I think by now you know that I LOVE supporting my local small businesses and fellow entreprenuers! I also LOVE enjoying healthy good for you food, so when my friend Emma's açaí business got its first storefront opportunity, you can guarantee that I was there to try it out and share the all of the awesomeness!

If you're like me and enjoy trying healthy new foods, you are going to LOVE the açaí bowl creations from Just BEE Açaí! Lucky for us in Champaign-Urbana, a new partnership with Mina Hanna, owner of Bossa Nova Cafe in downtown Champaign, and executive chef Emma Reinbold of Just BEE Açaí, we can now get these flavorful superfood filled bowls anytime the craving hits (well, within business hours that is which are Monday through Saturday 7a-7p).

Bossa Nova Cafe featuring art from local Champaign-Urbana artists.
Fresh açaí just waiting for toppings.

Before digging into all the wonderful açaí creations you can get your hands on at Bossa Nova, what is this superfood açaí anyway and why should you try it?

Açaí is a berry found on açaí palm trees grown primarily in Brazil's Amazon rainforests. The berries themselves look a lot like grapes or blueberries. The seed itself takes up about 80% of the berry but the flesh and skin that make up the other 20% are where all the superfood nutrients and goodness come from. If you want to nerd out about açaí like I did, check out this brief video that explains the entire farming process.

So, you're wondering...what are the magical superpowers of açaí?

  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Heart-healthy fats
  • Calcium
  • Naturally low in sugar

Health benefits also include increased energy, boosted immune system, improved metabolic function, plus better hair and skin. I don't know about you, but those all sound fantastic to me!! Oh, and, açaí tastes amazing! Even more amazing when you add fresh ground nut butter, fruit, and other power superfoods like chia, honey, coconut and more!

Back to the lineup of delicious açaí creations...

On the current menu, Emma has developed eight pre-created varities of the bowls available in four different sizes ranging from 5oz to 16oz.

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You can also make your own combination with the açaí base and any of the fresh on-hand ingredients. My favorite is the Bee Powerful swapping pineapple instead of banana. The Bee Sweet is an excellent sweet and salty mix with honey roasted peanut butter. Really you can't go wrong no matter which bowl you choose. Each one that I've had has been just as tasty as the next!

Bee Powerful with pineapple (sort of pictured Spicy Maya).
Bee Sassy with decaf coffee.

The goodness at Bossa Nova doesn't stop with açaí, Just BEE also has oat bowls (hot and cold) available. Oats are mixed with chia and flax seed then soaked in almond milk, vanilla bean and a bit of honey. And, if you just can't get enough açaí but you also want an oat bowl, no problem! Order up some purple oats which are the same oats soaked in açaí instead of milk. I've personally taste tested this and can tell you that the purple oats are delicious!

Purple Oats (açaí soaked oats) topped with banana, goji seeds, coconut with almond butter drizzle.

You'll find that there is a little something on the menu for everyone. Whether you like sweet, salty, sweet & salty, fruity or tropical you are going to find a bowl that works for you. The team is also playing around with some additional açaí combinations including açaí and coffee! Yes, please!

While you're in Bossa Nova, make sure you try their full line of artisan coffee and hot drinks. Each cup of coffee ordered is made fresh for via a hybrid pour-over and drip method with beans sourced from Page Roasting Company local to Champaign. You'll find a variety of blends including decaf which of course I love! There is also a full line of espresso drinks with beans from Columbia Street Roastery, also local to Champaign. Another unique offering to Bossa Nova is the hot chocolate. The chocolate is real bits of chocolate, no powders or syrups. There are two varieties of chocolate that come all the way from Venezuela to make these delicious concoctions; Deluxious, a dark chocolate, and Spicy Maya, the same dark chocolate with an added kick of cayenne. I've had the Spicy Maya and it is seriously the best hot chocolate ever!

So what are you waiting for? If you aren't already drooling all over your computer or mobile phone, head on in to Bossa Nova and get yourself an açaí bowl, coffee and/or hot chocolate! I promise you will not regret it!!! And for my friends that aren't local to Champaign-Urbana, perhaps I've just given you good reason to visit this amazing community that I call home!

Last but not least, keep an eye out this summer because you just might see Miss Linda, the Just BEE Açaí food truck, around town serving up delicious açaí bowls straight out of cutest little Shasta camper!