Rumors of a Boba deficiency showed up last week when multiple media reports on a Instagram post from Boba Guys The claim that an industry-wide shortage of Tioca balls is imminent. But is that really true? And if so, how bad could it get?
While Boba Guys, who also runs the US Boba Companyitself suffers from a deficit as a result of global problems in the supply chain (in this case, no imported Tioca starch from Thailand is received due to an accumulation of shipping containers in US ports), which is reported as an industry-wide shortage, which is an isolated incident that only affects tea stores who have favourited Tioca Balls Directly from the US Boba Company. Conversely, several Boba stores in Los Angeles, as well as Boba manufacturers in Taiwan and the US, say they are not concerned about the future of their Boba supply, which means they can be found in local tea stores in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond on Boba running is unlikely to happen despite these deficiency reports.
However, when news articles about the upcoming “Boba Pocalypse” went viral, some manufacturers began raising prices and limiting the number of Tioca balls that could be purchased – apparently in response to orders from tea shop owners. “Some shopkeepers just panic and try to order more than they need,” says Stacey Kwong, co-owner of Milk + T.with three locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Portland. This behavior that reflects this Toilet per buying frenzy of March 2020 is detrimental to smaller, independent businesses that do not have as much purchasing power as larger chains, although it did not lead to the collapse of the Boba ecosystem.
The panic buying caused Tea zone, one of the largest boba suppliers to US tea stores running out of the most popular line of tioca balls – the A2000says Kwong. While Tea Zone has little to do with the A2000 variety, it is A1000 line that has less Q texture is still abundant. “When a small shop runs out of Boba, you just know it’s not your fault. Don’t go give them a bad Yelp review. It’s a small company that is part of the community, ”says Kwong.
“There is nothing to worry about,” says Tomas Su, the owner of Sunright tea, one of the fastest growing Boba chains in California with multiple locations in Los Angeles including West LA, Little Tokyo, Monterey Park and Rowland Heights. Su told Eater LA that while its tioca ball maker in Taiwan is experiencing slightly lower production after a drought due to government restrictions on water use, it shouldn’t affect Sunright Tea’s 11 locations. “In the absolute worst case, maybe your small local mom and pop shops [won’t] Do you have Boba on the menu for a day or two or need to go to a different vendor, but it won’t affect Boba drinkers as most stores buy in bulk months in advance, ”says Su.
While Boba Guys may point out supply chain problems due to its recent deficit, some stores have better safeguards in place to cushion these types of disruptions that are common for companies that rely heavily on exports. “Our Boba supply chain is more than ready to handle any delays. There is no shortage, ”says Chingyi Fu, the general manager of Meet fresh, a growing chain of Taiwanese dessert shops with six locations in Los Angeles sourcing Boba from Taiwan. Tiger Sugar representative, Yifang, Junbi, and Onezo also reported not being concerned about Boba deficiency.
“I’m not worried; we’re prepared and have good inventory. I have enough Boba for the next two months – I’m fine,” said Elton Keung, owner of two Laboratory Tea shops in the San Gabriel Valley. Keung in a recently hinted at Los Angeles times items that his regular Boba supplier no longer has Tioca balls. He told Eater LA that if the shortage goes beyond the two-month supply, Boba will be able to rebuild its stores from scratch.
The news of the Boba shortage last week has scared Boba enthusiasts. “When I heard that there was a Boba deficiency, I freaked out cautiously. Boba is my treat and I get it weekly and now it’s going to be a luxury, ”said Loreen Hwang, an LA native who normally visits Yifang, Sunright, 7 Leaves and LA Tea Lounge. However, when Hwang visited YiFang and inquired about the defect on a recent visit, she was told it was not a problem.
“Boba runs in my blood. When I first heard it, I was shocked by a mixture of fear, ”said Evelyn Koo, an LA resident whose favorite tea shops include Half & Half, Tastea, Wushiland, Chicha SanSen, and Bobop Grab Tioca Strength and ingredients to make them ourselves, especially after what we’ve learned from this pandemic, ”says Koo. However, on Koo’s last Boba run, she saw no signs of a Boba shortage or price increases in the store.
While the Boba shortage reported last week will affect some tea stores, the majority will not be affected beyond short-term disruptions caused by recent hoarding rather than supply chain problems. Boba drinkers can be sure that the next time they visit their favorite store, Boba will be available.