If you are huge hockey fans like my husband and I, you can’t watch a Canadian hockey broadcast or a hockey game being played in a Canadian city without ever having noticed the sponsorship of Tim Hortons. Tim Horton has a tie-in to Canada’s national pastime of ice hockey by virtue of the fact that Tim Horton was a professional ice hockey player playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Today, Tim Hortons, the chain, is the largest quick service restaurant chain in all of Canada. You’d be hard pressed to find a Canadian who’s never heard of, or been to, a Tim Hortons location. So, what does this have to do with me who lives in California? Well, over Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and I took a quick trip out of town since we had some time off of work. We spent a couple of days in San Francisco, which you’ve already read about. But San Francisco only covered 2 of the 4 days we had free, so we flew from San Francisco up to Vancouver for a couple more days of R&R. Being in Vancouver, I told my husband we had to find a Tim Hortons and check out what the buzz was all about.
So, what is Tim Hortons, you ask? Started in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, Tim Hortons served 2 items – coffee and donuts. Due to the chain’s wildly successful business serving coffee that’s “always fresh” as their motto states and unique and delicious donuts, the business boomed and in the mid-1970’s Tim Hortons introduced one of their most popular menu items to-date the Timbit. In the 1980s even more items were introduced – muffins, cakes, pies, croissants, cookies, soups and chili. The ’90s saw the introduction of sandwiches, bagels and specialty coffee drinks. The 2000s have seen the introduction of hot breakfast sandwiches, Danishes, cinnamon rolls and yogurt. However, through it all, Tim Hortons most popular item remains their incredibly popular coffee. Creating from a special blend, the coffee draws in the crowds who want coffee that’s always brewed fresh and waiting for a customer to drink and enjoy.
Walking around Downtown Vancouver, my husband and I came across a Tim Hortons located across the street from Canada Place, the main cruise ship terminal in the city and a popular tourist destination. Warm and inviting on a cold and rainy day, you can smell the fresh-brewed coffee as soon as you open the door and step inside. You’re immediately greeted with a display case full of yummy, fresh-baked goodies, including Danishes, bagels and various flavors of muffins.
Then there’s the display case full of the Tim Hortons donuts! Who isn’t a fan of donuts? Donut flavors include the original apple fritter and Dutchie which made Tim Hortons famous. There is also the chocolate dipped, chocolate glazed, Boston cream, Canadian maple, sour cream glazed, honey cruller, blueberry, walnut crunch, vanilla dip, honey dip, strawberry vanilla, maple dip, blueberry fritter, strawberry, old fashioned plain and old fashioned glazed. And these are just the classic flavors. There’s other flavors to choose from as well.
The menu displays various hot breakfast sandwiches and other pastries as well as their menu of classic Tim Hortons coffee or more fancy selections of hot and iced specialty coffee drinks.
On this day though, my husband and I were in search of just 2 particular menu items. First off, my husband wanted to see how good this Tim Hortons coffee was, so he ordered a cup of straight up black coffee. Served in a cheerful and colorful winter cup, the first thing you notice as the wonderful aroma of the coffee. As advertised, the coffee is certainly fresh brewed. The flavor of the coffee, even though I don’t like black coffee, is strong, but not overpowering. You get the hit of caffeine, but there’s definitely a blend of more subtle flavors in the coffee. Even weeks later, my husband, who isn’t the world’s biggest coffee drinker, still talks about how good Tim Hortons coffee was.
I came to Tim Hortons in search of Timbits, which my husband tells me people refer to as “Canadian crack”. It’s that good. Timbits are Tim Hortons donuts in bite-sized donut hole form. And, really, who doesn’t love a donut hole? I just had to try it out. Since I wasn’t sure how much I’d like them, we started off ordering a box of 20 Timbits. They come in boxes of 10, 20 and 40. You can either get a mixed box or choose your own flavors. This box was going back to the hotel with us as a snack later in the day.
First, because I couldn’t resist, I also ordered a donut to enjoy inside the store. After perusing through the selection, I opted to go with a Boston cream donut. Chocolate coated on the outside and bursting with cream on the inside this donut was sweet, creamy, delicious and surprisingly light and airy. You generally expect donuts to be heavy and thick with dough, but this donut was exactly the opposite. I loved it. And I was started to see how Tim Hortons could become addicting if you weren’t careful. Good thing I was only in town for 2 days!
As soon as my husband and I got back to the hotel, we broke into the box of Timbits because we just couldn’t wait any longer. For our box of 20, we decided to choose our own flavors and went with the old fashion glazed, old fashion with sugar dusting and chocolate glazed. One bite and we were both in love. Until you try these Timbits yourself, words just cannot describe how magnificent they were. Each Timbit was 2 bites of goodness packaged in a round dough ball. The Timbits were incredibly moist and flavorful. I just couldn’t get past how moist these Timbits were. You generally expect perhaps that doughnuts may be dry and heavy but these were exactly the opposite. We couldn’t help ourselves and devoured the whole thing. I knew we’d need to buy more before we left town.
Luckily for us, as we were walking through the airport to fly home, there was a Tim Hortons located right in our terminal. I wanted to have a box of Timbits to bring home, so we indulged and bought a box of 40 to bring on the plane. And much as we experienced with our first box of Timbits, these babies were so moist and delicious, even 2-3 days after we returned home, they were still so moist. It was incredible.
For the plane trip home, I also bought myself a cup of what Tim Hortons calls their “famous iced capp”. It was cool, creamy and smooth. And it had enough of a hint of vanilla in it to satisfy my tastebuds. A nice little sugar rush to send me on my way home.
I completely understand how why Canadians are so in love with Tim Hortons. If I lived anywhere near a Tim Hortons (as there are a few in the US), I think I may become a true convert. You can pop those Timbits in your mouth, one right after another. And they come in so many delicious flavors. Their cold and hot coffee drinks were amazing. I’m a Starbucks kind of girl, but I could easily be convinced to become a Tim Hortons kind of girl. Now I know, every trip to Canada in the future has to include a stop at Tim Hortons!