One advantage of funmatsucha (also called funmatsuryokucha, 粉末緑茶) is that it’s easy to brew, you can just stir the powder in a cup with hot water.
The other advantage is that in powder form you can essentially drink the whole leaf, as opposed to steeping where the leaves are later discarded. By drinking funmatsucha you will have a greater intake of compounds found in tea (which includes caffeine). Fiber, for example, isn’t water-soluble so it’s not present in non-powdered tea.
Difference between matcha and funmatsucha
Sometimes people refer to matcha as “Japanese powdered tea”. Matcha is a powder, and it actually looks a lot like funmatsucha. But what makes it special is its raw material: tencha. Tencha is cultivated in the same way as gyokuro, and thus it is of high quality.
The best way to notice the difference is just to try them both. Matcha has a slightly sweet and delicate flavor while funmatsucha tastes like a concentrated sencha, quite astringent and bitter.
The difference lies in matcha’s higher content of L-theanine, thanks to the shaded cultivation method.
Interestingly, funmatsucha may have as much or even more EGCG, so if you don’t care about flavor you’ll find that powdered tea does have its health benefits. However, note that powdered tea degrades faster than loose leaf tea, so make sure it comes properly packaged and consume it quickly.
Konacha vs funmatsucha
Konacha is also commonly confused with funmatsucha.
The difference is that konacha is not a powder but rather small bits of leaves. Konacha isn’t made into that form on purpose, it’s an unintentional result that always happens during loose leaf processing.