Bossa Nova Cafe is a new family-owned and operated coffee shop in Downtown Champaign at 1 E. Main Street Suite 108, serving coffee and now acai bowls. CCP spoke with owner Mina Hanna.
Tell us about opening Bossa Nova and how you decided on such a unique name.
We opened in October 2018. Funny thing is that Bossa Nova means a “new trend” or “new wave” in Portuguese. And that’s our vision, to bring a new addition to Downtown. And “Bossa” in Arabic also translates to “kiss” so that’s how we welcome and send off every one of our customers – with happiness and warmth!
Can you tell us about your experiences with coffee when you lived in the Bay Area and how it inspired Bossa Nova?
We lived in the Bay area for more than a year, where there are a lot of great opportunities – a lot of great coffee shops and trends. The two things we focused on when we opened Bossa Nova were how to create the perfect roast/brew for each customer and to make sure that each customer has a unique and personalized coffee experience.
Our drip coffee is brewed to order and customers have six or seven options to choose from on a daily basis. Our coffee is freshly and locally roasted at Page Roasting Company.
Bossa Nova now collaborates with Emma Reinbold from Just Bee Acaí to offer acaí bowls. How did this fun collaboration come about?
Upon talking to Emma, who was originally a customer at Bossa Nova, I discovered that we share the same vision when it comes to the role of small business within the community and offering unique foods to the community. It’s from this shared vision that we were able to collaborate and offer acai bowls. This collaboration has been a success for everyone involved and a valuable addition to downtown Champaign and the C-U community as a whole.
This is your first year of business. Can you share some of the ups and downs you’ve experienced in this first year? What are you excited for in the future?
The first year has been a great ride. My favorite thing during this year was the realization that the C-U community is full of new and young entrepreneurs and local artists and musicians and they are all eager to collaborate and support one another. The hardest thing is to form a strong team that truly believes in your mission, embraces the business culture, and delivers excellent customer service. I think we now have a great team and I look forward to working with them every day. For the future, I am most excited about the possibilities for growth and the chance to even become more integrated in the community and to connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners.
What are some ways that you have benefited by being part of Champaign Center Partnership?
CCP has been an invaluable and excellent resource. The support from CCP staff has been incredible. CCP has helped connect me to other business owners, artists, and musicians in the community. They have hosted events at Bossa Nova and other local businesses that have helped me understand the market and the community better. From my prior experience in other states, the support and dedication of CCP is unprecedented and was instrumental to the growth of Bossa Nova.
Finally, what’s your favorite item on the menu?
Our Spicy Maya Hot Chocolate is my favorite! We use real chocolate from Venezuela and it is one of a kind.