It was during my first Taiwan tea trek when I was treated to an unforgettable scooter tour of Tainan by my friend Josh Chamberlain. Josh took me to Cheng-fa and explained that it was a very old tea shop and that the owner still packaged his teas in the "old paper-wrapped style."
The owner wrapping tea in paper:
After the tea is measured out, it is carefully wrapped by hand. Then the bundle is labeled using beautiful antique stamps. I purchased several ounces of a delicious traditional roasted Dong Ding (凍頂) oolong and a sublime baked Wenshan Baozhong tea.
This package contained the Dong Ding:
It makes sense to me that before the Taiwanese had vacuum packed foil bags or other modern packaging options, the best teas would be wrapped in paper... but I have also read from multiple sources that Baozhong (包種) (sometimes spelled Pouchong) tea was wrapped in paper as one step in its production. The Wikipedia entry for Pouchong tea also mentions this step but adds that it is no longer used. I wonder if Baozhong, which literally means "wrapped type," may also have some connection to this old school packaging method still used by Cheng-fa tea shop? Do any readers know?
*I don't know the Chinese characters for Cheng-fa tea shop. If you happen to know, please leave them in the comments.