Shipping Delays Cause Major Boba Shortage In Bay Area And Beyond

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

Shipping Delays Cause Major Boba Shortage In Bay Area And Beyond

Boba may become a hot commodity in the coming weeks.

If you live in the Bay Area, you’ve certainly tried or at least heard of boba.  Also known as bubble tea, tapioca tea, or pearl tea, it’s a delicious sweet milk tea that usually includes little tapioca pearls you can enjoy through a special, large straw. It’s a popular drink that originated in Taiwan, and has experienced a massive boom in Northern California and beyond during the last decade or so.

But there’s some bad news in the future for major Bay Area boba fans. As a result of pandemic-related shipping delays from Asia, boba products and tapioca balls are currently stuck in a major traffic jam in the San Francisco Bay. Many boba shops use products imported from Taiwan, but even U.S. boba manufacturers will be experiencing shortages as the tapioca they use to create the famous bubbles is also stuck in the shipping delay.

Wherever you get your boba, be on high alert that now might be your last opportunity to enjoy those delicious tapioca balls for a while. Andrew Chau and Bin Chen, owner of the popular Boba Guys shops in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York, released an Instagram video explaining the situation along with David Fan From Fanale Drinks. “Even though we operate our own factory in the United States, we are reliant on the shipping network to procure the raw tapioca starch that we make our boba with,” the explained in the caption. “This is an industry-wide shortage. Some boba shops are already out. Others will run out in the next few weeks. 99% of boba comes from overseas.”

They expect that shortages will be “in flux for several months.”

They also ask the public to have patience with theirs and other boba shops experiencing shortages, and recommend trying other delicious toppings including aloe jelly, grass jelly, pudding, and more.


Oliver Yoon, vice president of sales and marketing for bubble tea provider Boba Direct, explained in an interview with Business Insider that boba isn’t the only thing experiencing delays. “It’s pretty much any kind of consumer product,” he said. That could include everything from fitness gear to oat milk.

Some people took to Reddit to voice their concerns and opinions about the boba shortage.



So, what are your plans for boba substitutes during this trying time?
[Featured Image: Boontoom Sae-Kor via Shutterstock]

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