Review Branding Drinks

If You Love Freshly Ground Matcha Flavors, Cuzen Matcha Might Become Like a Cousin to You

UPDATED: Nov 25th, 2021 (originally post Nov 25th, 2020)

I LOVE matcha, but I did not quickly get the Cuzen Matcha sponsored ad because the focus seems to be more on the look of their Instagram ad/page than effectively communicating what they do. It is also the one reason why I am doing this Cuzen matcha review.

I find these types of Instagram ads and pages eff’n obnoxious because it is counter to an advertisement to QUICKLY convey who and what you do although I decided to engage them anyways. Yes, I may have engaged them due to their approach of having an aesthetically driven page which I admit I am drawn to, and possibly why I was persistent? Well, for whatever reason, I made several frustrating comments via their Instagram comments section to get the complete picture in which they patiently came through like real mutha effin g’s.

With so many green tea and matcha companies, people need to get to the f*ck’n point which is why I’m giving you the semi-quick rundown (Busineswire.com did a better job at it tho, but more on that later).

Photo Description: The product shots of the Cuzen Matcha Maker. In the image, 3 product shots are part of the composite image. Image one, the packet of tencha is going into the canister, image 2 is the strength setting, and image 3 is the grinding and whisking of the product.
My initial thoughts, why do you need a machine to produce matcha? Imagery is courtesy of Cuzen Matcha

My Instagram Cuzen Matcha 5 Second Pitch

Cuzen Matcha allows you to grind your own matcha with their $369 matcha maker (my Cuzen matcha review is a competitive analysis and a look into the people behind the company).

Who is Cuzen Matcha

  • Founded by two Japanese dudes.
  • Headquartered in the SF Bay Area (possibly in San Mateo)
Photo Description: Images of young and present day? Oki Hatta and Ejiro Tsukada, the founders of Cuzen Matcha.
You know you’re homies when you go from college to working/forming a company together. Imagery is courtesy of Cuzen Matcha

About These Two Dudes

  • Ejiro Tsukada, Co-founder & CEO
    • Tokyo born and raised.
    • University of Tokyo (where the two became friends).
    • Stanford Graduate School of Business.
    • A decade in the tea business.
    • Led the lunch of Iyemon Tokucha (a Suntory green tea).
    • Opened Stonemill Matcha in SF (they tout that is one of the busiest matcha cafes in the world).
  • Oki Hatta, Co-founder & CPO
    • Born in Yama, Japan.
    • University of Tokyo (where the two became friends).
    • Graduated from UTokyo Faculty of Medicine.
    • Worked as a data scientist before starting his own data science company.

What Does the Cuzen Matcha Maker Do

  • Product Offerings: They offer tencha which is matcha grade tea leaves that are shade grown organic Japanese tea leaves.
    • Premium (leaf packet): spring harvest aka “ceremonial grade.”
    • Signature (leaf packet): spring and summer harvest aka “ceremonial/culinary grade.”
  • Matcha Maker: They designed their own matcha maker to grind and mix your own matcha.
    • $369, basically the maker and 3 packets (a $70 value based on the 20g packets).
Photo Description: the product shots of their two offerings which consist of the premium and signature Cuzen Matcha packets.
I’ve always wanted to live the premium life, and now I hopefully can live it via matcha. Imagery is courtesy of Cuzen Matcha

From organic tea farms in Kagoshima, Japan. Their farming process uses no chemical fertilizers and no chemical pesticides, so you enjoy the real taste of matcha. 


More of the details

Cuzen Matcha Maker Specifications

  • Particle size under 20 micrometers/micron (μm).
  • 3 strength settings: single, 1.5, and double shot.
  • How long to produce one serving: according to their video, it took a little over 2 minutes to produce one serving although the entire process was under under 3 minutes.
  • One of the partners own a matcha cafe although I doubt it is for commercial use.
  • The matcha maker is designed in Northern California, engineered in Japan, and manufactured in Shenzhen, China.
  • Height: 13.4″, width: 8.7″, depth: 4.7″, weight: 4.6 lb.
  • One-year warranty.
  • Beyond one year, they do offer replacement parts which is good to see (they’re in it for the long haul).

“Engineered to reproduce the qualities of a traditional stone mill and bamboo whisk – with much less effort.”

