our readers have had at least a single cup before, and all you truly need to perform a tea-leaf reading is a basic tea set and loose leaf tea. With all of that said, you will likely get more out of the ancient ritual if you purchase a special tea set that you use for your readings. We personally have found great pleasure in using nicer china and teapots when performing tea-leaf readings.

How to Find the Right Tea Cups and Teapot

Not all tea cups are suitable for tea-leaf readings, which may seem surprising at first. After all, at first glance all cups seem very similar. Drawing from our experience, we’ll give you a few guidelines on what to look for in a good teacup. Teapots are not as big of a deal, although a good one can greatly improve your experience. We’ll weigh in on tips for picking a teapot as well.

The size and shape of your tea cup are the two most important factors to consider. You will want to choose a cup with a nice rounded bowl, free of large curves that will impede the movement of your tea-leaves. We strongly recommend that you do not use cups with straight sides, which includes most mugs. If you’ve having trouble picturing the type of tea cup that we’re talking about, we’ve included a suitable example to the right.

You will also want to pick out a teacup that is about average in size. Cups that are too big can be difficult to handle, particularly when you try to invert the cup over its saucer. You don’t want something that you’ll drop. On the other hand, if you pick out a teacup that is too small, you may not be able to use enough loose leaves to get a good tea-leaf reading. If you pick something right in the middle, you will likely avoid both of these issues.

In most cases, we recommend that you choose a cup that is decorated on the outside but clean on the inside. The example that we showed earlier definitely fits the bill. If your tea cup contains decorations on the inside, you may have difficulty distinguishing them from the patterns made by your tea-leaves. We found an entertaining example of what we do not recommend on This cup, known as the The Psychic Teacup, contains exactly the type of distractions you want to avoid.

Two final notes – make sure that you choose a teacup with a good handle, and make sure that your cup also has a saucer. You’ll need both when it comes time to flip the teacup over, which we’ll cover later on in this guide.

Teapots are mostly decorative, although there are a few features that you will want to avoid. Modern teapots sometimes contain features with strainers or special compartments to keep the tea-leaves out of your tea. Although there are certainly uses for these devices, you will not be able to perform a tea-leaf reading with this sort of teapot. The one exception is a teapot where the strainer allows small tea-leaves into your tea. In this case, you may still be able to make use of the teapot.

How to Pick the Right Tea

Now that you’ve found the perfect teacup, saucer, and teapot, it’s time to pick the tea. Make a mistake here, and you could reek havoc on your tea-leaf reading, and your future! All kidding aside, there are two main considerations in choosing a tea, which are taste and the size of the tea-leaves. We don’t have too much to say about the taste of the tea that you choose because individual taste varies so much. Perhaps the best advice is to experiment liberally and keep searching for new and exciting flavors.

The size of the tea-leaves that you pick will be crucially important, and as with our teacup recommendation, it’s best to pick leaves that are average in size. If you pick a tea with very small leaves, which is common among cheaper varieties, the leaves will stick together in large blobs rather than shapes for you to interpret. If the leaves are too large, you will again end up with shapeless blobs, as the leaves will cover the entire surface of your cup. The ideal tea will have leaves of various shapes and sizes, which will lead to more interesting patterns for you to analyze.

As a final note, you want to avoid teas with added ingredients that are intermixed with the tea leaves. The added ingredients will obscure the patterns that your tea leaves are trying to use to communicate with you, and you will find interpretation needlessly difficult or even altogether impossible.

Types of Tea to Consider for Tea-Leaf Readings

We’ll leave the tea selection up to you, but here are a few options that you may find interesting. They’re conveniently listed by the size of the tea-leaves. These are all great options for a tea-leaf reading!

Small Sized Leaves

  • Assam: A tea with a malty flavor.
  • Ceylon: A tea with a full flavor.
  • Kenya: A tea with a strong flavor.

Medium Sized Leaves

  • Keemum: A tea with a toasted flavor.
  • English breakfast: A tea blend with a stimulating flavor.
  • Oolong: A tea with a fruity flavor.

Large Sized Leaves

  • Darjeeling: A tea with a fragrant flavor.
  • Earl grey: A tea with a delicately scented flavor.

Next Chapters

Part 3: How to Perform a Tea-Leaf Reading
Part 4: Occasions to Perform a Tea-Leaf Reading
Part 5: Common Tea-Leaf Symbols and Meaning

Or, if you’d like, you can return to previous installments of this series.

Part 1: The History of Tea and Tea Leaf Reading

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