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Tim Horton's Coffee- a Brief History Lesson

Updated on September 25, 2014

Tim Horton's coffee

Tim Horton's makes a good cup of coffee. The first time I experienced it, I was on my way to Rochester, New York to run a jiu jitsu tournament, and I came across one of these fine establishments. Of course I had a donut as well, as this was my first visit and I was told by the locals that I ought to do that. Man, they were right. I was surprised, though, loving coffee and never having heard of Tim Horton's.

Now you can get this stuff delivered to your house via Amazon. That's pretty awesome. This is made by the actual manufacturer as well, not some cheap knock-off. If you're like me, you start your day by brewing coffee immediately (or, if you've had the forethought to set things up the night before, you wake up to freshly brewed coffee via your coffeemaker's timer). The last thing you want is to mess around with a floppy bag of coffee in order to get the proper measured amount of grounds into the filter as quickly as humanly possible. This can is really a matter of convenience more than of freshness for me, but it does do a great job of sealing in the freshness of the (already ground, of course) beans.

If you've never had Tim Horton's coffee, I can say that it compares favorably to Dunkin Donuts coffee, but with considerably less of that acidic aftertaste Dunkin can leave behind. It's nothing like Starbucks (nowhere near as bitter or burnt tasting), and it's not too watered down tasting, either. I'd say it's a very solid blend, and a great value for the money.

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I love coffee.

I quit drinking and changed my habits significantly about six years ago. As a consequence, I dabbled in various different replacements for alcohol, ultimately settling on adding more sugar to my diet, and adding more coffee to my daily routine. Nowadays, I begin every day with about 4 cups of coffee, and then, depending on what the day holds ahead, I'll either have a break of 3-4 hours and then have 4 more cups of coffee, or I'll immediately have 4 more cups. Either way, I'm going to average around 8 cups a day.

I've had everything from locally roasted beans and freshly brewed indie coffee shop blends to gas station emergency caffeine while on the road, so I think I have had my fair share of coffee experiences. I've enjoyed many an espresso, latte, and cappuccino over the years, but I always keep coming back to the same, familiar routine: coffee with cream. This "old reliable" method is something I can replicate easily at home or on the road, with little additional effort on my part beyond making sure I have plenty of milk (or half and half, if I'm feeling fancy).

Tim Horton's coffee is solid coffee. It's not "oh my god I absolutely must have this!", but it's also not $30 a pound (oh sweet glorious Kona, why are you so elusive?!?).

A typical Tim Horton's store

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Hockey player Tim Horton

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Who are Tim Horton's? A brief history.

Given that I had never heard of "Timmy Ho's" (Tim Horton's) until about five years ago, it surprised me to learn just how big this franchise is. By the end of 2013, per Wikipedia, Timmy Ho's had 4,592 stores in Canada and 807 in the United States. In fact, Tim Horton's is the largest food service provider in Canada (bigger, even, than McDonald's). Very recently, they were acquired by Burger King for more than $11 billion. Yep, billion.

Timmy Ho's was founded in 1964 by Tim Horton himself, who was a hockey player famous in Canada. Tim died in 1974, but not before partnering with Ron Joyce, an investor who expanded Tim Horton's into a giant franchise. Another astounding fact (if you're American, anyway): Horton's sells almost 9 times as much coffee per year in Canada as Starbucks. This is more or less unfathomable if you're in any region of the country other than upstate New York or Ohio, as far as I can tell.

If you've never had Tim Horton's coffee, it's definitely worth stopping in for a cup. It's brewed fresh, and the beans aren't burnt. I believe I may have already mentioned the donuts as well.

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