Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee cafe, is almost a national symbol, as Canadian as the maple leaf, hockey, and the signature Canadian politeness. Tim Horton’s is primarily a coffee and donut chain, with more emphasis on “coffee”.
Similar to Dunkin, a majority of the revenue made by Tim Horton’s in a year is primarily due to coffee. It is estimated, of the 2.81 Billion Dollars they made in 2020, about 40% came from coffee alone. With so much coffee being put out in the world by Tim Horton’s, a fair question to ask is, “where do they source their coffee from?” and “is it ethical?”
“Ethically sourced” coffee has no formal definition, but a general consensus seems to be that all producers in the coffee supply chain get paid a fair share of the final product. The Specialty Coffee Association also deals primarily with the quality of coffee because it produces such a high premium on the quality, and by extension, the producer, going so far as to pay a premium price for it. Also, it indirectly ensures the producers and stakeholders get paid their fair share.
Tim Horton’s primarily buys Arabica beans from farmers in Colombia and Guatemala through their Tim Hortons Coffee Partnership program. They claim to work directly with farmers and their families. They also claim to work with national coffee associations in their respective countries to educate and ensure their partner farmers that the best labor practices are followed. They claim to use third-party verification every three years and self-audits during the in-between years. Even though they purchase commodity coffee, they ensure they can trace the coffee back to where it originated from.
And for all intents and purposes, it seems Tim Horton’s is the real deal! Notwithstanding the unsavory controversies, they found themselves in the last few years with employees and franchisee owners, Tim Horton’s seems to be sourcing coffee in a way that fairly pays the farmers and actually looks after the environment, and they have managed to do this all without the pressure of legislation.
For example, based on a 2010 study shows that Tim Horton’s actually put their money where their mouth is and enrolled 1159 coffee partners, and actually bought the equipment in addition to educating them about best practices to reduce total water consumption, reduce pesticide use, and promoting shade on the coffee farm. Their third-party and in-house verification practices have been reported by the media as well and are not just eyewash to hide nefarious dealings.
By all means, it seems like Tim Horton’s is the real deal and manages to encompass all the positives about perceived Canadian politeness.