Java Brava Hits the Road with Coffee Truck

Java Brava is proving mobile eateries aren’t just for food by cruising the streets of Columbus serving up – you guessed it – coffee. While Columbus’ food trucks feature everything from pizza to Hawaiian to barbecue, Java Brava is one of the few doing coffee.

In addition to mental health counselor and ordained Lutheran pastor, Mark Nodo now also calls himself Java Brava co-owner. Nodo was always curious about food trucks, but it was actually the idea of community that inspired him to drive a second-hand coffee truck cross-country from Oregon to Columbus to make it happen.

While working in Bexley, Nodo would take a break every day and walk to the local Cup-O-Joe.

It was there that I sensed not only steady sales, but familiar faces, people interacting and greeting, basically, community,” he says. “Community has been part of all three owners. We have all served, be it in a congregation, Habitat, homeless shelter or in our neighborhoods. We envision Java Brava to be a vehicle to continue to serve, to be where people gather and greet with respect and appreciation as we journey together. We want to give back and pay it forward, and set a standard of service where all people matter.”

The concept of community has even worked its way into the truck’s tagline, landing at “Beyond coffee…we brew community.”

Nodo spent about two years exploring, researching and developing Java Brava, enlisting the help of some local resources along the way. SCORE was instrumental in early business plan understanding, then, “We joined ECDI and attended SEED classes, which took business plans to the next level,” he says. “ECDI gave us the loan to purchase our truck and begin our adventure.” 

Well-known Columbus coffee name Stauf’s helped with barista training and stocks the truck’s namesake.

Java Brava’s menu adapts to the coffee drinker’s seasonality.

“Summer sales are more iced coffee and tea, smoothies and some brewed,” Nodo says. “Colder weather will shift to hot coffee and tea and hot chocolate.” 

Specialty drinks like smoothies are made with real fruit, and an on-board espresso machine doles out lattes and cappuccinos.

For a process a long time in the making, Java Brava made its debut in June. It was the step-off to a summer filled with special events and a scheduled spot at the Franklin Park Conservatory Farmers Market.

This fall, they have already lined up two recurring gigs, parking at CESA Soccer on Sunbury Road near Easton from 8:30 a.m. – noon on Saturdays, and Sunday from 1:15 – 4:00 p.m. at Pickerington Flag Football at Violet Elementary. 

“We hope to build the private party and business events,” Nodo adds.

They will be using resources like ECDI and COFTA to find more opportunities, and are looking into the city vendor program for morning sales. 

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