I can sniff out a good cuppa in 15 seconds

A MASTER blender is to have his taste buds insured by a leading tea company for £1 million.

Sebastian Michaelis, a master blender who is to have his taste buds insured by the leading tea company for £1 million.

Sebastian Michaelis, one of a small group of tasters employed by Tetley, can grade a variety of tea in just 15 seconds.

He spent nine years touring tea gardens in Africa and India before embarking on his unusual career testing thousands of different blends.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Michaelis said: “Blending tea, like blending whisky or champagne, is a fine art.

“First, I examine and grade the colour, size and density of the leaf, then I assess the brew’s purity of colour (its sparkle), the weight of the tea in the mouth (its body) and the overall liveliness of the tea on the palate (its zing).”

Alex Snowden, senior brand manager at Tetley, said: “Our master blenders have over 900 years of tea-tasting experience between them and taste 40,000 cups of tea every week.

“This is essential to achieving the best blends.

“So, their taste buds are extremely important to our business.”

It is not just the world of tea that has seen hugely talented tasters emerge.

Last year The Yorkshire Post reported how coffee buyers at Taylors of Harrogate confirmed they have analysed long-term weather forecasts stretching as far ahead as the next 40 years as they face mounting challenges to continue production amid increasingly volatile meteorological conditions.

Employees Rick Tingley and Hannah Eatough were among the highly-skilled coffee tasters to have achieved the Q Grader qualification from the Coffee Quality Institute in America.