April 12, 2014
Elyse and Mike arrive in Bihar, India, the home of Doke Tea Estate. Named after the Doke River that flows beside the gardens, Doke Tea is the producer of one of our most beloved teas, Rolling Thunder, and is our dear friend Rajiv Lochan's "small farm with a big heart"
Rajiv, who has been our guide throughout India for most of the trip, is a passionate, international-facing advocate of tea. He represents Bihar-grown tea through Doke Tea, and represents tea from other regions through Lochan Tea. You will often find him in different countries attending various tea events, or promoting tea to more people. Elyse and Rajiv met in Japan, during an international tea fair that showcased tea culture. He is at the forefront of tea - even his Facebook is a veritable source of tea news from the fields.
Rajiv also helps visitors and students learn more about tea. Last year, Tealet helped agribusiness scholar Elizabeth Ray connect with Rajiv, and she spent time with the Lochan Family on the Doke Tea Estate, especially with Dolly Lochan. See her visit here.
Rajiv's daughter, Neha "Dolly" Lochan, represents a new generation of tea makers, and she's often experimenting with different techniques to refine her green tea. She hand-crafts tea on the Doke Tea estate. We carry her 2013 experiment in green tea, Doke Diamond Green.
Dolly is currently experimenting with different kill-green techniques to stop oxidation - in Nilgiris we saw Teaneer using pan-firing, and in Assam we learned about steaming from Heritage Tea. Different techniques will result in various flavor profiles and textures. Here, we see her blanching experiment with leaves from Doke's spring harvest. She and Elyse reported that the result was yummy, and could be even better. Perhaps her upcoming experiments with roasting and oven drying will do the trick!
From the Doke River and Bihar, Rajiv and Team Tealet are headed to Darjeeling, land of "The Champagne of Teas", and Nepal, where high altitudes are helping to create amazing new tea.
Our monthly box for April features teas from these three South Asian regions, plus a tea from Japan where we will be in May.
Please support our trip and our tea partners by considering a Monthly Subscription Box!
Speaking of news, Rajiv and Elyse have been making the news in India, after meetings with the Indian Tea Board and other tea figureheads, and visits to major tea estates.
The first article covered how specialty teas are emerging in the market, and are being promoted (versus mass-produced tea like CTC). The second article covered the visit to Doke Tea Estate.
Thank you for following the Amazing Tea Race: please stay tuned.
As you've requested, we'll be covering more pictures of local tea culture soon!
The Tealet Team