#347: Hortons (featuring Mrs. LeBrain)

She’s back with another guest shot!  Enjoy this two-fer Tale.

#347: Hortons

IMG_20141117_173614LeBRAIN’S TAKE:

Here’s one thing I never understood, either in the Record Store days or today:  People who are obsessed with Tim Hortons coffee.  I’m married to one and I still don’t get it.

I worked with people who never showed up at a shift without their double double in hand.  I worked with others who had to do a daily Tim’s run.  I served customers who left their empty cups on our shelves, or at the front counter.    That was always a favourite of mine, and it’s not unique.  I’ve shopped at many stores, finding the brown empty cups sitting there on shelves.  Somebody else’s problem, right?

I fail to understand the obsession. Jen has to have one (large decaf with three cream and one sweetener) every single day.  There was an old urban myth (an untrue one) that Tim’s put nicotine in their coffee to keep you hooked.  The only reason that myth has such long life is that Horton’s Addiction (HA) is so prevalent in Canadian society.

Now that Burger King, an American company, has bought out Tim’s, I fear for our friends south of the border.

I see a future littered with brown cups.  I envision our American friends unwittingly becoming addicted to Hortons’ secret brew.  I picture, somewhere in the US, a record store manager not unlike my younger self, pulling empty brown cups from their shelves as I once did.

Just say no to Tim’s.  Make your own coffee at home.  Hell, just drink water!  Don’t fall into the trap of Horton’s Addiction, an affliction for which there is no known cure.

IMG_20141214_171037_editMRS. LeBRAIN’S REBUTTAL

50 years ago, one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history decided to expand his horizons, and open a coffee & doughnut [his spelling] empire.  That man’s name was Tim Horton, and he made a damn good cup of coffee.

One thing that is very special about “Timmie’s” (as we call it) is its consistency.  Your coffee in Kitchener Ontario will come out exactly the same as your coffee in Kitchener BC.

Every coffee drinker has their ideal cup of coffee, and sometimes it takes years to find that combination of cream and sugar that is right for you.  When you do find it, Tim Hortons has dispensing equipment designed to maintain that perfect coffee for you, no matter what size you order it or where you order it from.  (The only exception to this rule is Splenda sweetener which is dispensed by hand from packets.)  Rival chains such as Starbucks make the customer add their cream and sugar themselves, creating human inconsistencies.

I love the texture of the cream; the feeling inside takes me to a special place.  It also doesn’t hurt that they use 18% cream, a treat in itself.

Contrary to the way LeBrain makes it appear, I really do like all kinds of coffee.  My Keurig machine is well used in the LeBrain household, but Tim Hortons is the champion, and whenever possible that brown cup will be in my happy hands.

Even LeBrain himself knows that if he ever does something to get him in shit, a five minute trip to the drive-through can fix the situation!

The two greatest things on this planet are hockey and coffee.  There was a man who brought those two worlds together, and his name was Tim Horton.



  1. Two greatest things on this planet are coffee and hockey? Well, to me she definitely got one of them right (sorry, not a hockey fan :)).

    My mom had the same Tim addiction dating back to the late 80s (oh yes!). I was in high school and she’d give me cash to get her a Tims. I didn’t mind becasue that meant I could take the car! She doesn’t drink as much Tims now, but she still enjoys it.

    She says the coffee addiction to Tims has to do with the cream. I think Jen is there when she says their equipment to dispense the cream gives you perfect consistency. Oh and also because of crack in the cream. ;)

    The US have already experienced Tims, where they are called “cafe and bakery shops”. I remember going to Tonawonda, NY 5 years ago – there was a Tims in the Galleria mall and before Tims changed the sizes, we got a preview of things to come as they had a tankard size of coffee (what is now the XL).

    Great wrie-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew you would enjoy this one :) However I’m not happy that so many people agree with Jen on the cream! There goes one of my arguments!

      Figures the US would have the XL size before us! But do they Roll up the Rim?


  2. I’m not a huge Tim’s fan but given my coffee addiction and the proximity of one of their stores to my office, i drink a lot. There’s something to be said for their exacting milk/cream and sugar measurements. Great he said, she said post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I work at a big college in Toronto. We got a Tim’s on campus two years ago (replaced Harveys) and that place is bopping 24-7. I usually avoid it and go get coffee at one of 5 other coffee stops, but right now on campus, it’s super quiet, so in-and-out within 5 mins is awesome. But, I’m not a huge coffee snob really. I do like Hortons but I’ll drink any coffee.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Our first apartment in Montreal was across the street from Concordia and there was a Tim’s inside the doors at the school building. My lovely wife often hit ’em up for a cup on her way to class in the morning. Convenience is nice to be sure, and ubiquity makes it even more convenient. I still razzed her about getting up ten minutes earlier and making her own damn coffee, but you know students… heh, good luck with THAT!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Western didn’t have a Tim’s on campus from what I remember when I went there…but Canadore College did, and was very impressed that a small college like that had one.
          I started drinking coffee at Western. There was a small coffee stop across the street from the VA building – my first intro to Irish Creme flavoured coffee. Mmmm coffee…

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not really a snob either. I would prefer Second Cup, Timothy’s, or any of the local roasteries but since Tim Horton’s is in my building, that’s what I drink. In fact, I’m standing in line right now!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Cupface/Hockey/Hip/Coffee – I wholeheartedly approve of this post!

