Judging Java: Tim Hortons

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

3 Globes

Tim Horton, a name synonymous with donuts, coffee and Canada. While the chain is commonly associated with Canada, there are many scattered throughout the U.S., with the nearest one located in Washington, Pennsylvania. There also used to be kiosks in PPG Paints Arena; however, those kiosks have unfortunately been replaced by Dunkin’ Donuts.

I’ve wanted to review Tim Hortons for a while now. Their coffee is available in pretty much every major supermarket you can find, and they’re well regarded as having some great coffee, especially for a chain of their size. At the same time, it felt unfair to review them in the United States. Luckily for me, I traveled to Tim Horton’s home turf over the weekend and felt obligated to finally give them a review.

Tim Horton’s often gets lumped in with Dunkin’ Donuts. Now, I have made it repeatedly clear that I do not like Dunkin’ Donuts very much, going so far as to say that it is the reason “America is so terrible.” If Dunkin’ is the reason America is terrible, then Tim Horton’s must be the reason Canada is not terrible. (That’s not an actual reason, but to name a few: they offer a form of universal health care, take the ongoing global pandemic seriously, properly invest in their infrastructure and have legalized marijuana.)

Their coffee is exceptional, in the sense that usually chains like these have coffee that are downright awful. In the grand scheme of things is Tim Hortons coffee exceptional? No. Tim Hortons is nowhere near the quality of a local shop like La Prima or Delaney’s, but it blows chains like Dunkin’ Donuts out of the water.

The coffee is incredibly flavorful, while up north I had it both in the form of K-Cups and from an actual Tim Hortons. If you’re looking for a good, affordable K-Cup and you’re sick of The Original Donut Shop or Starbucks Pikes Place, look no further than the Tim Horton’s Original Blend Coffee. That being said, do not under any circumstances get one of the artificially flavored Tim Hortons K-Cups. Artificially flavored coffee is a cardinal sin, both in the eyes of God and the eyes of this columnist.

Likewise, my coffee from Tim Horton’s was great. Again, when I say great I mean “above the quality of other similar shops, but their coffee is good nevertheless.” That being said, their coffee is definitely outshined by their donuts.

Their donuts are, simply put, absolutely delicious. I personally recommend grabbing whatever donut you prefer and then a small package of the chocolate Timbits, which are their donut holes. They’re great, especially the chocolate ones. To even compare Timbits to something on the Dunkin’ Donuts menu would be disingenuous, because it is not even within the same realm.

Now, I’ve praised Tim Horton’s a lot today, but that’s not to say you should be rushing out the door to try it. There’s no need to drive up to Canada (or even Washington, Pennsylvania), but if you’re up north (or in Washington, Pennsylvania) and looking for a cup of coffee and a donut, this is absolutely worth stopping by.