A dark double double?

Your regular order might soon become a Double Double Dark, if Tim Hortons has its way.

In a bid to lure new customers who may otherwise choose "higher-end" coffee shops, Tim Hortons launched a new dark roast coffee Friday.

It marks the first time in the chain's 50-year history that it has offered an alternative to its distinctive regular brew.

The company unveiled the new blend -- priced at the same point as its original coffee -- after its research found consumers enjoy trying new coffees and occasionally choose a darker roast.

It says industry studies indicate around half of Canadian and U.S. coffee drinkers define the last coffee they had as a dark roast.

"The new blend offers hints of citrus, cocoa and earthy tones with a rounded body," the company said in a news release.

Customers react

Ottawa customers trying the new blend on Friday gave the coffee positive reviews.

"It’s not bad. I’d drink it again," Kyle Dumanoir told CTVNews.ca.

Dumanoir said he thought Tim Hortons had succeeded in making a coffee that tasted like it could have been brewed in a more upscale café. He compared the taste to the regular roast at Bridgehead, an Ottawa coffee shop that specializes in Fairtrade products.

Ingrid Champagne said she lives on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River and her local Tim Hortons has been serving the dark roast for a while now. She said she buys it every morning.

"I just tried it and I love it," she said. "It’s a little more, a little stronger."

Across the street at an Ottawa Starbucks, Dalia Abbadi said she thought the roast was a good move that might convince people to switch coffee allegiances.

"I think it could help," she said, but added that she’ll stick to lighter roasts at both restaurants.

Tim Hortons tested the new coffee last year in a pilot in London, Ont, a city that has served as one of its test markets for years, notably launching the chain's popular Iced Cappuccino. It also tested the blend in the Columbus, Ohio, the headquarters for the company's U.S. arm, Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop's. Columbus has also served as a test market over the years for such products as panini, lattes and cappuccinos.

Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest coffee chain and says it serves nearly 8 out of every 10 cups of coffee in Canada. The company owns more than 4,500 restaurants in Canada, the U.S. and the Middle East.

It has been faced with intense competition in recent years by U.S. rivals Starbucks and McDonalds, which both serve several coffees along with food.


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