Tim Hortons Vs Starbucks : Locations Comparison

Similarly to our hockey teams, the United States and Canada have been fierce competitors with coffee chains over the last few decades.

The most popular food chains in the United States and Canada are Starbucks and Tim Hortons, respectively.

While they have many differences, they also share many similarities, leaving one to wonder, “Which is best?”

Having spent significant time at both chains, I’m here to break it all down and explain where each one excels and where it falls short.

Tim Hortons Vs Starbucks

For starters, Tim Hortons’ coffee has global appeal. They offer job opportunities in Brazil, Colombia, and the Trifinio region. With that connection in other parts of the world, they can offer lower coffee prices in America and Canada (where they have stores). It feels good to know that the coffee you’re drinking is helping people all over the world. Not only that, but it’s easier to enjoy a cup of coffee knowing you’re not wasting money.

Starbucks prices are generally higher than Tim Hortons’. A medium coffee at Starbucks can cost up to $5 and is the same size as a $2 coffee from Tim’s. It’s no secret that everything at Starbucks is overpriced; every drink and food item there costs more than Tim’s. The high prices can be traced back to where the coffee beans originate. Starbucks customers are primarily from Latin America, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Beans from those areas have a higher labor cost.


Starbucks sells plain and flavored coffee grounds through its Coffee at Home website. In addition to blonde, medium, and dark roasts, they offer standard and seasonal flavors. They also sell decaffeinated coffee, grounds, K-cups, and whole beans.

Because there is no fresh shot of syrup, the flavored coffees lack the strength of the in-store options. However, they have a similar taste. The majority of plain coffees compare favorably to the in-store varieties.

Things we like:

  • A variety of flavors and strengths.
  • Widely available online and in grocery stores.
  • You can mix and match different flavors.

Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons offers original blend, dark roast, decaf, and vanilla coffee in fine grounds and K-cups. You can also get whole beans. They are both affordable and delicious. When brewed correctly, the at-home varieties taste exactly like the ones sold in stores.

This statement does not apply to K-cups, but that is because many K-cup pods lack the number of grounds used in a drip coffee maker.

Things we like:

  • Excellent taste at a reasonable price.
  • Widely available online and in grocery stores.

Tim Hortons’ atmosphere is welcoming and convenient. Both stores have drive-throughs, but the insides are very different. Tim Hortons is fast and friendly. Starbucks’ comfort may be more desirable, but this is dependent on what a person values on their own. Some people prefer to sit and enjoy their coffee in the stores where they buy it, and Starbucks has more seating; however, Tim Hortons values preference and is more focused on quick, efficient service. “They’re always assuming that the customer doesn’t have time to spare, so they offer some tables and chairs, but mostly they prepare their products for people on the go,” said Nicole Kercher, a Tim Hortons employee.

Tim Hortons’ success in America can be attributed to their delicious donuts, which are widely enjoyed. After trying Starbucks, oh wait. Starbucks doesn’t serve donuts. What pairs better with coffee than donuts? An overpriced $3 granola bar? Not a chance. Tim’s made the better decision by displaying their donuts and coffee to complement them perfectly. With a punch card, every seventh drink is free at Tim’s.

It is not that Starbucks’ products are bad; they are not. It’s just that paying more than necessary for something that tastes just as good elsewhere at a lower cost doesn’t make sense. When deciding where to get coffee, consider your options carefully. Perhaps it will make more sense once you reap the benefits of the reward system, one free and delicious coffee at a time.