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nakji

Tim Hortons

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Tim Hortons Tries for US Expansion

(NY Times link; requires free registration)

It's been four years since I've been in a Tim's, long enough to lose my Canadian passport by some people's standards. In that time, I've had my first drink of Vietnamese coffee, and my first bite of a warm Krispy Kreme right off the conveyor belt. Nostalgia aside, I have no further reason to ever enter a Tim Horton's again in my life.

According to the article, it seems that Tim's has achieved near market saturation in many parts of Canada, and is now looking South for growth.

I recall that the Tim's in Halifax converted a central bakery that distributed donuts to most of the franchises in the area. Donuts were almost universally hard and stale by the time you got them.

As for the coffee, I thought it was undrinkable - a long time black coffee drinker, it tasted like tar without the two creams and sugars most people drink it with.

I do sometimes fondly recall the chocolate chip muffins, however, with the big sugar crystals on the top. They got me through almost all of my third year of university. And when the article image of a donut loaded up on my computer, I got a lump in my throat - it remains a powerful image of "home" to me.

Have you tried Tim's product? What do you think?

How do you think it compares to Dunkin Donuts?


Edited by nakji (log)

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I do drive-through food once every week or two and its almost always Tim's (or the T-Ho as I call it). This behavior goes back twenty years and I can say I have never received a bad cup of coffee nor have I had a great cup. Its always the same medium roast fresh-tasting pretty good brew. And that is why I go back for more coffee.

I rarely get other stuff these days. It used to be the sourdough glazed donut in university, now its maybe an oatcake. I can't really say how they compare to Krispy Keam or Dunkins because I've never been.

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Tim Horton's is not coffee I drink when I want to enjoy a coffee. However, there is something strangely curative about a Tim Horton's coffee when one has a hangover.

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Better than Krispy Kreme and Dunkin's, and they're a nice way to break up the monotony when driving from Montreal to Quebec City (I know every outlet on the route and who does what best).

Not a fan of their coffee though but it's road coffee and very popular during the March promo season.

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I first encountered Tim's when I began visiting my now spouse 6 yrs ago. In fact, our first meal together was Tim's.( turkey sandwich for me, buttertart for her) on the way back from the TO airport.

I live in a small town( 4,400ppl) and we have a Tim's, Mcdonalds, KFC and Subway. Those are our only fast food outlets and Tim's is ALWAYS packed. It has acheived near cult status here.

I despise the muffins( all flavors taste the same to me), the donuts are ok, timbits are better. I dont drink coffee so I can't vouch for it, the iced caps are good in the summer.

If its all you have availble to you, I guess its good. But, I'd much rather go elsewhere. They do have a Tim's in Port Huron, MI and when I'm there, I never enter( unless I need to use the bathroom).

We grew up with Duncan Donuts so that would get my vote!!

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I wouldn't say Timmy's is the best for coffee or doughnuts by any stretch, but there is something very comforting & warming about ordering double-double's and Timbits. :wub:

The coffee tends to be inconsistent - when it's good, it's pretty good; when it's bad, it's...well, you get the picture. I'd rather have a Timmy's doughnut any day over a Krispy Kreme, though, specially if it's for breakfast. Toss up between Timmy's and Dunkin Donuts. My S.O. can't stay away from Timmy's - he's gotta have his daily fix of a double-double and honey cruller....

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I love Tim Horton's. In fact I recently bought a sweatshirt that says "Gimme my Timmie's and no one gets hurt". :biggrin: I'm not a huge fan of their donuts though, I love Krispy Kreme but they are hard to get here in Ontario now, although the local Sobeys has been carrying them lately. Timbits are a must for a road trip. I have never been a fan of Dunkin Donuts. If I can't have Tim's, I'll take Country Style.

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I can't say I'm a fan of any of them any more. DD was great in college, but in my area I don't know of any stores that make their own donuts anymore. There seems to be some central station somewhere that supplies the DDs, gas stations, etc... KK's seem to be ok when they're warm, dry when they're not. TH never seemed to be good in the Detroit area, everything was a little heavy, dry, and old-tasting. I can't really stomach any of their coffees either.

