The freshest roast on the road

By Rita Savard

rosie web lead

  For most of us bleary-eyed commuters still daydreaming about sleep, morning doesn’t begin until coffee is in hand.

  There’s no shortage of java houses, drive-thrus and convenience stores for finding a quick pick-me-up. But in a city that’s buzzing with caffeine, Rosie Surprenant wanted to go beyond necessity and find “the perfect cup.”

“Coffee was always important to me,” says the connoisseur, who put her brewing chops to work decades ago when she voluntarily brought in big batches for her office cohorts.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

  Setting out a jumbo percolator with sugar and all the fixings, it was an honor system that simply asked thirsty recipients to leave 25 cents behind. By the end of each month, the earnings pooled enough for Rosie to make the $180 payments on her brand new ’75 Malibu Classic.

  Since then she’s tried and tested just about everything and in the end, found the one thing that made the biggest difference ~ fresh roasted beans.

  Owner of Lowell’s popular Rosie’s Cafe´ and the Peak Coffee and Tea brewing company, her made-fresh-daily in-house roasts sets her cup of Joe apart from the rest.

  From far-flung places all over the world ~ Kenya, Peru, Hawaii and more ~ to her Marston Street brew house, beans are roasted in a heavy steel drum. Over the course of a dozen minutes at 450 degrees, they change from pale green to a deep burnished brown, courtesy of Rosie’s son and brew master, Michael Surprenant.

  Michael learned the art of roasting from the best. His sage, Peter Kagunye, was the former owner of Peak Coffee in Billerica and Rosie’s bean wholesaler for nearly 20 years. Peter traveled all over the world in search of nature’s tastiest beans while Michael manned the roasts back home. In 2012, Peter decided to switch lanes in his career. Rosie took over Peak Coffee and purchased a behemoth Diedrich ~ the Rolls Royce of roasters.

  Her Lowell shop serves up about 10 different roasts and more than 50 varieties of loose leaf tea. Besides the java, there’s an assortment of homemade pastries and muffins ~ her carrot cake is legendary ~ sandwiches, lighter lunch fare and some gluten-free organic snacks.      

  Even caffeine addicts from out of state are lining up to grab Rosie’s roasts online at

  “People want to start their day off on the right foot,” she says. “When it comes to an amazing cup of coffee, the main ingredient is always freshness.”

Rosie’s Cafe, Marston St., Lowell | Mon~Fri 7am to 5pm; Sat 8am to 3pm; Sun 8am to 2pm | 978-458-6578 | follow Rosie’s on Facebook here


About The Author

HOWL Street Team

Exploring everything from food and shopping to arts and entertainment so you can experience the best of what Greater Lowell has to offer.