Tim Hortons vs McDonalds

by Hannah Elliott 10 months ago in restaurants

The Coffee War

Tim Hortons vs McDonalds

For most humans, coffee is the essential ingredient in one's day to allow for us to actually do things, and not be total grouches during the process. Everyday it is the same thing, the patient wait in the drive thru or the line inside to get the coffee. Now minus the expensive coffee at Starbucks, many people enjoy the cheaper option of Tim Hortons or McDonalds. This has caused a fierce loyalty between the two, but now it is time to figure out which is the better option, breaking down the size, the price, and even the rewards.

The Coffee:

Both vendors claim to use 100 percent arabica beans for their coffee. Now McDonalds has just taken over the old Tim Hortons vendor, so perhaps that has something to do with McDonalds coffee tasting better now.

Some people say that McDonalds has a bolder taste, whereas some people say that Tim Hortons has a smoother taste. This boils down to what someone takes in their coffee and their taste preference. For example, someone who drinks their coffee black may like McDonalds, because it is stronger and has a better flavor. Whereas someone who adds sugar may like Tim Hortons, because they do not add as much sugar as McDonalds does. It is a preference thing.

The issue with this is that, regardless of the mandated rules for each chain to follow when making their coffee, there are too many factors of human error involved to really break things down. McDonalds using a bigger pot, so they have stronger coffee just by the amount of beans used. Tim Hortons has the 20min fresh guarantee, so you are always getting a fresh cup of coffee.

The Cups:

McDonalds cups are nice, since they are double layered, you do not have to worry about burning your hand all the time when holding onto it. The lid is ok, it works with being able to open and close the flap to avoid spilling any of your drink as you move around, but there is an issue, at least what I find, where the flap does not always stay, sometimes it comes out, and then makes it awkward to drink out of.

Tim Hortons, their cup is not doubled layered, which is eco-friendlier, though the issue is that you may find it too hot to hold. For that they do offer sleeves, which are made from 100 percent recycled paper, which is nice. Now the old lid was great, yes it did not seal to close, but you were able to hold the cup with your teeth, allowing you to open the car door when your hands were full etc. This new cup is similar to the McDonalds lid, but the hole is smaller, so it takes longer to drink, but the flap does have a better seal. Though the worst part is you cannot hold the cup from your teeth anymore.

The Size:

So the size break downs are fairly similar for both McDonalds and Tim Hortons. Though McDonalds only have Small (12oz), Medium (16oz), and Large (21oz) and XL (25oz). Tim Hortons however, has XS (8oz)*, Small (10oz), Medium (14oz), Large (20oz) and XL (24oz). The only difference is really, the XS that Tim Hortons offers which may appeal to some people who just need a little pick me up.

The Price:

Break down of Prices

McDonalds: Tim Hortons:

Small: $1.49 XS: $1.39

Medium: $1.69 S: $1.59

Large: $1.89 M: $ 1.79

XL: $2.09 L: $1.99

XL: $2.19

So McDonalds is more expensive by about 10 cents.

Rewards Programs:

So not that they really matter, they are just a bonus for those who do buy a decent amount of coffee throughout the week. Both locations do offer a decent rewards program.

McDonalds has the stickers on their cups, where if you buy seven coffees you get a free medium hot beverage for free. It is a pretty good rewards program, as you get a reward that you can redeem whenever you would like. The only issue with this is that the rewards are on a small cardboard card, and it can easily be misplaced in with receipts or garbage in your wallet, or anywhere else really. Also, if you are someone who prefers having large coffees, you can only get the medium for free, you must pay for the upgrade. With this, you do not need to keep track of how many drinks you have had, the card has place markings for each. Another issue though is that there is no reminder to take the reward, it is all on you to pull the sticker off the cup

Tim Hortons just started a new rewards program, to which you get a card with it. With the card, the idea is the same as McDonalds. You buy seven items, and then you get the eighth one free. The difference with this program is that your reward is a free small food item or drink item. There are no restrictions to your drink, so you could get an ice capp, which is one of their most expensive drink items on the list for free. The thing is to that it is all electronic, so you do not have to keep track, the calculations are automatically done for you. Plus, it is hard to forget as the cashier always asks if you have a card. Also, being that it is a plastic card you get, it is easier to hold on to, because it can just fit in your wallet.


McDonalds offer their one dollar coffee, any size deal. Which goes on for about a month. Usually for the month of February. Now this was great, because you would save about a dollar on your coffee. The time frame for this one is kind of short. Especially, considering that February is the shortest month of the year. Other than the fact that coffee is a dollar, there really is not anything to it.

Tim Hortons has the classic Roll up the Rim, which is a coffee lover's favorite. This lasted from the beginning of February until mid-April usually, and then the prizes can be redeemed until end of May. For this time, any sized coffee that you buy, there is the chance for you to win big. From winning a car, a TV, a $100 Tims card, or something as simple as a free coffee. The best part of this is that you realistically could go on a winning streak, and end up getting more free coffees in a row, not having to spend anything. Also, the fact that it runs for 2 ½ months as well is great.

Take this information as you want to, and figure out which coffee is the winner of your hard earned cash.

*according to the sources used in this article, they did state that there was an extra small size in at least Ontatio, Canada.

Hannah Elliott
Hannah Elliott
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