Known scientifically as camellia sinensis, the cultivation of tea commenced on a wide scale only after the English colonized India. Southern and Eastern India provided the optimal conditions and to this day, these estates of yore continue to thrive. While most date their ancestry to over a century and perhaps more, the Doke Tea Estate is of a fairly recent vintage.
Its founder, Mr Rajiv Lochan, is a veteran of the tea industry. His journey begins in South India and after a brief period there, the Queen of Hills beckoned. Darjeeling was to be his next stop and in this region he would continue for over two decades. Two daughters and a son later, Doke occupies a place of personal and family pride for Rajiv, almost as much as his family.
The establishing of the plantation on Doke Tea Estate began in 1999. The estate is located in the Eastern Indian state of Bihar. The very first saplings that were planted have been allowed to grow into trees to serve as a lasting memento to the initial ordeals of establishing a project such as this.
Mr Lochan’s daughter, Neha, is actively involved with Doke. Much like her father, tea seems to be an innate calling and over the years, she has successfully carved a niche for herself in what has traditionally been considered a masculine domain.
Eastern Bihar is in close proximity to the Terai tea growing region of West Bengal. As such, the topography and climatic conditions are well suited for tea. The monsoon rains provide for much of the water requirements while the Doke river supports irrigation in the dry winter months.
The area comprising the tea estate is mostly flatlands. Tea plants cannot withstand water logging and as such, specific attention has been paid to the laying out of an effective drainage system.
Much as Doke is a workplace and most other associations with the latter can be fairly dull. However, Doke is the exception to the rule for the Lochan family. It serves as a haven with little pollution, abundant greenery and a perpetual breeze from the river. One needs to experience it to fully appreciate its essence. Hand processing is a hallmark of the tea estate and we create some unique teas that are winning awards around the world.
Written by: Neha Lochan, Manager Doke Tea Estate