Client country: Australia

Blak Brews is a fully Australian company that distributes tea of organic, Indigenous ingredients. Founder, Troy Benjamin, started researching native herbs for his wife’s business idea related to essential oils. Visiting a tea master’s shop in Geelong to learn more about Indigenous plants, he got sucked into the world of tea, the previous business plan took a turn, and Blak Brews came to life.

Their mission is no less than to become the most drinkable tea on the planet. Their products are a celebration of Australia, and a huge part of their endeavor is to connect Australia and invite people to enjoy tea together.

When you hear Troy talk about tea, you’ll immediately sense that tea is not just a drink for him and his crew, it’s a passion: “We’re about what can we enjoy together. And tea it is. Campfires it is. Land and country it is. We’re trying to wrap that up in a teabag.”

Product of Blak Brews

Blak Brews reached a major milestone when Troy was cast for Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars TV show and won the grand prize and Gordon Ramsay’s mentorship!

Troy shares his journey and experience on the show, and together with his web developer, Istephan Cingoz, they explain how Troy’s appearance on Food Stars and major success of winning the show affected his business and website, and what’s next for Blak Brews.

Join us as we unveil Blak Brews’ stunning adventure and success and how they conquered a massive traffic spike with Kinsta’s help.

The problem

When Troy started Blak Brews in late 2022, he chose Shopify to launch the site. It’s a platform that provides an out-of-the-box, hosted solution to launching an online store. Shopify served Blak Brews well, but then something happened: Troy was selected to compete on Gordon Ramsay’s team!

The show started filming; not only did Troy have to face challenges on-set (like the complete reimagining and rebranding of a classic Australian snack, delivering a fine dining experience, or making Vegemite appealing to American audiences), but he also needed to make sure Blak Brews’ site was up-to-speed and ready to handle thousands of simultaneous visitors and requests before Food Stars started airing.

CMS limitations and expected traffic spikes

Right after the show Food Stars ended, Troy and Istephan began preparing the Blak Brews website for increased traffic to ensure it would run smoothly. During their review of different options, they realized the need for a solution that was not only more customizable but also more cost-effective.

“With Shopify, we had to keep adding more premium subscriptions to programs to do what we want to do,” Troy explains. “That’s when Istephan’s expertise came in especially handy.”

Through his web development background, he was able to find the perfect match for Blak Brews’ website and advised the switch from Shopify.


Range of native Blak Brews tea

Troy was locked into Shopify, and we saw fees increasing unjustifiably. For the growth they were expecting, costs would have been over the roof.

Thus the migration from Shopify to WooCommerce was initiated to create a fresh, new site that could appeal to increased traffic while each episode of Food Stars would be on air.

Steph explained: “We were already envisioning what the potential estimate of visitors could be on the site at the same time. One thousand. Two thousand – easily. We needed to make sure that Shopify could do this. Yes, they can, but it’s through the roof. With WooCommerce, it’s a lot more open; customers can do so much more, and it’s way more cost-effective because it’s all open-source. Lot more choices, lot more variables. And it’s great for projects like this.”

Besides a more optimizable, cost-effective platform and clean code, Istephan also wanted to ensure that all pages loaded fast under heavy traffic. As an expert in optimizing sites, he understands the importance of speed testing and site performance:

You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but if each webpage is loading 4-5 seconds, your conversions are going to decrease.

The solution

A platform to handle heavy traffic and simultaneous requests

Istephan, with his extensive expertise in website development, has spent over seven years researching managed hosting providers to find the best fit for each site’s specific requirements.

He is willing to go the extra mile to make sure his clients’ sites are in good hands. Istephan recalls looking into one of Kinsta’s resources during his research.

For many sites, I used Flywheel, which was good at first, however, it started to degrade in quality. What I loved was Kinsta’s side-by-side take, the comparison ‘Flywheel vs. Kinsta.’ That blew me away; how comprehensive that blog post was, and that got me really excited when I had my frustrations at Flywheel.

The landing page of Blak Brews

“I was working with WPX hosting; however, the volume of traffic that Troy was having wasn’t going to work. Because they wouldn’t be able to handle thousands of visitors simultaneously, and that’s what Kinsta was able to help with.”

As part of the process, Istephan considered other Managed WordPress hosting providers he had previously worked with but decided to go with Kinsta. He was confident that the platform could handle the traffic load.

Reliable hosting with support that cares

Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars was a life-changing experience for Troy, which he said “was not comparable to any moments in life.”

Troy and Istephan had a couple of months to start preparing the site for increased traffic. They wanted a platform they could trust—one that could give them confidence that the site would stay up no matter what.

Kinsta Support by the numbers

Troy worked hard on the show, had fun, and earned the success that he wanted to celebrate carelessly: “When the show aired, it was so exciting. It was just intense. We did a few viewing parties in different locations. I made sure I remembered it and showed it to people.”

