Oh no-ba! There’s a shortage of boba!

boba at the bottom of a cup
Photo: Sean Gallup / Staff (Getty Images)

Boba tea lovers, you may be in for a disappointment, at least for a little while. Many shipments of your beloved chewy tapioca pearls are currently backed up right now, meaning some of your favorite boba tea places might run out of boba before more arrives. Most of these pearls are imported from Taiwan. USA Today reports that the shortage might take a while to resolve.

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Remember when the cargo boat the Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal, much to the glee of the internet? We may have gotten some good memes out of it and some needed distraction, but that’s part of the reason for the shortage.

The owners of U.S. Boba Co., based in Hayward, California, gave the world an update on their Instagram account. “Some boba shops are already out. Others will run out in the next few weeks. 99% of boba comes from overseas.” While they make their own boba from scratch here in America, they source their tapioca starch from Thailand, and with inconsistent shipping, inventory of boba is going to be volatile, they said.

Other suppliers of boba tea supplies confirm that this is an issue. Oliver Yoon, the vice president of sales and global marketing for a company called Boba Direct, based in Chicago, told Business Insider that the shortage might, at the earliest, last until the end of April. Kung Fu Tea, the largest bubble tea chain in the country, thinks the shortage could last even longer, causing issues through the summer.

I like walking around Chinatown on a breezy afternoon with a melon boba tea in hand, so this isn’t news I like to hear, and I’m sure the rest of the country isn’t going to be so happy when they found out those precious pearls are out. Ever Given, first you gave us joke material, and now you take away our boba.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

DISCUSSION

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Burners Baby Burners: Discussion Inferno

If only there was a source of tapioca closer to the US than Asia.

(Tapioca comes from cassava root, which comes from Brazil, which is in South America.)