Notable Edibles

Notable Edible: Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters

By / Photography By Niels Petiet | June 17, 2016
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Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters offers pour-over coffee
Barista Elizabeth White brews a pour-over cup.

The sighting of a snowy owl on Cape Cod is always an occasion, and now coffee lovers can combine their favorite brew with the slightly elusive, slightly mysterious raptor at 2624 Main Street in Brewster.

Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters has been roosting in the Great Cape Herbs building since last Labor Day weekend, nestled in front of the herb shop, which now occupies the rear of the building.

Visitors will find a warm welcome from proprietor Manuel Ainzuain in the barn-like interior, finished with 200-year-old reclaimed barn wood. The space is heated by wood stove and the gentle smell of smoke blends with the coffee’s heady aroma as customers meet and greet and choose from a variety of brews and pastries.

Snowy Owl owner Manuel Ainzuain roasts coffee beans.
Snowy Owl owner Manuel Ainzuain roasts coffee beans.

Ainzuain came to Brewster in the wake of his father’s death from cancer in 2013. Before that, he lived with his wife Shayna Ferullo and their infant daughter in San Francisco, where he ran a spirits importing business. Ferullo had summered in Brewster, and thinking it would be nice to be closer to her family, the two decided to come to the Cape for a new start.

Snowy Owl’s cozy seating space is dominated by a beautiful, fivekilo chrome-finished coffee roaster affectionately called C-3PO, after the well-known Star Wars droid. Ainzuain considers C-3PO the center of Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters, single-handedly responsible for the great coffee the cafe produces. C-3PO was designed to be seen in action, and if you hit it right, you can watch the beans roast. Beans are available to bring home in ten-ounce bags, and Ainzuain said he is roasting about 70 pounds a week.

Upon arriving in Brewster, Ainzuain said he and Ferullo recognized the need for good coffee in town and began to draw a business plan related to both wholesale coffee and coffee shops. As plans brewed, they found the location at Great Cape Herbs and began to link directly with coffee farmers via InterAmerican Coffee in Hopedale, Massachusetts. Their personal relationship to the source of their beans ensures Snowy Owl the highest quality product as coffee growers receive a fairer price for their yields.

There is one other piece of beautiful equipment dominating the room: the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle 338 espresso machine. Designed by world champion baristas, the beauty of the Black Eagle is its simplicity, functionality, and perfection. It’s fun to watch Ainzuain and the Snowy Owl baristas create masterpieces with it.

Ainzuain said he sends his employees to Boston for barista training to further both their careers and the coffee they serve. The proof is in the brew: all coffees are ground and made to order. In addition to the espresso machine, you can try a pour-over, made by pouring hot water over an elevated filter of freshly ground beans to produce a hot smooth brew.

I had a beautifully mellow and smooth cappuccino complete with latte art, while my son enjoyed a creamy hot chocolate with whipped cream, which he said won the kid vote for best cocoa ever. Ainzuain makes the hot chocolate with Taza cocoa powder from Somerville, Massachusetts, and is happy to welcome children among his customers.

Community is an important aspect of the Snowy Owl, which hosted an open mike night on New Year’s Eve. While coffee is their focus, Ainzuain said he plans to continue featuring local artists and musicians, and envisions Snowy Owl as a central gathering space for the community, where people can connect to the art of roasting and preparing coffee while enjoying themselves, kids, friends, and family.

Ainzuain and his family considered several names for the coffee shop as they researched their business plan. One was The Lighthouse, and one was The Arm, as in the arm of the Cape. Ainzuain said the name they chose occurred to them as they heard the winter owls in 2013. They didn’t see the owls from their new home, which is, oddly enough, near Owl Pond in Brewster. When he heard them hoot, Ainzuain linked them to another important event in his life: his father, Cesar Ainzuain, died in Peru lying on a pillow shaped as an owl.

Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters
2624 Main Street, Brewster
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 6:30 am-3:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday 7:30 am-4:00 pm

Article from Edible Cape Cod at
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