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A Slice of Nostalgia for Canadians…

but is Tim Hortons really all it’s cracked up to be?

With all the buzz surrounding the opening of Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons – you just need to read Tahira Yaqoob’s feature in The National for a taster – we had to get cracking on a FooDiva review. Slight problem though, FooDiva doesn’t drink coffee. So to the rescue comes FooDiva follower, discerning foodie and ex-journalist, Sophia Puyn to share a guest review.  Here you have it…

Unlike Canadians, I wasn’t familiar with the iconic Tim Hortons – a veritable institution in Canada – but for the uninitiated, Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest quick-serve coffee and doughnut chain, with over 3,600 locations across Canada and the US. Originally set up by a famous Canadian hockey player (Tim Horton) who played 22 seasons in the National Hockey League, the humble coffee shop has a devoted following amongst Canadians. After learning that the local franchise, Apparel Group has announced plans to open 120 branches in the GCC within the next five years, my hopes were high.

As you walk into Tim Hortons, you’re essentially joining the queue to order. As two people were ahead of me, a staff member at the cash register beckoned me over to place my order directly with him. I ordered myself two coffees (a weak decaf, with cream; and an extra hot skim milk latte). Big mistake. The server wasn’t sure how to handle an order that veered from the norm (and which obviously wasn’t on the touchpad screen), scrambling around for something – eventually settling on a napkin – on which to write my order.

He then asked me whether I “usually go to Costas or Starbucks, with that kind of order”, which I felt was more a reflection on his lack of experience in a coffee shop in this part of the world than my admittedly fussy coffee tastes. Surely I’m not his first customer in the first fortnight of opening to order something out of the norm, and surely my order wasn’t the worst he could have faced? He then proceeded to ask me how they should make a weak filter coffee, which wasn’t very reassuring.

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