Cuzen Matcha Maker Review – Taking The Ceremony Out of Tea-Making
Every once in a while, a unique pitch comes to my desk to check out a tech device that's unlike anything else I've seen before. While I tend to focus on gaming accessories and peripherals, it's these unique goods that can get me more excited than the latest mouse and headset from the big manufacturers. This time, I wanted to to check out the Cuzen Matcha, a stylish kitchen centerpiece that aims to make the art of brewing and grinding your own matcha as simple as possible.
Out of the box, the Cuzen Matcha is nearly ready for personal use. The machine itself comes with only a handful of parts for the user to prep and clean before its first use: the main machine base, a reservoir that is just large enough to hold exactly one of Cuzen's proprietary matcha blends, a small mixing cup with magnetic stirrer, and the obligatory power cable. The grinding base for the Cuzen Match is the most complex part of the machine and can be freely disassembled for cleaning or to replace the ceramic lower mill (Cuzen offers a mill replacement service in the event that your matcha tastes too weak or too strong for your palate)
The grinding tower for the Cuzen Matcha machine is the most interesting and complex piece of this tea-making tool that fits neatly into the neo-futuristic design of the matcha blending machine. With a leaf reservoir that fits exactly one packet of Cuzen's 20g tea packets, there shouldn't be any concern of wasted matcha in between blends. Each package comes with enough tea to produce around twenty cups and Cuzen offers two types of matcha leaf for purchase: a Signature blend that's meant for mixing at $20/package and their Premium leaf at 50% more ($30/batch) that's intended for drinking straight.
Matcha's signature difference versus a standard tea leaf is in the size of the particles you're brewing. What the Cuzen matcha does is takes their special blend of tencha and grinds it down to a super fine particulate, far finer than any home spice grinder could ever perform. We're talking taking the size of each particle of matcha down below ten microns. This gives the fine matcha powder the ability to easily blend into your preferred drink or solution.
Blending a nice cup of matcha is such a straightforward process with the Cuzen Matcha that I'd even trust a small child to handle. Once your preferred blend of tea leaves are loaded into the reservoir (remember, the Cuzen can hold a full pack of roughly twenty cups at a time), the removable cup needs to be filled up with two ounces of water (there's a small guiding lip on the stirring cup) and set in place. After that, just tap one of the two buttons on the top of the Cuzen Matcha to turn it on and another to set the intensity of brewing. If you're planning on drinking a warm cup of matcha straight, you'll be fine with leaving it on the first level but mixing and matcha lattes could certainly use a higher level of intensity. The downside to picking a stronger blend is that you'll obviously consume a marginally higher amount of matcha leaves, leaving less chance to get the full twenty cups out of a refill pod. If blending with a hot beverage, you can skip the cold water, opting for room temperature water instead, or simply turn the machine onto grind-only mode.
Hidden in the base of the Cuzen Matcha are a couple of magnets that help to keep the whisking cup in place and also ones that stir the whisk at a rapid pace, automatically mixing together cold water with the microscopic matcha particles as they fall freely from the grinding mill. The Cuzen Matcha is a symphony of mechanical noises, from the measuring and grinding of the tea leaves into a fine matcha powder, the infusion of said powder into the whisking cup, and the rapid, rhythmic whisking of the cup underneath as it blends into a dark green solution. The process itself only takes roughly a minute and a half for the basic level, or double that if you're looking for a higher strength matcha shot. After grinding and whisking finishes off, a quiet beep lets you know that your matcha is ready for consumption, either as-is or ready to be blended into other uses. Most of what I drank in testing the Cuzen Matcha were sparkling spritzers, mixing together a double strength amount of the Signature blend along with around 6 ounces of sparkling water (a SodaStream works in a pinch but I found that much of the finer fizz and mouthfeel is lost versus proper seltzer)
Being required to use a proprietary refill for any device can be a sore spot for consumers and Cuzen Matcha is unfortunately one of those products that requests that the user only purchases and prepares tea leaves that are specially produced for this specific tea grinder. When I spoke with one of the product designers, he mentioned that the tea leaves that they chose for the two types of matcha refills were chosen in part due to their robust flavor but also their low moisture content. Other tea leaves, as it was explained to me, could clog up the mill and ceramic grinding blades, leading to permanent damage.
Cleanup is quite simple on the Cuzen Matcha, given how few moving parts there are to contend with. After your preferred grind and mix, the miing cup can be removed from its base and the whisk utensil just pops right out for an easy soak or sponge cleaning. There's typically some small matcha particulate left behind after blending a cup, so a quick dab with a wet rag can clean up any powder that's fallen onto the base of the Cuzen Matcha while I typically try to wipe away the bottom of the grinding mill with a dry edge of the cleaning cloth as to prevent any moisture from building up, especially if I'm making a few cups of fresh matcha for guests. The grinding mill itself does need to be removed and cleaned roughly once a month, or whenever you knock out a full packet of their Signature tea leaves and need to give it a refill. It's a fairly simple process to disassemble and clean, provided you read the included instruction manual before doing so.
This is the part of the review where I wrap things up and let you, the readers, know if the product is worth the asking price. At $369, the Cuzen Matcha is a tough sell for budding tea drinkers that have yet to enjoy their first cup of ceremonial grade matcha, all the while tea masters might balk at having the ritual of grinding tencha leaves by hand performed by a machine. That being said, the Cuzen Matcha could be a unique addition to one's growing shelf of kitchen gadgets and useful for infusing matcha into all manner of cooking and baking for its health benefits and taste. The automated measuring and whisking could help eliminate any RSI from matcha whisking and even the Premium packet of sencha is far cheaper than feeding a daily matcha addiction at whatever tea shop serves your area.
Cuzen matcha currently offers a holiday starter kit for $369 that includes two packets of Signature matcha, one packet of Premium tea, a mocktail recipe guide, and a holiday gift bag.
[Editor's note: The Cuzen Matcha was provided by their marketing team for product testing and review.]
The Cuzen Matcha is more of a centerpiece than an everyday tool, offering up a perfect spot of matcha on demand. At more than $350, this matcha maker might just be for people that want a conversation starter rather than a device out of necessity.
- Very simple to set up
- Only a few parts to clean and maintain
- Perfectly whisked matcha at the push of a button
- Both flavors of matcha are perfect for budding tea enthusiasts and seasoned pros alike
- Expensive for a device that has one singular purpose
- Each cup of matcha costs $1-1.50
- Refill packets don't last the full 20 cups if making a higher strength grind
- Proprietary matcha refills required