Boba Tea Fans Told to Expect a Boba Tea Shortage

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Along with toilet paper, lumber, chlorine, and possibly gas, there’s another pandemic shortage set to hit the U.S – and this time it will affect boba tea fans.

The drink, which contains little edible tapioca pearls, has become a craze in recent years with Yelp declaring boba tea the most popular delivery item in several states early in the coronavirus pandemic, CNet reports. But that could all change due to shipping backlogs.


According to MarketWatch, boba tea consists of boba balls, which come from Taiwan. It also uses tapioca starch from Thailand to make the balls. Thanks to shipping backlogs on most things currently coming from Asia it could take months for the boba tea supply to get back on track.

“This is an industry-wide shortage,” Boba Guys, a boba tea company, said via Instagram. “Some boba shops are already out. Others will run out in the next few weeks. Ninety-nine percent of boba comes from overseas.”


According to Insider, U.S. ports on both sides of the coast have been overwhelmed for months due to eCommerce pandemic spending increasing the number of shipping containers arriving at U.S. ports from Asia. In short, there aren’t enough dockworkers to process the incoming goods and that has “boats, carrying tens of thousands of shipping containers, waiting outside ports.”

“It’s a perfect storm really,” Boba Direct’s Oliver Yoon told Insider.