This study experimentally investigates the effect of surface roughness on the hydrodynamic and thermal performance of microchannel evaporators. Three micro-evaporators of the same dimensions and different surface roughness have been fabricated by micro-WEDM. Each micro-evaporator consists of forty rectangular microchannels of 700 mu m height, 250 mu m width, and 19 mm length. A microscale vapor compression refrigeration cycle has been constructed to carry out the experiments. R134a is used as the refrigerant. Heat transfer coefficient, pressure drop and COP results are presented at variously imposed heat fluxes, and at mass fluxes of 85 and 200 kg/(m(2)s). The results demonstrate up to 45% enhancement in the two-phase heat transfer coefficient at low to moderate heat flux values as the surface roughness increases. Considering the surface roughness effect of the microchannel walls, a new correlation is developed to predict the heat transfer coefficient of R134a boiling in microchannels. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.