– Cuzen Matcha
Photo Description: The product shot of the components of the Matcha Maker which calls out the wooden lid, ceramic mill, tea leaf hopper, control panel, whisking cup, magnetic whisk, and the platform.
I’m in a awe of the magnetic whisk because who isn’t in awe of magnetism!?! Imagery is courtesy of Cuzen Matcha

This Is a Very Design Forward Company, but Who Da Fock Cares

Well I care, now that I know what they and their product does, but I only wish that they had focused on clearly communicating that versus all the design centric content. Although that does not matter, and I say that it doesn’t because I initially went to school for industrial design. So coming across Cuzen Matcha who won a Future of Foods for 2020 at the SF Design Week really got my attention which is counter to my gripe, yea hypocrisy. Except, in the land of 140 characters, swiping left or right, and endless vertical scrolling, a million and one tea companies/products, a more focused message would be appreciated even for design centric mofo’s like myself.

Cuzen Matcha won a Future of Foods for 2020 at the SF Design Week.

Photo Description: the images is of the various awards they have received from the CES innovation award, to the San Francisco Design Week Award Winner 2020.
I just wonder if a Chinese (CN) knock-off will ever come about for $59.99. Imagery is courtesy of Cuzen Matcha

I also can’t help but think of Czechia due to the CZ, but the CZ stands for (Cu) “ku” 空 + “Zen” 禅

THE MEANING OF CUZEN: I only found the definition on INSTAGRAM, so their social media did come through on something which they expalin as “The term “kū” (空, or “sunyata” in Sanskrit) is normally translated as “emptiness.” However, it also embodies the concepts of interdependence and connection. In many types of Buddhism, including Zen, the “self” is considered empty of intrinsic existence and nature. The notion of self exists in our connection with nature (sustainability), connection with people around you (social well-being), and connection with “yourself.” That is Cuzen (空禅) Matcha.” – @revtakazen

This Is Why You Should Care (Should You Buy a Cuzen Matcha Maker)

Most likely “matcha freshness” is the primary reason for the product/company because I bet the taste difference is negligible or possibly not as easily discernible if you’re not an aficionado of matcha? Except, maybe nutrient level ultimately wins out? Well, if a lot of this may seem trivial, I will say that THE JAPANESE ARE CONSTANTLY TRYING TO DO THE UTMOST IN QUALITY. #culture

Cuzen Matcha (freshly ground matcha)Conventional Matcha
They tout “freshly ground leaves, fresh aroma, complex flavor, long shelf life, consistent fine grind, automatic whisking, and no clumping” over conventional matcha.Oxidation can make matcha stale, altering its taste, appearance, and nutrient level.
Photo Description: this image is of the preservation comparison of pre-ground tea leaves (matcha) and freshly ground tea leaves (tencha prior to being matcha).
50 Shades of Green going on here. Imagery is courtesy of Cuzen Matcha

You don’t have to produce just matcha, or matcha lattes, and you can just grind the matcha to be used in any number of dishes such as these.

The Pricing Will Test How Much You Care

I don’t know about you, but when I hear somebody constantly tout design, the first thing I’m thinking is “yea, it looks great, but how much.” So just how much does their starter kit cost and what exactly comes in it:

  • $369 for the the starter kit.
    • Matcha maker.
    • 1x premium matcha leaf.
    • 2x signature matcha leaf.
    • Whisking cup.
    • Adapter.
    • Quick start manual & post card.
  • $369 for the holiday starter kit (for a limited time and limited quantities).
    • Matcha maker.
    • 1x premium matcha leaf.
    • 2x signature matcha leaf.
    • Whisking cup.
    • Adapter.
    • Quick start manual & post card.
    • Cuzen Matcha reusable gift bag.
    • Holiday recipe card.

The Price Comparison of Cuzen Fresh Matcha vs. Conventional Matcha

Like ink cartridges for a printer, I want to know how much the tea packets cost compared to conventional pre-ground matcha. BTW: Cuzen Matcha is working on a Matcha Leaf subscription feature that will allow people to customize recurring orders at a 15% discount.

Cuzen Matcha (freshly ground matcha)SizePriceSellerPrice Per Gram
Premium blend20g$30Cuzen Matcha$1.50
Premium blend60g$90 82Cuzen Matcha$1.36
Signature blend20g$20Cuzen Matcha$1.00
Signature blend60g$60 $52Cuzen Matcha.86
Photo Description: the USDA Organic, JAS and certified organic by OCO logo.

NOTE: This is not an apples and apples comparison because the above product information is Cuzen Tencha (green tea leaves) versus pre-ground matcha powder (below). Also, not every product below is organic, and I just put together a wide range of products to give a price range.

