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Nov 18, 2007 08:50 AM

The GTA needs more Second Cups! [moved from Ontario board]


1. It's Canadian.
2. I like their lattes..
3. They have SPC discounts
4. They're not too outrageously priced .. well, when you add in the SPC discount
5. There arent enough, at least accessible to me .. I live in Scarborough, and I dont wanna visit the mall to get to one

Oh, and I say Second Cup, as opposed to Starbucks and Timothy's.

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  1. As a person who spends far too much money on coffee, both lattes and brewed, I have a hierarchy of where I prefer to spend my money when given options (which are usually quite plentiful downtown, not so much in Scarborough, perhaps).

    My hierarchy goes something like this:

    1. Independent coffee shops, with one location only (Bisogno, Cafe 260, Balzac's, etc.)
    2. Mini-chains based in Toronto (basically, Lettieri).
    3. Chains based in Canada (Second Cup for sit in, Tim Horton's* for take out)
    4. Timothy's (yes it's Canadian, but sorry, awful coffee)
    5. Convenience store no-name canister coffee swill
    6. Gas station no-name canister coffee swill
    7. Starbucks (milky overpriced coffee + stale treats + evil globalized megachain = bad)

    * Okay, Tim's is technically owned by the Wendy's corporation, but it has such a Canadian identity I still count it as Canadian.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gary

      You shouldn't. Tim's has nothing to do with Canada anymore except for capitalizing on our image. Sorta like WalMart Canada. Hey, you can put Canada in the name. We all know it means you're distinguishing it from the father company.

      Couldn't agree more with JennJen 18. If I want coffee and a local indie is unavailable I would like it to be easy to go to Second Cup. No downside. Buy Canadian. Get quality. Keep the money in Canada.

      1. re: Gary

        Ths is sort of besides the point - but Balzac's has more then one location

        1. re: professor plum

          Oh no! I withdraw my support immediately! Just kidding :)

      2. Second Cup is awful, could dare less their canadian.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bluedog

          starbucks sucks really badly, it's all a case of perceived value. Fancy wrappers and expensive prices don't a quality product make. Their tea for instance is deplorable.

          anyhow, second cup is no longer canadian, it was bought by a US corp. ages ago.

          1. re: TaCk OnE

            Whaddaya mean? Dinecorp's Canadian. Am I missing something? Oh yes, a mocha red eye.

        2. Second Cup and Tim's are the two chains I go to because they are leagues better than Starbuck's. Whether they are owned by Canadians, or by Swiss bankers living in Cancun doesn't factor into my choice. :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pincus

            Exactly. "Canadian owned" is one factor I consider, but quality is the main consideration. Given a choice, I'm not going to buy a crappy product, no matter who makes it. Say what you will about Tim Hortons, but for what they do, the quality and consistency of the products they sell are pretty impressive. The coffee may be cheap robusto, but they make it right and they serve it fresh, and they do so 99.9% of the time I visit. The donuts (yes, even the new pre-frozen versions) are pretty decent, as are the sandwiches, soups, bagels, and other goodies. They're a good value for the money, whether you're in downtown TO, at a rest stop beside the 401, or in small town Nova Scotia.

            The mother corporation may be no longer Canadian, but since Tim's was split off as a separate public offering you can bet that a large percentage of stockholders are Canadian, as are all the Canadian franchise owners, and their multitudes of staff. So much of the $1.24 you spend on a Tim's coffee is still going to the Canadian economy.

            Starbucks is the opposite example: to me, the evil of being a large homogenizing global corporation is secondary to the fact that the products they sell are, in my experience, quite mediocre and expensive compared to the competition. Starbucks sells mainly a lifestyle image, and their coffee and food don't back it up. They need to spend less time programming Starbucks Digital Radio and selling adult contemporary CDs at the cash, and more time actually making good coffee. Only the fact that they are so ubiquitous lets them get away with it: until Starbucks arrived in their town, many North Americans probably never had a latte or espresso-based coffee in their lives, and they don't realize what they're settling for.