For my donuts the one or two independants in the area has to be place to go. (Dandee Donuts and Apple Fritter in the Detroit area, Roy's bakery in Houghton.) Forgo the coffee though.

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I feel ashamed to say this as a Canadian, but I hate Tim Hortons.

Bad coffee - I drink black, but GF always complains they have to do the coffee for you. Single Single is way too sweet, but she feels weird asking for a 1/2-1/2.

Bad frappucino wannabee - makes a Slurpee look low in sugar

Mediocre donuts - ok, almost all donuts are mediocre, but people talk about it like it's the holy grail. Give me a bag of fresh made mini-donuts from a fair anyday.

Same with anything else I've ever had there - it univerally tasted like crap.

I think it's something you have to grow up with. I somehow avoided them until a few years ago (they weren't as big in Vancouver growing up, although they seem to be all over the place now). And yes, there is always a huge lineup.

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For me, Tim's is all about Canadian icon -- I dislike doughnuts and never eat them, and their coffee tastes like pre-Starbucks coffee shop coffee.

But for this expat Canadian, a Tim Horton's at a Service Centre along the 401 feels more genuine than another Wendy's or McDonalds. A cup of mediocre coffee and an egg salad sandwich brings back childhood memories of a simpler (and duller!) gastronomic time.

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Nostalgia aside, I have no further reason to ever enter a Tim Horton's again in my life.

Ah, then you have not had the pleasure of trying the Lemon Drop doughnut. If you like lemon, this baby is bliss. It's just a lemon-filled doughnut with lemon glaze (sweet, but with the tartness of the filling, it's not too bad) and sweet/tart lemon sprinkles on top. I had the pleasure of eating three (each on a different day, of course) when I was home this summer, then when I went in for a fourth, I discovered it was a limited thing, only for the month of July. :sad: Well, at least I had those three...

The rest of their doughnuts suck, but I think Dunkin' Donuts sucks, too. It's hard to find a good doughnut these days.

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Ah, then you have not had the pleasure of trying the Lemon Drop doughnut.  If you like lemon, this baby is bliss.

I don't really follow what is happening with Tim Horton's, but they should do more "limited edition" donuts to generate consumer interest. Of course, this is a familiar tactic with the Japanese donut chains.

The Lemon Drop donut would be just the thing to pull me into a Tim Horton's out of occasional curiosity.

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I don't generally "do" Tim Hortons - can't stand their coffee and I am not a doughnut fan but a warm cheese croissant on a Saturday morning is a treat I still enjoy. This was a tradition we started when we owned a cottage up in the Muskokas and would avoid the Friday traffic by driving up at 3 AM on Saturday mornings!

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I grew up on Robin's Doughnut in Thunder Bay, Ontario but I have never turned down a Timmy's (my BIL called it Dead Mans Doughnuts :biggrin: ), especially when someone brings them 113 km from Williams Lake, BC to our office :wub: . The coffee is mediocre but acceptable as road trip brew.

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I don't really follow what is happening with Tim Horton's, but they should do more "limited edition" donuts to generate consumer interest. Of course, this is a familiar tactic with the Japanese donut chains.

I got the impression that's the direction they're going. When I went in for my fourth lemon drop, and was told they didn't them any more, I was also told they were promoting some other baked goods that month--I think they were mini-turnovers or mini-danishes. Their website doesn't have any indication of special promotions, though, so maybe it was just a summer thing??

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Do they still do "Roll Up The Rim To Win"?

Yeah, if someone showed up with a box of Boston Creams right about now, I wouldn't turn them down.

Someone once told me their coffee has MSG. I believed it, since their coffee is so old by the time it gets brewed, they need something to boost the flavour. Urban Legend? Can you even add MSG to coffee?

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I confess. I....drink a lot of tim's coffee. School and work are both in very close proximity to one. Medium or large, single single, or milk and sugar, or just milk, depending on my mood and caffeine requirements. Sometimes a half and half with hot chocolate if I'm feeling festive.

I'm trying to cut down on my doughnut consumption, and I tend to avoid filled doughnuts anyway (sorry to hear that the lemon drop one was so good; guess I missed out). They've had a bunch of promo doughnuts and things lately, I should try more of them. Maybe I'll swing by there tomorrow and see if there's anything interesting.

