Tea Garden Visionary: Rajiv Lochan

A wonderful oolong from Doke. (photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
A wonderful oolong from Doke. (photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Many tea gardens have been around for a hundred years or more and are the result of persistence, but some are much newer and have been the result of true vision. Such is the case with Doke Tea Garden in the state of Bihar in India. It was first planted with tea plants (Camellia Sinensis) in 1998 by a tea garden visionary named Rajiv Lochan.

According to Rajiv’s bio on TChing, Rajiv is using his many years of experience in the tea industry to turn what many thought was a worthless plot of land in Bihar into a bountiful tea garden. He is also voluntarily, and without coercion or mandates from government or other outside forces, supporting a foundation that educates local children. He sees a need and helps as he can to meet it. Such vision is truly admirable. But that’s not all!

Per this article on World Tea News, Rajiv had over 23 years of tea experience, starting with the second largest tea producer in India and going on to setting records for crop production at Phuguri Tea Estate in Darjeeling. He knew he could succeed with his vision of that tea garden on that “worthless” land. Together with local workers and farmers, Doke Tea Garden is producing some teas that are garnering acclaim among tea aficionados and connoisseurs. The garden is irrigated by water from the Doke river through a system Rajiv and team designed. The teas produced from those plants range from white teas that are harvested and processed in the first flush to leaves harvested later in the growing season and sold to tea factories for processing as CTC teas. Again, because he thinks it’s the right thing to do and not through any force, he shares profits with workers. Profits are also applied, as most companies do, to improving the company and its products and thus creating more jobs.

I’ve been very pleased to receive some tea samples to try and have enjoyed several of them quite a bit. A couple were okay but not the best versions we’ve tried (I suspect it’s more a matter of what the tea was called and therefore certain expectations being created in line with other teas with the same name — renaming the tea would probably be a good idea).

The best thing about Rajiv and his tea company is his vision for tea, for how good it is and how much better it can be. Thanks to him and other such visionaries, we tea drinkers have many tasty cupfuls and potfuls ahead of us. And for that, we say “Thanks!”

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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