Brian Burton ’22 is building Unami matcha and focusing on sustainability

Brian K. Burton ’22 Maxwell, grew up as someone you could look to for all the answers. A self-acclaimed planner, Burton says that his childhood growing up in Chicago involved a lot of assurance. He says, “I always knew what I wanted,” but when it came to applying to colleges, Burton’s decision ironically came on a whim. He says, “I was actually traveling to New Jersey to see Seton Hall and me and my mom stopped by at Syracuse…every student we talked to while we were there had authentic experiences to share.” Now a senior majoring in Economics and minoring in Informational Technology, Design, and Start-Up and Finance, he is excited to transfer the skills he’s learned at SU into the real world.

Burton considers himself a morning person at heart as no matter when he goes to bed, his body will wake him sometime between six and eight a.m. Part of his morning routine is drinking matcha tea, which he says elevates his mornings to another level. “It’s my coffee alternative.” While standing in line, Burton noticed that there were always options to take coffee bottled and, on the go, but nothing for matcha. “It’s something you always need to prepare ahead of time. I really saw an opportunity.”  He decided to take advantage of this opportunity and start his own venture, Umami matcha, a readymade bottled matcha company focused on simplicity and sustainability.

Sustainability is a hallmark that Burton says is important for him to emphasize no matter what project he’s working on. He says, “I want sustainability to be a part of everything I work on. I really admire companies like Tetrapak that use plant plastic to replace recycled bottles and I see using that technology in my matcha bottles.”

He says, “I started this last semester and already it’s taught me so much about myself.” Burton says the company is currently in the process of customer discovery, diving into the design and creative aspects of the logo and branding. Although he plans on getting a full-time job at The Org in New York City next year he says he will continue to work on this venture with the support of his company.  “They were impressed by my rigor with Umami, and they really want me to continue with this project.”

Burton is currently looking for team members to help get Umami off the ground. If you’re a matcha lover or an innovator interested in being part of a great food and beverage startup, reach out to him at

Story by Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow Jack Lyons ’22; photo supplied