Sebastian Michaelis has very important taste buds.
The Londoner is Tetley’s master blender and tea sommelier and his taste buds are insured for a cool $1.5 million.
His job requires him to taste 500 teas a day, reports northjersey.com, which comes out to about 36 every half hour. But just like wine tasting, he spits after each sample.
Michaelis explains that most Americans – no surprise – don’t know a whole lot about tea so he attempts to spread a little tea knowledge.
For instance, there is actually more caffeine in tea leaves than there is in coffee beans, but, “because you use more coffee than tea to make a brew, a cup of coffee has about twice the caffeine of tea.” Good to know!
He points out that it is a common misconception that tea bags are inferior to loose leaf tea – thank goodness. But did not comment on when he adds his milk (he’s an expert though – so probably after the water.) He also noted that Darjeeling is the champagne of tea due to its complex flavor.
Michaelis trained under a veteran tea sommelier for five years, and spent time in the tea meccas of East Africa and Asia.
Now, he has his own bodyguards when traveling so that he doesn’t get kidnapped.
Tea is clearly a very serious business.