Coronavirus essential: 5-liter jugs of bubble tea

Mar 17, 2020

Chinese boba chains are offering a social distancing special.

For bubble tea fanatics who can’t let go of their favorite drink while stuck at home practicing social distancing, shops in China have come up with an answer: 5-liter boba.

Imagine hoarding these at home.
Imagine hoarding these at home. / Photo: Weibo

With restaurants, bars, and cafes forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have shifted to takeout and delivery—and bubble tea shops are no exception.

(Read more: China’s delivery drivers are now basically first responders because of the coronavirus)

Popular Chinese chain Nayuki started offering a limited-edition stay-at-home package that includes a 5-liter jug of milk tea, 10 cups of tapioca balls, and a heck of a lot of calories.

The set at Nayuki comes with a 5-liter jug of milk tea and 10 cups of tapioca balls.
The set at Nayuki comes with a 5-liter jug of milk tea and 10 cups of tapioca balls. / Photo: Weibo

The gimmick proved to be a hit. One shop in Xi’an, western China, reportedly sold out its stock mere seconds after opening the line for orders on Friday.

(Read more: Domino’s and Pizza Hut give Taiwan the gift of boba pizza)

Another chain, Lasting Scent, also jumped on the bandwagon, offering a tank of milk tea along with a separate can of tapioca balls that can be kept in a fridge for days.

Tapioca for days.
Tapioca for days. / Photo: Weibo

Selling bubble tea in bulk is not a new concept. Taiwanese chain The Alley ran a promotion in Malaysia last October selling 5-liter bottles of milk tea.

And YouTube videos abound of people trying to down gallons of the stuff in under 12 hours.

(Read more: Who invented bubble tea?)

Millions of people in China remain cooped up at home in an effort to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Unwilling to venture outside, many residents have minimized grocery trips and relied on delivery.

The bubble tea promotion is the latest effort by shops to adjust to a new environment by shifting to takeout in bulk.

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