Photo/Illutration The Cuzen Matcha green tea machine is shown on July 20 in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward. (Takuya Miyano)

Eijiro Tsukada tasted a freshly brewed cup of tea that changed his life forever.

The beverage maker’s employee was so impressed that he quit his job at age 43 to find a way for others to enjoy the same experience.

Tsukada has since been pursuing how to reproduce the quality taste that can never be replicated with products in plastic bottles for consumers.

He's been at work developing and pitching a matcha green tea maker, dubbed the Cuzen Matcha, to the Japanese and U.S. markets.

The brainchild of Tsukada, 47, has been praised by Shaun White, a retired Winter Olympic snowboard gold medalist, attracting considerable attention.

In February this year, the popular White showed a Cuzen Matcha maker on social media, stating that he makes matcha with it “every single day.”


Eijiro Tsukada, second from right, and his wife, Shino, third from right, exhibit their matcha machine at a large home electronics show in January 2020 in Las Vegas. (Provided by World Matcha)

Tsukada was previously involved in the development of bottled green tea at Suntory Holdings Ltd.

When he asked a sommelier to sample offerings from different manufacturers for comparison, the finding was that they “all taste the same.”

The reasons for their uniform flavor and color stem from high-temperature sterilization, a process essential for such products to be kept at room temperature on shelves.

This means beverages made swiftly with teapots from quality tea leaves cannot compare with their counterparts served in plastic bottles.

“It appeared just the natural course of things once I was told of the fact,” said Tsukada.

Tsukada attempted to commercialize a product marked by a fragrant aroma resembling that of tea prepared in a teapot, but there were limitations to what he could do within his company.

His passion for quality outweighed the advantages of continuing to work with his employer, so Tsukada decided to quit although he had already turned 40.


Taking into account of the growing popularity of matcha among U.S. consumers, Tsukada developed the Cuzen Matcha machine to serve freshly processed tea at home like coffee makers.

The Cuzen Matcha went on display at the CES, the world’s largest consumer tech show, in Las Vegas in January 2020, winning the innovation award. After it hit the market in the United States in October the same year, the Cuzen Matcha was recognized by Time magazine among its designated best inventions.

A characteristic of the device is its simple design. After matcha leaves are put into a cylinder at the machine’s top, water is added. Pushing a button will cause the ground-up leaves to drop to be blended with water to finish the tea.

While the completed beverage can be enjoyed as is, the matcha goes well with milk or fizzy water as well.

No less than 4,000 units of the Cuzen Matcha have been shipped all over the world, mainly in the United States, to date.

Matcha leaves are grown by an organic tea farmer in Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture. Firstly and secondly picked tea leaves are used to boost the especially high quality of the beverage. 

“The style enables users to enjoy the tea’s aroma directly,” said Tsukada. “Increasing the consumption of high-quality leaves will help tea farmers as their number is on the decline in Japan.”

When it comes to cracking open the U.S. market, Tsukada had bitter experiences on two occasions during his days at Suntory.

Tsukada released a bottled Japanese tea product in the nation in 2008 but quickly withdrew in part due to the financial crisis following the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Tsukada traveled to the United States again in 2018 to open a matcha cafe. Although the business was on the track to success, he was ordered to return to Japan because of in-house personnel changes within less than six months.

“With these developments, I became confident that there is a demand for matcha in the United States,” said Tsukada.

The Cuzen Matcha carries a price tag of 29,000 yen ($206) in Japan.