Boba tea lovers, this may be a time to worry.
There is currently a shortage of bubble tea pearls across the United States right now. And while you may still be able to get your bubble teas if you were to go out today in search of one, in the next week or so, tapioca - which is the starch needed for boba pearls - will be a luxury because no one will have it!
Most boba tea pearls are imported, usually from Taiwan, and international shipping remains significantly backed up. Let me explain a bit more on WHY:
Basically, it's because we cannot stop shopping! All those new desks, sofas, and backyard gazebos that U.S. customers have been ordering in record numbers over the last 14 months have packed shipping containers heading to U.S. ports–leaving little room for other cargo.
Even once the items find space in a container, it takes at least two weeks to make the journey from Taiwan to the Port of Long Beach... and then there’s a huge backup here in So Cal!
Container ships are sitting anchored off the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland right now, creating supply bottlenecks and it could last for months. Supplies are also worried about the boba and ingredients expiring as they sit in the shipping containers waiting to be unloaded here in SoCal.
Christopher, the owner of Hey Hey in Echo Park, told the Los Angeles Times that he thinks he has about two months’ worth of pearls on hand but after that who knows??? If we can't get the supply flowing again, we could be entirely without boba for a while.
And by the way, even the extra-wide straws that allow the pearls to be sucked up are in short supply. Shop owners are low-key starting to panic, for obvious reasons. So if you are a Boba fan, go get the drink while you can. And hopefully the shortage and backed up container ships can get figured out soon!
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Photo: Getty Images