MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Where did the phrase “read the tea leaves” come from?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Where did the phrase “read the tea leaves” come from?

I caught myself saying this the other day and thought it would be a good mystery for today.

“Read the tea leaves” means to use signs or signals to predict something that’s going to happen in the near future. It all started with the fortune telling community. Fortune tellers would use actual tea leave patterns at the bottom of a cup when the tea was gone to try and predict the future. Then the phrase just stuck ever since.

 

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