Conventional Matcha (random brands and grades)SizePriceSellerPrice Per Gram
Eco-taste, organic certified113g$12.99Amazon.11
Ippodo Tea, Ummon20g$30Ippodo Tea$1.50
Ippodo Tea, Ummon40g$54Ippodo Tea$1.35
Ocha Co Premium Organic Japanese Green Tea Powder100g$17.99Ocha Co.18
Matcha Outlet, Pure Japanese Matcha Ryori, USDA Organic Green Tea Powder, Culinary Grade56g$19.99Walmart.35
Matcha Konomi, Akira Organic Matcha, Stone Ground Green Tea Powder, Ceremonial Grade/Premium Quality 30g$23.95Matcha Konomi.80
Mizuba Tea Co., stone milled40g$20Mizuba Tea.50
Photo Description: the various stages of green tea production (tencha). The product is used for fresh matcha powder.
How could potheads not love green tea or matcha since they have a thing for leaves.

If you have seen any of my content before, you would know I have been on a warpath to cut through the bullshit of hacks in the mainstream media, to entire media outlets, but the worst hacks, the business hacks (who will do anything for a buck). Fortunately, this time around, this brand/company and their marketing efforts aside from their Instagram ads, is very good. Which is also why I can say that the best source for additional information are their own marketing efforts from their:

Yo Cuz, I’m Actually Quite Impressed by Cuzen Matcha

Amongst “Japanese” companies, Cuzen has done a proper job of marketing and branding via their website and kickstarter which is a rarity. Something so rare that you probably had no clue that a company like Sony had two tablet offerings, a $1,700 ear bud, to a “wearable speaker.”

Go back through my blog, and you won’t find a bunch of praise where praise is not due although this brand has managed many of my concerns and expectations that I had. Although, where they have fallen short, they more then came through with their service and all their marketing efforts. That matters because I can only imagine if they had spent this much time on their marketing collateral, that the rest of their efforts has got to be just as strong…. like three taps of the strength setting.

5 comments

  1. Looks like a great machine but I have some issues with it. I feel like they could be a bit more informative with the info on their website. I wish they would teach thier customers the correct term of the tea leaves that are used to create matcha “tencha” and not term them as matcha leaves and spread the right amount of information around and I wish that packets the sell their leaves in weren’t $20 and apparently the only leaves you can use in the mill. Looks wise and in the mind it’s a great product but on paper there are a few things that aren’t too great about it.

    1. I was thinking the same thing regarding not at least having the term “tencha” in parentheses which is why I used it in my blog post. Although unlike them, a business, their primary driver is to not educate the public, and maybe they are for some reason trying not to come off as Japanese specific? For whatever reason, you seriously caught what I was partially confused by on their Instagram page because they don’t say tencha either. It’s like when I went to a restaurant with literal translations of Japanese dishes which was off putting to me to see “grilled chicken” to “grilled octopus.” The Japanese restaurant didn’t say yakitori or takoyaki. I also have to say I liked hearing from you since you’re a tea enthusiast.

      1. To be it seems more as if they are focused on the aesthetics and the health benefits than the actual tea itself all of their pr features mention endless points about the health benefits of the freshly ground matcha but hardly anything about the taste and the quality which is really off putting to me. Yes obviously matcha has health benefits but more than anything it’s about quality and the way that it taste as a tea enthusiast that’s what I look for over any kind of health benefits that tea boasts. They also point out it reduces use of plastic but surely countless foil lined bpackets of their leaves and the parts in the machine are using much more single use newly made plastic and metal and I use when I take matcha from my a metal tin, with a bamboo scoop, place it into my, porcelain chawan and, whisk it by hand with my bamboo chasen. It makes no sense to me. Yes I would certainly love the idea of freshly ground matcha every morning I’m sure that would be the dream but personally I don’t think they are going about it the right way.

      2. When it comes to taste tho, I think it’s subjective which is something you can’t really market properly although I get what you’re saying. I also can’t stand advertisements that get off on touting “non-gmo, gluten free,” and every other buzzword which is geared strictly towards Individuals who eat to live vs. live to eat. The point you killed it with, is the plastic consumption and saying how your porcelain chawan and hand whisk tops that all, haha. Yea, you’re so right. I mean, it all comes down to if there is a discernible difference in taste and quality of freshly ground matcha vs. pre-ground.

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