They do still do roll up the rim, in february or march I believe.

Oh, and their breakfast sandwiches? Pass. At least McDonalds cooks the eggs fresh :hmmm:

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I love Tim Hortons ...find the coffee really bad (I just load it with cream and sweetener) ..the donuts are fine ..most of all I just like going in there and having a Canadian maple donut at least a few times a year!

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Have you tried Tim's product? What do you think?

How do you think it compares to Dunkin Donuts?

They have started popping up in Buffalo NY and then moving east towards Rochester with some Interstate 90 rest stop locations. Rumor has it that they have their eye on the Syracuse market as well.

I was on the road back late in the evening from a Buffalo trip and tried a baked good of some sort - a cinnamon roll or apple fritter if I recall correctly. It wasn't wretched but it wasn't memorable either.

The coffee sucked. It has a different flavor profile than Dunkin Donuts coffee - tastes more robust but also more bitter. It was perhaps better than the swill McDonald's served for years as their standard coffee but not quite as good as McDonald's new "premium" coffee (which isn't very good either).

I can't figure out why people rave about it but there's no accounting for taste. A friend in Buffalo told me she never liked cappuccino's until she tried one at Tim Horton's and raved about how fantastic theirs is. It comes from a pushbutton machine at uses a preblended and presweetened mix - just like those wonderful machines in gas station convenience stores. Even Dunkin Donuts makes a better cappuccino than that and theirs isn't very good.

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I was thinking...I wonder if Tim Hortons would do well in Japan.

I have Japanese friends who lived in Ontario for 6 or 7 years (the husband worked for Honda), and they loved Tim Hortons coffee. The liked it so much, that they bought the Tim Hortons coffee maker, and ground coffee from TH.

I find the average Japanese coffee to be very strong and bitter. Does that sound like Tim Hortons? Weak coffee here, by the way, is called "American coffee".

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We just drove cross-country from Buffalo, NY to Long Beach, CA and boy, would I have been happy to see a Tim Horton's in some of the spots we stopped along the way where even Starbuck's has yet to appear! I shed a few tears for all the truck drivers who have to survive on the swill served at roadside stops in this country! Let's hope, for their sake, that a few Tim Horton's will appear occasionally along the I-90!

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This summer, my (then) house-mate had a friend visit from France. This woman was as thin as a rail and was consumed by a singular passion to eat. When she woke she would immediately begin to talk of breakfast, when breakfast was through she would make plans for lunch, then for the next snack, and then for dinner. And then she would need chocolate -- NEED. I thought I was crazy about food until I met this woman.

Anyhow, given that she is from the land of pastry, I was kind of surprised to learn that she had a strong affection for Tim Horton's Maple Glazed Doughnut. She picked up the habit while attending university in Montreal. She says that maple flavoured things are not available in France. She would go to Tim Hortons and buy huge boxes of doughnut, and then make the grand gesture of allowing others to have one. I hate doughnuts, but this French woman was so in love that I honestly felt it would insult her not to eat one.

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I feel ashamed to say this as a Canadian, but I hate Tim Hortons.

You are not alone!

I've only eaten in Timmy Ho's twice in my whole life and both experiences were mediocre.

Once 7 years ago in Port Alberni-WTH is there to eat in PA? and once again 2 weeks ago in Abbotsford-another twilight zone.

Don't take coffee at all so once I had a scone-forgettable and once a muffin-awful

The people who line up in Timmy Hos give me little hope for the future of this country. :wacko:

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I use a really terrific---and hilarious---anthropological study of Tim Horton's in my "Food and Culture" class. It's called "Eddie Shack was no Tim Horton," by Steve Penfold, and it's in a book called "Food Nations" by Warren Belasco.

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I'm not really a coffee drinker, but I enjoy the Iced Caps during a hot summer. Their doughnuts were always second best to Robins, though the timbits could be good.

But, having spent a lot of time at the St. Boniface hospital in Winnipeg in the last month (as a visitor), the Tim Hortons in the lobby was very much appreciated.

I have two T.H. within 2 minutes of my house, but I doubt I get there even once a month.

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