            In my opinion, Second Cup falls somewhere in between these two extremes; usually pretty good, but not consistantly so.

          2. I really dislike Starbucks coffee. The pastries I've eaten (only a handful of times over the years) there are overly sweet and taste like they have been defrosted and often have that tell-tale freezer burn taste. Unfortunately, they are popping up everywhere. There are two now within a 3 minute walk from each other in BCE Place alone. At Bathurst and Centre there are now two within a 1 min drive. All I can say is that I hope they oversaturate themselves. Unfortunately, the masses seem to disagree with me.
            I like Letteiri when I'm near one. I've enjoyed coffee at some of the independent stores (Manic, for example), but they are not in my hood, so unfortunately can not be a regular morning fix.
            Each morning when I go into work, I get a Noisette from Mmmmuffins, which is a Timothy's product. It's not the best, but it's hot, tastes acceptable and is affordable.
            If I feel like a latte, I go to Second Cup. In terms of Second Cup, I think it depends on the management of the particular location. The one at Commerce Court has always been managed very well. The only baked product I get from Second Cup every once in awhile is the cinnamon crunch biscotti. I always look in the case at the overly-iced, overly-sweet looking pastries and feel uninspired to indulge.

            5 Replies
            1. re: pescatarian

              I'm gonna go completely against the grain... I like Starbucks. I think they make a consistent product of good quality, considering. I only go into Tim's if forced to, and I think their coffee smells and tastes like an old dishrag. It's a personal beef of mine. And Second Cup and Timothy's...well, if I'm gonna spend money on an espresso, I generally find better quality and consistency at Starbucks. But, to each his own. Lots of people disagree with me....

              But I do agree that the preponderance of Starbucks's's' (Starbucki?) is almost rdiculous. I much prefer lettieri for the the pastries.

              1. re: bluedog

                Well, I do agree with you about Tim's. I didn't mention them because I only drink it if I am going somewhere and nothing else is open and I really need a coffee. On Friday I had about a half an hour to kill and figured the best option was to go into Tim's. I tried an oatmeal raisin cookie. What a waste of calories. Stale and bland.

              2. re: pescatarian

                Exactly Pescatarian. There was once a Second Cup on Sherbourne south of Bloor that still stands out in my mind as superior to all other locations. They really cared about what they did.

                I'd like to know why it's so easy for me to go to Starbucks and nearly impossible to walk to a Second Cup. They're like the Bank of Montreal of coffee shops. Never on the corner you want. Always just that few inconvenient blocks away. Near my work I have 2 Tim Horton's and a Starbucks, ZERO Second Cup. Near my home, that's right, ditto. Thank goodness for good homemade coffee and the occasional Jet Fuel trip.

                1. re: Googs

                  Several theories:

                  Customer Demand. Perhaps people Just Don't want 2nd cup.
                  Marketing: Starbucks is just better at it.
                  Consistency (i.e. better corporate management): If everyone who likes 2nd cup seems to agree that it really depends on the location, then why would people who've been burned at a bad one try a good one?
                  People Don't know any better: The millions of people who flock like sheep to Starbucks every day are just wrong. Of course I think that the hundreds of thousands of people (this is Canada after all) who flock to Tims every day are just wrong :)

                  1. re: bluedog

                    Both Starbucks and Tims just have better marketing. I've had just as many bad experiences at any of the Starbucks, Tim's or Second Cup. All of these have inferior locations in their flock. I like some of Timothy's products, but I feel that they have been the worse at quality control with their locations. I've had the worst customer service experience at Timothy's. Neither Starbucks and Tims make superior coffee than Second Cup. However, we as CH'ers know that quantity does not equal quality. Most people are good at heeding the advice of the marketer. And what they get is decent, maybe not the best, but it'll do. And they feel like they fit in with that fashionable cuppa in their hand. Jaded, I know, but that's the only way I can explain it, since I don't believe they have the best product and yet they are on every corner (sometimes twice).