Tim Hortons vs Dunkin': the hottest coffee debate of North America.

With such fierce supporters on either side, it is clear that these two coffee chains are titans of the industry for a reason.

No need to waver between Timbits and Munchkins - I'm here to help you decide between Tim Hortons coffee and Dunkin'Donuts.

Dunkin Donuts Vs Tim Hortons - Which Should You Choose?

Drink Menu Options

Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons both offer a diverse selection of beverages to satisfy any craving.

Dunkin Donuts is well-known for its signature hot coffee blends like the Original Blend and Dark Roast, which can be customized with cream, milk, sugar, or flavor shots.

They also have Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, cold brew, espresso, frozen beverages, iced tea, hot tea, and the famous Coolatta slushy drink.

Similarly, Tim Horton's hot coffee and iced coffee are made with 100% Arabica beans.

You can customize their coffee and espresso-based beverages with different flavors, milk options, and sweeteners.

They also have iced drinks (try the iced coffee!), hot tea, frozen drinks, and hot chocolate.

Tim Hortons has the signature Double Double and a signature iced beverage called the Iced Capp, a blended frozen coffee drink very popular in Canada.

While both Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons offer similar beverages, they differentiate themselves with their unique signature drinks.

For example, Dunkin Donuts has the Coolatta, a frozen slushy drink, to go against Tim Horton's infamous Iced Capp. I REALLY like the Iced Capp.

Enjoy this creamy treat with real cream, chocolate, or 2% milk.

In terms of overall variety, Dunkin Donuts comes out on top with a broader selection of drinks, including a greater variety of flavor shots and frozen beverages.

Therefore, Dunkin Donuts is the winner regarding the drink menu.

Coffee Quality

Dunkin Donuts and Tim’s aren’t like other fast-food coffee shops. They both use 100% Arabica beans, widely considered the best coffee bean.

However, they differ in how they source, roast, and brew their coffee drinks.

Dunkin Donuts boasts proprietary Dunkin' Quality (DDQ) specifications, milling and processing coffee explicitly for superior taste and quality.

As a result, Dunkin Donuts coffee has a delicate, slightly sweet taste with hints of nuts, flowers, and dark chocolate (some of the best coffee I’ve tasted).

Tim Hortons coffee is made from 100% Arabica ground coffee from renowned coffee-growing regions, carefully blending and roasting to deliver a consistent taste.[1]

Their coffee is smooth and nutty with a decent kick. And if you're lucky, the barista at Tim Hortons might give you free whipped cream to take the taste to another level.

If there is a winner, it's by a narrow margin.

Ultimately, preference depends on personal taste and what you're looking for (Dunkin's cold brew is my favorite, perfect flavor - just the right amount of sweet).

Still, both chains can satisfy any coffee lover's craving.

Dunkin Donuts coffee and Tim Hortons coffee

Number Of Locations

Dunkin Donuts has a significant global reach with over 11,300 restaurants world wide, including over 8,500 locations across 41 states in the United States of America and 3,200 restaurants across 36 other countries.

Tim Hortons is Canada's largest quick-service restaurant chain, with 5,352 restaurants in 15 countries.

So while Dunkin Donuts has a much larger global presence, Tim Hortons is still a significant player in the quick-service restaurant industry, especially in Canada.

Rewards System

Both shops have loyalty programs that offer excellent customer rewards.

Dunkin' Rewards allows members to earn points for their purchases that they can redeem for free food and beverages.

Members can also unlock "Boosted Status" to earn points faster and receive exclusive offers. Additionally, customers receive a free coffee every time they reach 200 points in the Dunkin' app.

Tims Rewards allows members to earn and redeem points for their favorite Tim Hortons refreshers, baked goods, coffee drinks, and snacks.

Members also have the chance to get free coffee, and they receive exclusive offers as part of the program.

Although both loyalty programs offer comparable rewards, there are some differences. Dunkin' Rewards offers Boosted Status, which enables customers to earn points faster and unlock exclusive offers.

Tims Rewards does not have a similar program.

Dunkin' Rewards offers a free coffee for every 200 points earned, while Tims Rewards awards 10 Points for every dollar spent on an eligible transaction, rounded to the nearest $0.10.

Overall, both programs provide excellent value, including opportunities to earn free food and beverages and exclusive offers.

However, Dunkin' Rewards offers slightly more value with its Boosted Status program, making it the winner regarding overall loyalty program benefits.

Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons rewards

Price Range & Payment Options

Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons offer plenty of affordable options for those seeking budget-friendly food and drinks.

They provide quick breakfast and coffee choices and accept various payment methods, such as cash, credit cards, mobile payments via their apps, and gift cards.

However, there are slight price differences when it comes to specific items. For example, a box of 10 Timbits at Tim Hortons usually costs around $2.99.

On the other hand, a box of 25 Munchkins at Dunkin Donuts is about $7.99. So Tim Hortons offers the more affordable option if you want to indulge in bite-sized treats (and I like the Timbits more anyway).

There is no runaway winner when comparing price ranges and payment options between Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons.

Both chains provide affordable options and convenient payment methods. However, if you want more bang for your buck when it comes to bite-sized snacks, Tim Hortons is the way to go.

Donuts & Other Food Menu Options

Regarding delicious food and drink options, both chains offer unique strengths, each starting with their donut options (I recommend the sour cream glazed donut).

Dunkin' Donuts provides a comprehensive menu with breakfast sandwiches, bagels, muffins, and coffee and tea options.

My favorite bagel from Dunkin is an everything bagel with cream cheese spread.

They also have a good selection of lunch options, such as chicken bacon ranch and turkey, cheddar, and bacon sandwiches (I LOVE bacon), as well as sweet treats like apple fritters and pretzel twists packed with flavor (some of the best desserts I’ve tasted).

Dunkin Donuts sour cream and Tim Hortons bagel

Tim Hortons' menu focuses more on breakfast items. You can get a delicious breakfast sandwich or a classic or seasonal doughnut during Tim Hortons breakfast hours.

Tims also has unique options like the Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich, cookies, soups, and sandwiches (my favorites are the chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwich).

And if you don’t want cream cheese on your bagel, you can get Nutella!

Tims pretzel bagel is a no-brainer. This bagel has a lightly crisp exterior and a flavorful interior that will make your mouth water.

It's the perfect combination of a pretzel and a bagel, and a little cream cheese makes it taste heavenly. Or it’s perfect as a bagel sandwich with bacon.

Choosing between the two chains is difficult because they offer a diverse range of delicious options. However, as a dad, I want to be sure I'm going somewhere the kids will like.

And when I have the kids with me, I go to Tim Hortons. Their classic donuts and breakfast sandwiches are always a hit with my kids.

My kids love the themed doughnuts and always get the apple fritter or plain cake Timbit, and I get my iced coffee.

Tim's bakery-focused menu caters to my children's love for sweets on the Timmies Menu (they get it from their mom!).

Environmental Impact

Both Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Hortons recognize the environmental impact of their operations and have taken steps toward sustainability.

For example, Dunkin' Donuts has implemented various initiatives to address energy consumption, recycling, composting, water conservation, and waste reduction.

Tim Hortons has also taken steps to mitigate its impact on waste, energy, water, and the supply chain through sustainability initiatives.

One such initiative was the "Coffee Cup Challenge," launched in 2021 to promote reusable cups.

During this initiative, Tim Hortons pledged to donate $1 for every reusable cup used at its restaurants to the Tim Hortons Foundation Camps.

This charity provides programs for disadvantaged youth in Canada and the US.

The "Coffee Cup Challenge" was a success, raising $1 million for the charity and promoting reusable cups instead of one-time-use cups.

Despite these positive steps, large companies like Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Hortons cannot eliminate their environmental impact entirely.[1]

They must continue to explore new ways to reduce their environmental impact and promote sustainability.

white coffee cup

What Is Tim Hortons? (Quick Overview)

Brief History

Tim Hortons is a Canadian-based multinational coffeehouse and fast-food chain founded in 1964 by Canadian hockey players Tim Horton and Jim Charade in Hamilton, Ontario.[2]

The company is headquartered in Toronto and is known for serving coffee, doughnuts, and other fast-food items.

It is Canada's largest quick-service restaurant chain, with 5,352 restaurants in 15 countries worldwide. It claims to serve almost eight of every 10 cups of coffee sold in the country.

After Horton died in 1974, investor Ron Joyce assumed control of operations. He expanded it into a multi-billion dollar franchise.

Though Charade left the organization in 1966, he briefly returned in 1970 and again from 1993 through 1996.

In 2014, Burger King acquired the Canadian chain for US $11.4 billion. As a result, the two chains became subsidiaries of the Canadian-American holding company Restaurant Brands International.

The majority of Restaurant Brands International is owned by the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital.

