Tea blender and master taster Sebastian Michaelis got a whopping $1.5 million insurance for his taste buds. His employer, Tetley, the world’s second largest tea manufacturer, insured his 10,000 taste buds for $150 each in case he loses his special gustatory abilities.
The insurance seems legit and justifiable like the famous body part insurance policies of some A-list celebrities. Now, Michaelis is considered one of them.
Over his career, Michaelis has tasted about 300,000 - 400,000 blends of tea. He has only a few seconds to identify, describe, and grade different characteristics and flavors of tea samples. Imagine having to taste between 500 and 1000 different varieties of tea a day, pray your tongue would not burn or lose its sensation. With this $1.5 million taste buds insurance, Michaelis is now protected and can happily keep doing his job without a worry.
While reading his story, one can’t help but wonder what it’s like to hit the taste jackpot. What fun would it be wake up each day trying new flavors and deciding what tea can be sold in the market. Here’s a piece of good news for all aspiring tasters out there: supertasters are not born but made. Yes, we can train to distinguish flavors, remember and appreciate them.
Michaelis has a Philosophy degree with little to no culinary background, he’s just obsessed at sipping, slurping and making detailed mental notes of everything he has tasted - especially tea. He’s one of the many living proofs that you can make a livelihood and a career through your senses. Don’t you find the million dollar tongue insurance incredibly tempting?