A master Tetley tea blender has had his tastebuds insured for £1m. There are 1,500 different varieties of tea in the world and the palate of Sebastian Michaelis is so refined, he can taste and grade any one of them in just 15 seconds.
It takes five years training to become a Tetley Tea Taster, and the whole team has over 900 years of tea tasting experience between them. Blending is a continuous learning process with strict measures of quality control.
Michaelis will be covered by Tetley to protect his prize asset, which has distinguished more than 250,000 blends of tea during his Tetley career.
"Blending tea, like blending whisky or Champagne, is a fine art," said Michaelis.
"First I examine and grade the colour, size and density of the leaf. Then I assess the brew's purity of colour, known as its sparkle; the body, which can be described as the weight of the tea in the mouth; and the zing, which is the overall liveliness of the tea on the palate.
"This is how we ensure each Tetley blend is made to deliver the same quality taste, cup after cup."