The Camellia Rd Boba Box

I love boba. It is so good at bringing people and communities together. But right now, life calls for people to stay (six feet) apart, so bringing people together is the actual opposite of what we are trying to do. And that’s been a hard thing to accept.

I wrote this back in March, when we first shutdown. I immediately realized that coronavirus would be something society would have to contend with for many months to come (and perhaps for years, from the fall out). Quite honestly, I’m still processing through all the emotions of it. People would be going out less frequently and less leisurely. Yet I understand that people would still have the same needs for comfort and community, needs that would be deepened by our broken routines and life structures. So I had to ask a new question; if people couldn’t come out to get boba, could I get boba to them?

I set out to design a DIY boba package. To be true to Camellia Rd, it would need to be a high quality, sensible product. It should be reasonably priced, and survive shipping tests. And ultimately, it would make boba easy enough to be accessible to the home cook, while remaining true to the taste and flavor you’d find at Camellia Rd Tea Bar.

As we developed the box, we saw other boba shops releasing 5-serving boxes at a much lower price point. But I had knew I had to be true to our box design. We wanted to make everyday fit together as a whole, with boba, tea, and syrups. One boba box makes 10 portions. Two bags of boba makes 5 portion each, two bags of tea makes 5 portions each, and each bottle of syrup does about 10 portions. For those that want to make smaller batches, we made sure you had the ability to reseal things. But we knew that you’d want more boba after the first batch, so we planned ahead.

After careful alpha and beta testing (making our friends and family test it), here’s the final product.

The Contents

The box is made from 100% recycled cardboard, and has stood up to our shipping tests. All the contents were measured to fit together.

The boba balls are packed with a desiccant and vacuum-sealed to preserve their quality. Just cut the bag open, remove the desiccant, and cook.

The sweeteners are prepared as syrups, ready to use. For the boba, we’ve provided the same honey boba syrup we use in-store to give it its delicate honey flavor. For the tea, we’ve provided the same simple syrup we use in-store, an extra rich syrup made from 100% organic cane sugar.

The tea is hand-packed in resealable, foil-lined bags to stay fresh for months when kept in a cool and dry place. We offer 2 choices of tea in case you want to change it up. The tea options come straight from our loose leaf tea store so you can recreate milk tea drinks from Camellia Rd Tea Bar.

And of course, each boba box contains a signed recipe card with the starter recipe for boba milk tea just as we do in our shop.

Since its launch last month, we’ve shipped Camellia Rd Boba Box’s across the country, from Hawaii to Massachusetts. I’m happy to see that many of these boxes are being gifted to friends and family. We may have to stay at home right now, but that doesn’t mean we’re not still together in all this. If you decided to make boba our way, then I commend you. You could have used instant boba or 2-in-1 tea powder, but you’ve joined us and hundreds of others in making handcrafted boba, at home. The right way takes time and patience, but we’ve always thought it was worth it, because the person drinking the boba is worth it.

-Ricky Lau