Some time, ask former Navy man JD Anderson about the coffee available on a submarine.
"The canisters did not re-seal, so the remaining bazillion pounds of coffee would be exposed to the atmosphere until it was gone," the Nemo's Coffee co-owner once wrote on the company's blog. "It was dry to start with, and would become so dry that it should have been a fire hazard. It was like making coffee with old, shredded tree bark."
So while Anderson's certainly not alone in his passion to find a decadent demitasse, his previous experience helps put things in perspective. Things like the shop's new Synesso espresso machine that runs around $17,000, comes with an exclusive distribution deal with Boulder's Ozo Coffee Co., and churns out coffee drinks that vibrate with energy.
The three-shot Americano ($1.90/small) comes off dark, smooth and strong; the mocha ($2.95) takes two shots and mixes them with Guittard chocolate syrup for a medium-bodied bit of hotness that isn't too sweet; and a nice organic chai ($3.05), using Oregon-based Sattwa Chai, finds that graceful intersection between bold spicing and thickness.
Organic, or just healthy, eating is a big deal to the Andersons. Co-owner Tracy often bakes the foodstuff (except the bagels), while organic wheat bread is used in the sandwiches. The drink menu contains the green, lightly sweet Life-Force Smoothie ($3.95), full of fresh fruit, probiotics and vegetables like kale, baby spinach and collard greens.
The space itself is similarly lively. Pictures of kids pop up periodically next to counter-top Larabars and dark chocolates; across a slate floor, photography books sit on a shelf underneath mismatched mugs and bags of Boulder Canyon Natural Foods chips; and the dining room's full of house plants, art and random tables.
Nemo's has only been located on this block of East Pikes Peak Avenue for a few months: The Andersons moved slightly east to gain the drive-thru space, because JD said the two Dutch Bros. Coffee drive-ups were sucking his early business away.
Even if those folks aren't lured back in the morning, they should try lunch.
Other than a pasta salad that was spicy, but dry, sandwiches like the turkey, bacon and Swiss on wheat ($6.25) and the chicken salad on a croissant ($6.25) are lunch-happiness incarnate. The first offers munchable bacon with avocado and juicy turkey, while the latter takes pressure-cooked, hand-shredded chicken and goops it up with mayo, red onions, lettuce and, fun enough, dried cranberries.
A mound of snappy ingredients fills a Cobb salad ($8.85) that's chaotic, but not in a bad way. Greens, more turkey, more bacon, more avocados — plus black olives, feta cheese, chopped hard-boiled eggs, almonds and red onions — make for a great mishmash, especially with the sweet Vidalia onion dressing.
Also note that in the works is a spate of whatever-you-want hot paninis, right now not listed on the menu but available to order by those in the know — now, you.
For breakfast, it's simple: Get the meatless burrito ($3.50) and the breakfast sandwich on a croissant ($3.95). The sausage burrito relies too much on the standard potato, egg and cheese fillings, even with the fresh pop of accompanying homemade salsa, and the sandwich on wheat is kind of a dry mess. The meatless, however, pushes Southwestern succulence your way, with brown rice, green chilies, onion, eggs, cheddar, tomatoes, black beans, red onions and jalapeños.
Like the shop itself, an unexpected delight.