Tim Hortons shop

Reasons You Should Choose Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is a famous multinational coffeehouse and fast-food chain with a loyal following worldwide. Customers love Tim Hortons for many reasons, but a few stand out.

First, it has a diverse menu and is known for its consistent quality of coffee and food across all its stores, creating a sense of familiarity and reliability for customers.

Tim Hortons has something for everyone, from the chocolate-glazed Timbits to the more adventurous jelly-filled doughnut.

Tim Hortons is also affordable, making it an accessible option for many people.

Its convenient drive-thru service and mobile ordering options make it popular for those on the go. Inside, you will always find a relaxed atmosphere and won't want to leave.

For Canadians, Tim Hortons is a cultural institution representing a sense of national pride and nostalgia and a great way to get started in the morning.


What Is Dunkin Donuts? (Quick Overview)

Brief History

Dunkin' Donuts LLC, or simply Dunkin', is a multinational coffee and doughnut company founded in 1950 by Bill Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts.[3]

In 2004, Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins became subsidiaries of Dunkin' Brands, with headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts.

The brand was eventually renamed Dunkin' in January 2019 as part of its rebranding as a "beverage-led company," which will ultimately be rolled out to all its international stores.

In December 2020, Dunkin' was purchased by Inspire Brands as part of the Dunkin brands group. Today, many Americans “run on Dunkin.”

The donut shop has around 12,900 locations in 42 countries, offering donuts, bagels, coffee, and "Munchkins" donut holes. It is one of the world's largest coffee and donut shop chains.

Dunkin Donuts shop

Reasons You Should Choose Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts always delivers a reliable and enjoyable fast food experience. With over 50 types of donuts and customizable premium beverages, Dunkin' Donuts has something for everyone.

Their commitment to premium ingredients ensures a consistent and delicious experience with every sip of coffee or bite of a donut.

With over 12,000 locations in 36 countries, Dunkin' Donuts is probably close by for a quick breakfast or snack on the go. Many locations are open 24 hours.

So if you're looking for a fast food experience that offers variety, quality, and convenience, Dunkin' Donuts is a perfect choice.


Related Tim Hortons and Dunkin Donuts Questions

Which has more caffeine, Dunkin' Donuts or Tim Hortons drinks?

Generally, Dunkin' Donuts coffee has more caffeine than Tim Hortons. A Dunkin' Donuts medium-brewed coffee contains 302 mg of caffeine, and Tim Horton’s medium coffee has 205 mg of caffeine.

What is Tim Hortons most famous for?

Tim Horton’s is most famous for its iconic Original Blend coffee, Double-Double coffees, and Timbits. 

What is Dunkin' Donuts most famous for?

Dunkin' Donuts is most famous for its signature product: donuts. The company sells billions of donuts and munchkins worldwide annually. 

Does Canada have Dunkin' Donuts?

Dunkin' Donuts once had hundreds of stores in Canada but disappeared from all regions by the early 2000s.

How does Starbucks compare to Tim Hortons & Dunkin'?

Starbucks compares to Tim Hortons, and Dunkin’ in a number of ways. Starbucks offers premium coffee and a vast menu with a focus on personalization and convenience. This means that the cost is typically at a premium compared to the other two chains.


Tim Hortons Or Dunkin'? (Our Verdict!)

Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Hortons are two of North America's most popular coffee chains, each with unique strengths and weaknesses.

However, Dunkin' Donuts may be the better choice for a quick and convenient option with a simple menu.

On the other hand, if you want a more affordable option with a focus on baked goods, Tim Hortons is for you.

Ultimately, the choice between the two chains is a personal preference and depends on your wants and needs.

I’m a big fan of both shops, and it’s hard to pick just one. So the next time you're craving a coffee or a donut, consider what each chain offers and experiment until you can find what you like.

References:

1. https://environment.co/fast-food-affect-environment/
2. https://www.timhortons.com/our-coffee-story
3. https://news.dunkindonuts.com/blog/blog_custom-20180718

Chloe Page

Author

Chloe Page
A lifelong mocha fan, Chloe is an award-winning writer with over eight years’ experience weaving words. Her journey in the coffee industry is highlighted by extensive research and interviews with coffee experts. In her moments of relaxation, you'll often find her sipping on Bird and Blend tea, thoughtfully scribbling in her notebook.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Bird and Blend Co Tea

See Our Editorial Processes

Meet Our Team

Share Feedback

Leave a Comment