Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Coffee taster's tongue worth 10m


Coffee taster explains what he does

The tongue of the chief coffee taster for a worldwide chain of coffee shops has been insured for 10m ($13.95m).

Gennaro Pelliccia personally tastes a sample of each batch of raw coffee beans at its London plant before they are roasted and shipped to its stores.

"My 18 years of experience enable me to distinguish between thousands of flavours," he says.

Costa Coffee, which sells 108 million cups of coffee worldwide each year, aims to double its number of outlets.

The insurance policy was taken out with Lloyds of London.

"The taste buds of a Master of Coffee are as important as the vocal cords of a singer or the legs of a top model, and this is one of the biggest single insurance policies taken out for one person," said a spokesman for Lloyd's broker Glencairn Limited, which arranged the insurance cover.

"In my profession my taste buds and sensory skills are crucial... and allow me to distinguish any defects," said Mr Pelliccia.

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