10 Coffee Superstitions To Know Of This Spooky Season

Autumn is one of the most beloved times of the year, isn't it? Scatters of golden leaves are starting to pile up, the air bites just a touch more with each passing day, and an exciting holiday is approaching — Halloween. It's the pinnacle of fall and our opportunity to flex our creative muscles through costumes, whether silly or spooky, fictional or historical.

The season of gray skies, fallen leaves, and Halloween feels like the ideal time for scary stories, lore, and superstitions. It seems that no food group is untouched by superstition: Some cultures have a set New Year's Day menu to ensure good fortune, Queen Elizabeth I believed that hot cross buns should be eaten on Easter and Christmas, and a number of countries have their own beliefs and folklore surrounding coffee. While many coffee superstitions only live in tradition and history, not modern practice, they make for some uncanny, mysterious stories to share over a hot pot of joe while the ghostly wind blows outside.

New Orleans: Never trim your nails then have coffee on a Monday

You could undoubtedly get a manicure and a latte in New Orleans — but you best not do it in that order on a Monday. This old 19th-century superstition states that your nails should never be pared (cut, trimmed) on Monday morning before having a cup of coffee, according to a report in Sacred Texts that was originally published on December 25th, 1886, in "Harper's Weekly."

What could have possibly scared NOLA residents off of some simple hand grooming before caffeinating on a Monday morning? Perhaps that's when they were the groggiest and least focused, increasing the likelihood of a nipped cuticle. Or maybe this Louisiana city just wants to spend the start of the work week taking it easy before jumping into all the tasks for the day — in which case we'd have to agree with New Orleans here.

Turkey: Don't let your son drink coffee if he wants a beard someday

According to folklore in Turkey, if you want your male offspring to have a thick, luscious crop of facial hair once they're grown, you should discourage them from drinking coffee in their prepubescent days. The Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism explains that, as the superstition goes, a young Turkish boy who consumes the black nectar will be woefully without a beard or mustache in adulthood.

In actuality, the jury still seems to be out on whether or not coffee has an impact — good or bad — on hair growth. Some say caffeine stops hair growth (via Unique Hair Concepts), and others argue that caffeine will actually elongate the hair follicle and lead to thicker, healthier hair, per The Hair Fuel. This seems like a classic case of confirmation bias, but if you abide by the old Turkish superstition, nary a drop of the good stuff should be consumed by a male preteen if he wants majestic facial hair.

Egypt: Accidental coffee spills mean happiness is coming to you

We don't think many things are more effective at ruining the day than knocking a full cup of coffee all over your lap or desk. After the mad dash to soak up your latte from the keyboard and move all of your important papers out of the splash zone, you must sadly make your way back to the carafe for more. And, if your beverage is from a shop, you're out five bucks. Egyptians tend to make light out of this situation, and superstition says there's no use crying over spilled coffee.

Rather, Egyptians believe that spilled coffee is a sign that happiness and good fortune are coming. If you're visiting Cairo and knock over your espresso, there's a chance you'll get some smiles and cheers from onlookers instead of sympathetic groans (via Culture Trip). Just don't ever spill coffee on purpose in Egypt, though. Inside Egypt explains that the result of intentionally spilled java may not necessarily result in a beneficial outcome.

United States: Never wash a sailor's coffee mug

If you ever visit a sailor's house and notice a mug that appears to have years' worth of coffee layers in it, whatever you do, don't toss it in the sink to soak. That thick coat of brownish coffee grime may hold little appeal to you, but to members of the U.S. Navy, it's just good seasoning. Military Times says that an old superstition in the community of sailors, especially those who served as a chief rank or higher, dictates that members must not wash their coffee mugs ... like, ever.

Interestingly enough, there are conflicting reasons as to why the superstition exists or what misfortune will happen to a sailor who dares to scrub his cup. It may be bad luck, Military Times states, or a sign of seniority in ranking. Some sailors insist the caked-on residue enhances the coffee's taste, and others will even pour fresh coffee on top of the cold, stagnated leftovers from their last cup of the previous day. No one, not even sailors, seems to be able to explain exactly why this happens. However, one thing is abundantly clear: If you visit a U.S. Navy member or veteran and notice a grubby coffee mug, don't bat an eye — surely they have a clean one on hand to serve you coffee in.

Greece: Don't mind an overflowing coffee cup

Barista accidentally overfilled your coffee cup? Most of us would stand in place and take sips until it's safe to ambulate without risk of spillage or ask for a bit to be poured out. In Greece, however, a coffee cup that spills over means you'll also be filled to the brim with good fortune. If you're holding an extra-full mug and trying to navigate a crowded cafe in Santorini, don't be embarrassed if you lose a few drops. In fact, the local patrons are likely to shout "youri youri!" — meaning good luck in Greek, per Greece Travel Ideas. That good luck usually manifests itself through monetary fortune, the source continues.

