Tim Hortons, that Canadian bastion of par-baked doughnuts and extreme folksiness, announced yesterday that it will soon be making espresso-based coffees available in 2,500 locations across Canada. The drinks, which include lattes, cappuccinos and espressos, will be selling for significantly less than at their competitors: a 10-ounce latte is priced at just $2, compared to $2.95 for 8-ounces at Starbucks.
While Tim’s has served cappuccinos for some time, they’ve always been made with a powdered substance. Apparently they also experimented with the real deal at a few GTA locations in 2005. The chain is now upgrading to genuine espresso, albeit run through an automatic machine as at Starbucks’s. Customers will also get real steamed or frothed milk, but without choosing from among their competitors’ tens of thousands of possible drink variables like decaffeination, fat and lactose content, foam or temperature.
While luxury coffee seems like an obvious route for expansion (even McDonald’s started selling the stuff), we admit we’re a little wary: Timmies has made its fortune on inexpensive, quick food and drink, and we’re not sure how well a premium product like espresso will do. For a glimpse at the potential harrowing future, consider the “lasagna” the company started offering last month. Ontario gets the $2 latte on November 14, while the rest of the country will have to wait until mid-December.