It was far back in Song Dynasty that paper was invented by our smart ancestors. With this great invention, Chinese can develop and stand for over five thousands of years. Yet in this advancing modern society, the manual method of papermaking has been replaced by paper industry. Ancient traditions of papermaking are gradually being forgotten by the people.
However, even in modern days, the packing paper of Pu-erh cake is still made in pure manual method.
In Xishuangbanna, China, there grows a special plant called as Ma San (马三) by the local people. People use its bark to make the packing paper. After cutting enough barks from the trunk, they will dry the barks under sunlight. Then boil the dried barks for two to three hours so that the barks could be easily mashed into pulp. After the paper pulps are made into packing paper, the workers will print the tea’s name and brand logo on it. Then the paper can be used to pack the Pu-erh cakes.
The Pu-erh packing paper made of Ma San barks has four advantages. Firstly, the material is pliable and tough, has stronger resistance of tension than other tissue paper. Secondly, the paper maintains a woody aroma, which can restrain for a long time. Thirdly, the paper has high air permeability.
Making of The Ma San Paper
Pour paper pulp in a pool full of clean water and keep stirring.
Place a net in the water. Make paper pulps covering on the surface.
Remove the paper from the net.
Bundle up the papers.
The finished Pu-erh packing paper.
Packing the Pu-erh cakes in tissue paper may look old-fashioned or insecure. But experienced pu-erh drinkers know that this is better than other paper package, or plastic package. Tissue paper does great help for the cake’s aging and storage.