    In Gord’s solo song ‘Vancouver Divorce’ he has the line “sittin here at the Horton’s so you know this is important” – “Timmies” as you say, is definitely more than just a store in Canada.

    I’m interested to see if the Burger King deal will help Tim Horton’s claim more market share in the states. Or will it end up like the Hip, beloved in their own country but alas still just a niche audience down south!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I see both sides. I never got an addiction for it – I usually make my coffee at home and take a trusty go cup. But in a pinch, on the road, yeah. We hit ’em up.

    They are also one of the most plentiful and (usually) clean bathrooms to be found on road trips.

    There was a rumour for a while that Tim’s changed their coffee (this was before the ‘dark’ thing they have now), and that MacDonald’s bought the old one, which is why McDo’s coffee is now so good. And usually cheaper too, they always have those promos on, any size for $1. Anyway, I dunno if it’s true, and don’t really care, just what I heard.

    At this point, Tim’s is as Canadian as maple syrup and snow, they’re everywhere, and a lot of people really do like to buy buy buy. I’m neither for nor against it. It just IS.

    No idea how they’ll do south of the border. Closer to our border, well, I imagine it’ll do pretty good. The further south you go, I just don’t know. Well, except AZ, NM, TX and FL. Lotta snowbirds down there would likely love a cuppa from home.

    I saw a bumper sticker one time, it said GIMMIE MY TIMMIES AND NO ONE GETS HURT! and I thought whoa dude, maybe cut it back to ten XL triple triples in the morning, ya know? Jeez.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wanted to buy that GIMME MY TIMMIES T-shirt for Jen, when I found it at Conestoga Mall. It was one of those funny things. She didn’t like it then, so I didn’t buy it, but now she wishes she had one!


    1. If/when you ever come to Canada, I will buy you a Tims. I will also buy you a box of “Timbits” — what might be called “doughnut holes” in other countries! But ours are better.


  5. Also cool: you post about Tim’s this morning, and I posted a cupface photo with a Tim’s mug in it this very same morning!

    I swear it, folks, this was not planned. Just further proof, perhaps, that great minds do think alike. Or that fools seldom differ… nah, I prefer the former.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am not a Tim’s addict. I actually like McDonald’s better, But while in Frankenmuth, Michigan, we thought we would try the Tim’s and we were the only people in the place. A lady came in for take out coffee and sure enough, she had Ontario plates. I’m sure that Tim’s will never be popular there like it is here. It is more than a coffee shop here.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. If Frankenmuth had been full of Canadians…maybe. We went in the off-season and there weren’t many people around period. If Tim’s depends on Canadian tourists, they are not going to make it in the States.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Since we were sharing rumours, I had also heard, at one point, that the reason Tim’s coffee tastes good is because they used softened water to make it. Now, I don’t know if science would support such a thing. It might affect taste, but is the difference between hard and soft water enough? Just putting that out there too, since we’re sharing.


  8. I just re-read this post and, man, I just gotta say… you’re clearly not doing anything too bad if all you gotta do is buy a coffee for your lovely wife and all’s right again? You’re either not doing anything that’s REALLY getting you in shit, or you’ve just single-handedly put a whole network of marriage counsellors outta work!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wait a sec, never been to there so I gotta ask. Is the coffee dispensed from a machine or just the milk and sugar?

    So I’m gathering that the Tim’s thing is not unlike Dunkin’ Donuts on the East Coast US? You kinda either swear by it or its just not your thing?

    Here in the Bay Area (SF y’all) We have Starbucks obviously, but we also have Peet’s coffee, which is far superior to Sbux in nearly every way imo. We also have a ton of craft coffee companies here, but they are smaller with just a few shops. I only ever hit Sbux because they have a drive thru, and because there is only like 12 just in my small little area. Sometimes you just gotta settle. Anyways, I like coffee. At home we drink Peet’s via French press. At home I drink it black, when I get it to go I put a boatload of milk and sugar. I do it by hand. ;)


    1. The coffee does not come from a machine. It’s brewed in a pot which gets replaced every 20 minutes so it’s fresh.

      I love that I’m hearing about coffee preferences in the Bay area! When the lights go down in the city, you need some SBUX!


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