I Always Pick Starbucks Over Tim Hortons & Here's Why I'd Rather Pay A Bit More Every Time

Does that make me less Canadian? 🤔

​A Starbucks cup. Right: A Tim Hortons restaurant in Nova Scotia.

A Starbucks cup. Right: A Tim Hortons restaurant in Nova Scotia.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Tim Hortons vs. Starbucks — which one is better? If you've ever asked yourself that question, allow me to help with the answer.

While Tim Hortons is definitely a Canadian staple, I've come to the conclusion that Starbucks Canada is just a little bit better at some things.

Yes, the prices may be higher. But in my opinion, the quality of the food and drinks at Starbucks makes it worth the visit every time.

So, here's why I always opt for Starbucks over Tim Hortons, and why the U.S. chain deserves all the love, even from Canadians.

Starbucks' selection is better

Starbucks' menu in Canada just offers more variety (and more interesting options) than Tim Hortons' menu does.

In particular, I'm a big fan of Starbucks refreshers, like the Pink Drink.

The drinks are available in unique flavours like Mango Dragonfruit (with or without coconut milk), Pineapple Passionfruit, and Strawberry Acai Lemonade, and each comes with the addition of dried fruit.

They're (unironically) super refreshing in the summer and have the perfect amount of sweetness.

While Tim Hortons does have a similar offering with their quenchers, they're just not quite the same in my opinion. I've also had quite a few experiences with them being on the more watery side.

Starbucks' baked goods just hit different

Yes, Tim Hortons donuts and Timbits have their time and place (going to the rink? Grab a box of Timbits), but I love the quality and variety of the baked goods at Starbucks just a little bit more.

Typically, Tim Hortons' selection is mostly donuts with a few other things like croissants, chocolate chip cookies and muffins but Starbucks seems to have every kind of baked good you could possibly want.

The Cake Pops? Always a classic. And their brownies are to die for — I quite literally lived off these in university.

As for cookies, you've got way more options here than just chocolate chip.

Ginger molasses (equally as good) sugar cookies, and seasonal versions of their sugar cookies like a heart-shaped cookie for Valentine's Day or a frosted Snowman for winter, all great options.

Starbucks also has more varieties of croissants (butter, chocolate, cheese danish) loaves (who doesn't love the Iced Lemon Loaf?), coffee cake, muffins and scones, like the Pumpkin Spice scone (a must-have for fall) and the Petite Vanilla Bean Scone, which is available year-round.

Hungry yet?

Starbucks breakfast is unmatched

Speaking of Starbucks food, the chain makes a breakfast that I think is just a little bit more lavish than Tim's.

Don't get me wrong — I love a good English muffin breakfast sandwich from Tim Hortons but Starbucks' breakfast sandwiches like the Everything Croissant & Roasted Ham Sandwich, breakfast wraps and sous vide egg bites seem more luxe, almost like they're homemade.

Sweet cream cold foam 

Sweet cream cold foam. That's it, that's the reason.

Unfortunately, there's nothing at Tim Hortons that rivals this sweet, creamy sensation for me.

I love its versatility (you can put it over coffee, get it with an Iced Chai Latte, or ask your barista to add strawberry puree to it for an even sweeter version). It also seems to be made with real whipping cream, rather than the phony stuff that other places use.

Lids that actually stay on your drink

Sorry, Tim Hortons, but your lids just haven't worked out for me in the past.

The plastic lids, like the ones used on Iced Capps and their quenchers, have more than once ended up in some major spillage for me, and apparently, I'm not the only one.

However, according to this Reddit thread, it may not be a problem anymore. Or, maybe it was never a problem and I was just really unlucky. Still, points off for ruining my shirt.

Holiday treats

No one does holiday drinks and treats quite like Starbucks. Their festive drinks, like the Caramel Brulée Latte at Christmas time and their Pumpkin Spice Latte during fall are hallmarks of each season.

Their seasonal baked goods are also always just a cut above the rest, with super cute designs (like a white and red candy-cane-style Cake Pop!) that always bring on the holiday cheer.

Of course, Tim Hortons has its own holiday offerings, which are cute in their own right, but at least for me, Starbucks is just a bit more special.


There are so many ways to customize your drinks at Starbucks, from adding different syrups or mixing in a bit of coconut milk to the addition of sweet cream cold foam or a flavoured topping.

Starbucks also has tons of "secret" drinks you can try, with unique combinations and customizations that you just won't find elsewhere.

In fact, there's a whole Starbucks secret menu!

To sum it all up, while Tim Hortons definitely has a place in my heart (I wouldn't be a true Canuck, otherwise!) but if given the choice, you'll usually catch me loading up on Pink Drinks and brownies at Starbs.

Katherine Caspersz
Katherine Caspersz is a Creator for Narcity Media focused on evergreen travel and things to do, and is based in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario.