two part question for coffee afficianados: i need my tim hortons
January 11, 2015 8:35 AM   Subscribe

after living up north for a while and my wife and I both love tim hortons coffee. we used to buy the pre-measured 12 cup pouches, available online from --- for shipping to canada ONLY. As we live south of the border again, obtaining the pouches is more or less out. please help us locate alternatives...

here's the gist:

1. if you have experience drinking tim hortons coffee regularly please describe it in meaningful coffee terms. i don't have the language or skill for it. the best i can express it is that it's "strong but not dark roasted" i'd like a little more of a valid, objective, knowledgeable description to search for alternatives with.

2. if you have tasted tim hortons coffee, what available-in-the USA pouches or even just brand of coffee is most similar in your mind to tim hortons?

we have tried to k-cups and feel they are too bitter/burnt tasting perhaps because of the k-cup brewing temp? so we have just tried randomly buying pre measured pouches so far with little luck for a cupa we both like.

we have so few pouches left, and ordering cross border is proving impossible without an intermediary in canada. help, our mornings need you!
posted by chasles to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
Have you checked out the Tim Horton selection on Amazon?
posted by FreezBoy at 8:43 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think this is basically FreezBoy's link, but from the Tim Hortons site rather than Amazon.

Tim Hortons does have a US presence, at least in the upstate New York-ish area.
posted by papayaninja at 8:49 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

On preview, jinx!
posted by cecic at 8:53 AM on January 11, 2015

Can you explain what you mean by pouches? What kind of coffee machine do you have?
posted by J. Wilson at 8:55 AM on January 11, 2015

You can buy Tim Horton's coffee in the U.S. -- I'm not sure what the problem is. Why are you trying to use if you need shipping to the U.S.? Wouldn't the obvious solution be to go to On Amazon, type in "Tim Horton's" and you will find a larger selection of cans, bags, K-cups and T-discs ready to be delivered straight to your door.

Tim Horton's coffee really isn't anything all that special. I'm not sure how I'd compare it to another type of coffee.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:37 AM on January 11, 2015

Response by poster: OK let me fill in the details I was unclear on. We have a bunn drip coffee maker. Standard filter deal. We use the pre measured pouches of coffee which make 12 cups, ie a full decanter of coffee. Think about the pouches any mcdonalds or probably your office uses. That's the ones. Tim Horton's Canada, where we USED to buy them while in Canada, sells the pouches but only sells for Canadian shipping. The USA Tim Horton's shop and amazon sell only the full canister or k cups, not the pouches. We like the nice pre measured pouches for 530am simplicity. Thanks for the links, I am familiar but no pouches there.

As for it being "nothing special" sure. Totally true. Now please make that objective so I can buy some other more easily obtained coffee. Folger's or the like (standard coffee I would say) doesn't taste anything like Timmy's. Nor do the other general brands. Hence my struggle....
posted by chasles at 9:48 AM on January 11, 2015

I think these are the specific packets you're looking for? Fine Grind Single Coffee Packets (56 g) Box of 48

If they are, it does look like these are only available in the Canadian online shop, and the fine print for that shop says they only ship to Canada, which matches what you're saying.

You'd also be right that those are tough to find outside of the TH online shop. I did a run through Google,,, and several other likely suspects, including Canadian-based office supply places. No luck.
posted by gimonca at 10:15 AM on January 11, 2015

So - would you like someone in Canada to ship you a box? This might not be cheap, or particularly fast, but I could give it a shot …
posted by scruss at 10:36 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

How about you buy a can of Tim's and fill small ziploc bags with 56g portions? You can do this after you've had your first few cups of the day, and then you're set for weeks eh?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:39 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Whenever we head north we always come back with a can of the Tim Horton's original fine grind. It sort of tastes like Peet's Major Dickason's but a little more rich.

Have you considered just making coffee with basket filters and buying the coffee from Amazon? I haven't seen Peet's sold in filter packets and TBH most of the stuff sold that way is commercial quality crap so finding a decent replacement will probably involve a different brewing technology.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:47 AM on January 11, 2015

Response by poster: I think these are the specific packets you're looking for?

Yes those are the ones. I appreciate the offer. I'm really hoping just to move to an easier to obtain brand.... I'll try peets as suggested. Any other recommendations?
posted by chasles at 10:58 AM on January 11, 2015

Best answer: Is *this* your card?
posted by inturnaround at 11:01 AM on January 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

Re 2., I don't think there's a huge difference between Tim Horton's coffee and Dunkin' Donuts' coffee. Also, I think 75% of the Timmie's allure, for most people, is the use of cream (vs. milk) and tons of sugar.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:14 AM on January 11, 2015

Response by poster: I'd still like an actual description of tim Horton's coffee but yay inturnaround!!!
posted by chasles at 12:14 PM on January 11, 2015

Best answer: i don't have the language or skill for it. the best i can express it is that it's "strong but not dark roasted"

I don't know what Tim Hortons coffee is like, but since no better-informed coffee geeks have shown up, I can offer some background info.

You're exactly right to distinguish between "dark" and "strong." Coffee isn't like chocolate, where darker==stronger. It's like steak, where darker==less flavorful and more burnt tasting.

(As coffee roasts it goes through a bunch of chemical changes -- the flavor compounds emerge and fade away, the sugars caramelize, and everything eventually carbonizes. A dark roast is further along the way to carbon -- you get the universal flavor of burnt coffee beans, rather than the individual flavor of the particular beans you started with. That's cheaper because it doesn't matter as much what beans you start with, so we get a lot of ads for cheap coffee saying that dark is bold! and intense! and whatnot.)

So when you're looking for alternate brands you want a lighter roast than what you've tried so far. (Probably still relatively dark, in the scheme of things, since it's a national brand and needs to be cheap and consistent). But you also want it stronger. What makes coffee stronger is (1) using more coffee; (2) brewing longer; (3) hotter water; (4) a finer grind. The easy ones to change in your coffee maker are using more coffee with a finer grind. Perhaps Tim's coffee is ground finer than the other ones you've tried, or the bags are larger?

Ultimately what you like is what you like; if that's Tim's, I would say buy that and be happy. (With or without the scoop -- it's not so much slower than the individual bags.) But if you want to go looking for similar brands, I'd start with medium roasts with a fine grind and then play with the quantity.
posted by jhc at 1:33 PM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am a Canuck in Cali and that Canadian Favourites link above is key to get your hook up for Tim Hortons coffee, Swiss Chalet diping sauce, Heinz Ketchup, the "right" Oreos and so many other little things I miss on a weekly basis. They often run free shipping promos which is an excellent time to stock up. Also Smarties and custard powder...
posted by saradarlin at 3:20 PM on January 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

That reminds me to order some Hickory Sticks.
posted by saradarlin at 3:20 PM on January 11, 2015

Best answer: I think Tim Hortons is what is known as a "cinnamon roast" -- ie a very light roast.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:24 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: An update should anyone ever need this information: the trader joes medium roast CFTO coffee is perfect and we just measure out 2.5oz and put them in baggies... Perfect.
posted by chasles at 10:20 AM on May 22, 2015

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