Oh, sure, it’s a rather frivolous promotional piece. Today’s Telegraph (UK) gives us a glimpse into how quality coffee is marketed in the UK versus here: Costa Coffee’s taster has tongue insured for £10 million – Telegraph. Whereas American coffee pros seem to go ga-ga at the altar of Q grader certification, the UK opts for a little more of the populist Hollywood glam route: i.e, my-tongue-as-Michael-Flatley‘s-legs.

“Coffee taster Gennaro Pelliccia, who samples products for Costa Coffee, has had his tongue insured for £10 million with Lloyd’s of London,” opens the article. Now does that include fire and theft? Costa Coffee runs a globally ambitious, sizeable coffee chain — not unlike the UK’s answer to Starbucks. (Last year we posted a trip report on a Costa Coffee outlet in the heart of New Delhi, India.)

The article goes on to list a variety of past “body part insurance policies.” However, it oddly missed making any mention of Angela Mount, whose taste buds were also insured for £10 million earlier this decade — though as a wine taster. In 2007, we reported on her foray into coffee tasting for enviro/ethical touchy-feely roaster, Percol.

Thus Costa Coffee seems to have missed that their press release wasn’t entirely original. Still, the investment could have been worse: they could have insured his taste buds through A.I.G.

At Costa Coffee, a slip of the tongue could cost $14 million

2009 USBC: Can you feel the Intelligentsia love?

As we mentioned Friday, over the weekend we occasionally peeked at the 2009 U.S. Barista Championship on the live Ustream.tv feed. Which, unfortunately, makes for viewing that is about as dynamic as watching 50 successive mini-episodes of “Iron Chef” — a TV show to which many USBC advocates compare the event — with the added twists that the featured ingredient in every episode is coffee and that the event organizers suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

But what a weekend for Intelligentsia. As if sweeping the top three prizes at the 2009 WRBC wasn’t enough, four of the top five finishers at the USBC hailed from Intelligentsia. Talk about a juggernaut.

Congratulations to Mike Phillips of Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, Chicago who won the overall competition. He has our condolences as well — for being crowned the U.S. champion the same unfortunate year that the winner earned an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the World Barista Championship in exotic … Atlanta, GA (or, as we like to call it, Mylanta).

Top three USBC finishers, courtesy Barista Magazine