A Tea Taster’s Tongue Is Insured For $1 Million, And Here Are 5 Things Worth Less

I like to pretend that the dollar value placed on things has some basic sense of order. I know that “money is a concept” and the economy is fucked and the world is a spinning dust ball where we trade dead trees for plastic toys, but I still actively pretend there’s a sliding scale of dollar value that can be predicted. However, all of those ideas were quickly extinguished when I read about the master tea taster whose tongue is worth $1 million.

Yes, you read that right. There is a living human man whose tongue is worth more than your yearly salary (if you make more than a million annually and are reading this article, feel free to Venmo me a little cash). Apparently, the modern tea legend Sebastian Michaelis has been swirling gourmet teas in his gullet for over a decade, having tasted somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 teas in his career. Um, talk about thirsty (cue the drum roll and deep weeping)!

The specifics of his job entail a lot more than swigging fine teas, though his main responsibility is tasting specific combinations of tea flavors so that recipes can be fine-tuned, consistent, and top quality. Given his experience and clout, his bosses at Tetley insured his tongue for more than $1 million, which means each one of his individual 100,000 taste buds is priced at $100 each.

In case the absurdity of a human tongue being priced at $1 million dollars hasn’t hit you yet, I have compiled a list of five things worth less than Michaelis’ glorious tongue.

An Olympic-Size Swimming Pool

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CREDIT: Wikimedia

There’s no fixed price for building and maintaining an Olympic-size swimming pool, but the going range spans from around $500,000 up to the $1 million range. That means it still costs less than Michaelis’ tongue. But will it get you as wet? That has yet to be seen.

Tiffany Castle In Kansas

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CREDIT: Wikimedia

For just $600,000 you could purchase the sprawling Tiffany Castle that boasts 4,282 square feet and features a polished staircase you can descend down while yelling, “Margaret, fetch my tea!” Not only that, but there are stain glassed windows and the surrounding silence of Kansas. But really, wouldn’t you rather shell out another $400,000 to watch a gourmet tea taster do a spit take?!

Your Very Own Pet Lion

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CREDIT: Wikimedia

My negative feelings about the extremely dangerous and selfish concept of exotic pet ownership are being pushed to the side for the realization that you could PURCHASE AND OWN MULTIPLE LIONS for the same dollar value as the purchase or damage of Michaelis’ tongue. The kings and queens of the jungle go for anywhere from $1,000 to $40,000! It’s truly a jungle out there.

A Domino’s Pizza Franchise

Tenleytown Domino's Pizza
CREDIT: IStock

You can legitimately purchase and run your own Domino’s pizza franchise for 10 years for the low price of $461,000. The initial fee is only $25,000, but the accumulated funds add up to nearly a half million. Imagine all the unruly teens you could feed and the beautiful pepperoni burns you could initiate onto your own tongue for less than half the price of some douchebag’s precious tastebuds (sorry Michaelis, it’s not personal).

30 Gorgeous Diamonds

Loose diamonds on black surface
CREDIT: IStock

Would you rather be dripping in queenly diamond droplets or behold the active tongue of a cultured tea expert? Financially speaking, if you were to purchase the cheaper one-carat diamonds (priced around $3,000), you could cover yourself in a puddle of them before even spending enough money to hold a conversation with the high-end tongue of Michaelis.

Honestly, most things I’m aware of in the world cost less than $1 million because my reality and material sensibilities are scaled to my less-wealthy circumstances. So, this list could potentially top 100 things that price lower than the illustrious tongue of this Tetley tea taster. However, I think we’ve reached the point where it’s best we all take a break and boil some water for a hot cup of tea, because investing in your tastebuds potentially holds more perks than a 401k.