Kinsta’s role was crucial in providing a safe and steady environment for Blak Brews’ website. Istephan explains how he wanted to make sure that Troy could live and celebrate his achievements to the fullest without the need to worry about his site’s uptime: “You don’t want to have any downtime in those moments, that’s crucial. I can’t just go up to Troy and say: hey, your website crashed while you were having a party. That’s not good.”

Contacting Support in MyKinsta

Hosting the site on Kinsta’s platform gave Troy and Istephan confidence that the site would be in good hands and the traffic would be no issue.

Istephan expands with his compliments on Kinsta’s support: “One of the biggest reliefs is ensuring you have a hosting provider that can handle that, keeping everything at ease.”

You know you’re going to be looked after, especially with support. You can get support with Kinsta within 2 minutes if anything goes disastrous.

“Their techies are very easy to talk to, and they’ll help you guide help if there’s a plugin conflict, and you’re not going to be in the dark as opposed to other hosting providers where they don’t have support 24/7.”

User-friendly platform and built-in tools

Kinsta’s custom-built dashboard is specifically designed to simplify the maintenance and development of websites. It also provides users with easy access to their company’s billing information, allowing them to upgrade or downgrade their subscriptions as needed.

Screenshot of the main MyKinsta dashboard

MyKinsta helped ease workflows for Blak Brews. Istephan reflected on the fact that a functional and easy-to-use dashboard is crucial.

The dashboard is very easy to show to clients; they can access billing, and they’ll look after you. And unlike cPanel, MyKinsta feels more comfortable.

Custom Managed WordPress plan for scalable sites

As the broadcast of the final episode approached, Troy and Istephan wanted to make sure that they were prepared for traffic spikes and thus chose to upgrade to a dedicated server solution.

With Kinsta’s custom plan, they were able to configure the server and take measures to optimize the site for increased traffic.

Istephan complimented this scalability, easy access to billing information, and client care:

One of the big perks of Kinsta is that it has small plans all the way up to enterprise. No matter what, you feel confident that your client’s gonna be safe and sound. Downgrading and upgrading is also very easy, depending on where you want to be at. Very helpful.

The result

Seamless season finale with 24/7 expert support

The airing of the final episode finally came and as part of the process, Troy and Istephan decided to bump the site up to a Kinsta custom plan to ensure its smooth running.

Istephan also ran numerous tests priorly and, to be on the safe side, opened a support ticket for the airtime of Food Stars’ final episode and had one of Kinsta’s support engineers monitor the site and assist him throughout the show’s runtime.

I was pleased that the support engineer was happy to stay around for the next two hours, helping to monitor. You wouldn’t expect to do such a thing from a support agent on chat. It was incredible. It helped ease the tension.

They didn’t just use us as another support ticket. It was more human. An interaction. They understood what we were up for and understood the risks.

Troy’s big win on Food Stars

On Gordon’s team on the show, Troy faced many challenges that tested his creativity, endurance, and devotion. He mastered each challenge and made it to the final four.

Blak Brews’ tea

The grand finale came, and Troy presented his deeply moving pitch on the show to the mentors and an audience of hundreds of people on site, and even more watching from their homes; winning the show’s mentors’ and the audience’s hearts.

But it wasn’t the only thing he won. Troy has won Food Stars!

Peak performance under high-traffic pressure

A massive task waited for Istephan as well during the finale of the show; he needed to make sure Blak Brews’ site was running smoothly without any glitches during checkout.

While Istephan had a chat open with Kinsta’s support, he kept monitoring the site’s metrics and performance.

Five hundred visitors for the entire hour on the site, all at the same time. With Kinsta, we were able to handle that, piece of cake. We didn’t even sweat! People were able to add to their cart and then check out – there was no wait time. It loaded as if there was only one person on the site. It just empowered us.

Bright future for Blak Brews

Kinsta has lived up to Troy and Istephan’s expectations. Troy has many plans for building Blak Brews’ brand into a global company with its roots in Australia. He is looking to align with respectful partners, brands, and identities across the globe.

What does the future hold for Blak Brews’ website? They are looking to take advantage of Kinsta’s tools and services more.

“We’re going to have a wholesale subdomain soon, and we’re gonna be able to have that. It’s very affordable and justifiable,” Istephan explains.

They also plan to elevate the site by adding pairing it with an application:

Kinsta is perfect for WordPress and application—it’s all-in-one. Billing, support, dashboard… all in there it’s great! We’ll always host on Kinsta.

The conclusion

Moving from Shopify to WooCommerce and hosting Blak Brews’ site on Kinsta has helped Troy and Istephan gain confidence during the first major peak on the website. Troy celebrated his success without site downtime or other issues shadowing his joy, while Istephan was confident in his work with state-of-the-art tools and expert support by his side.

But this is just the beginning for Blak Brews. Nothing stands in the way of the company’s growth. Troy has started working on his plan for the upcoming years, and his exciting journey continues to spread his passion for flavors. He’s looking forward to delivering cups of tea and a drop of Indigenous culture and the Native tastes of Australia to people all over the world. Kinsta will be proud to support him in this venture!