There's no mention of whether or not the overflowing coffee cup must be an authentic occurrence, as it is with the spilled coffee in Egypt. However, we think it should go without saying that it's best for your good luck — and your nicer clothes — that you don't seek to overfill your mug on purpose.

The Dominican Republic, Greece: Coffee grounds hold secrets of the future

It takes just a glance into the grounds left over in the bottom of a coffee mug to know what the future holds — or, at least, that's what coffee superstitions from many cultures, including Greece and the Dominican Republic, say. According to the Greek Reporter, tradition says that young men would seek answers about their future careers, and people often hoped to hear if financial success was in their cards. The old superstition also believed that a young, unmarried girl would visit a coffee grounds fortune teller to find out if she has a future husband waiting for her out there. Unfortunately, this came with the rumor that, if you are a young bachelorette resorting to a coffee ground reading for your marital prospects, you were likely already having difficulties finding a spouse.

Meanwhile, across the ocean, Dominican culture held a similar reverence for the prophetic properties of spent coffee grounds. Locals paid a visit to brujas and brujos — witches or sorcerers — to have their futures foretold through the muddled grounds left in the bottom of a mug, per Una Vaina Bien Spanish. In the same visit, those fortune seekers might also ask the bruja to cast spells upon their love interests and enemies ... spooky.

Finland: Bubbles in coffee will dictate your fortune

Financial woes and money stresses? If you've exhausted all your options for clarity, you might turn to an old Finnish superstition. This folklore claims that the bubbles that form on top of a black cup of brewed coffee know the trajectory of our financial success (via Chef's Pencil).To read the bubbles, the cup of coffee should be freshly poured and sit undisturbed on a table in front of you. If it appears that the bubbles are moving toward you, this signifies an unexpected influx of wealth into your life at some point. However, if the little air pockets are moving to the far side of the cup, superstition says you should be prepared to lose money.

We're not so sure about trusting a cup of medium roast with our financial futures. Just in case, we'll be over here drinking our coffee in front of a box fan.

Turkey: Coffee symbolizes fortune and friendship

Coffee has a long history in Turkey, dating back to the 16th century when Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent introduced the famed Turkish method of brewing coffee (via Whole Latte Love). International Coffee Day is celebrated annually on October 1, so it seems only fitting to discuss Turkish coffee preparation rituals and the superstition that connects coffee and friendship. For a long time, coffee houses in Turkey were a place where men went to socialize and make friends, explains the Hurriyet Daily News, and even within the home, women gathered to share coffee and heartfelt conversations. It was a symbol of camaraderie and trust.

So strong was the Turkish connection between shared words over a hot cup of java and the resulting friendship that an old proverb emerged: "A single cup of coffee is remembered for 40 years." This superstition suggests that quality time connected by coffee has the power to ignite lifelong friendships and demonstrates the significance of inviting someone into your home for coffee.

Dominican Republic: Don't drink coffee standing up

Just about everyone is guilty of the running-late dash. It's a familiar movie trope, too: tugging on a shoe as you rush out the door, phone tucked between ear and shoulder, haphazardly dressed, and coffee in tow while hustling out to the car. To at least some degree, most working adults can relate to this comedic scene, but superstition in the Dominican Republic advises against taking your joe on the go.

Coffee, Una Vaina Bien Spanish explains, is a sacred ritual for most Dominicans. It's how they start the morning and welcome visitors into their homes. Dominican superstition also says that the future can be told from used coffee grounds — but before you get to those grounds, folklore from the Dominican Republic says you should never drink your coffee standing up. Your hopes and plans for the day will be disrupted if you do. Having your schedule for the day not pan out is frustrating, but Una Vaina Bien says the superstition is a great way to encourage folks to slow down, relax, and be present and mindful as they enjoy a cup of coffee.

Iceland: Hot coffee is a no-no

Iceland's coffee superstition has to do with dashing good looks. One of the country's superstitions states that drinking a steamy mug of coffee will steal away someone's beauty, according to The Reykjavik Grapevine. Even in a country with relatively mild temps year-round (via Guide to Iceland), you might want to avoid anything warmer than ice-cold coffee.

In fact, Icelandic folklore seems to be very nervous about coffee overall: Putting the sugar in before cream means you will be without a spouse for another seven years if you're unmarried, and if you dare to put two spoons in your coffee mug, chaos will ensue. Different superstitions say this means you could end up hosting or being invited to a party, attending a baptism, having twins, or becoming secretly engaged. Yes, chaos. A mismatched cup and saucer means you'll either marry twice or have an affair. If that hasn't scared you away from drinking coffee in Iceland, just know that if your coffee has bubbles and you sip them, you are likely to become wealthy.