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Coffee talk

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  February 25, 2010 03:08 PM

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I am a coffee guy.

Two mugs at home while perusing the Globe and Times. A cup while going through the Herald, USA Today, NY Post and NY Daily News. At least two more cups if I'm in the office for any length of time.

So I like my coffee, and I thought Seattle was a coffee mecca, but I've never seen anything like Vancouver.

Coffee appears to be mother's milk in this town. You want coffee, you get coffee.

Among your choices ...

Agape Coffee, Bean Around The World Coffee (8 outlets), Biega Coffee, Blentz Coffee, Blenz Coffee (20 outlets) --- yes, they're different --- Cedar Cottage Coffee House, Citroen Coffee House, Cocoa Lattes Coffee, Coffee Cat, Coffee & Teahouse, Coffee Waves, Connoisseurs Coffee, Continental Coffee, DFH Coffee, Daily Grind Coffee Bar, Delany's Coffee House (5 outlets), Diva's Coffee, Esquires Coffee House, Fair Waves Coffee (2 outlets), 49th Parallel Coffee, Gene Coffee Bar, Global Coffee, Green Bean Coffee, Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar (2 outlets), Grounds For Appeal, Harlan's Coffee Lounge, Honey's Buns, Hot Coffee Creation Ltd, Intellegentsia Coffee Canada, JJ Bean's House of Coffee (5 outlets), JJ House of Coffee, Java Cat Coffee Co., Java Jungle Coffee, Kits Coffee Co., Leiria Coffee House, L'Express Coffee.

Murchie's Tea & Coffee (5 outlets), Nebur King Coffee, Nebur-King Coffee --- yes, they're different --- Nectar's Coffee Shop, Ooh Ooh La La Cappuccino Bar, Paradise Coffee House, Petit Ami, Pho Scao Coffee, Raincity Coffee Ltd, Richmond Coffee Co. (7 outlets), River Road Coffee, Salt Spring Coffee (7), Seattle's Best Coffee, Second Cup of Coffee (3 outletrs), Souris Coffee Company, Spirit Bean Coffee, Starbucks (12 outlets), Strevenson Coiffee Co., Sweet Chili Coffee, Tarrazu Coffee Producers, Tim Horton's (25 outlets, although it seems more like 225), Torrefazione Italia Inc., Trees Organic Coffee, Turks Coffee (2 outlets), Two Cows Coffee, Village Coffee Lounge, Vivel Gelato Coffee, Waves Coffee (5 outlets), West of Them Java Coffee House, Yola's Coffee & Honey.

In addition, there are at least 20 "Coffee Specialty Bars" and 24 wholesale coffee outlets.

And you couldn't count the number of cafes and delis who claim their coffee is
the "Best in Town."

Tim Horton's is king up here. It's probably on everyone's short list of things most endearingly Canadian. It can be best equated to Dunkin' Donuts, but it is staunchly Canadian, and nowhere does this show up more clearly than in the pricing.

Check this out. At the Tim Horton's nearest the Main Press Centre, there are four coffee sizes, as follows: Small, $1.16. Medium, $1.28. Large, $1.52 and Extra Large, 1.67.

What?

Three gradations up from small only costs 51 cents more? What kind of marketing is that? Increases of 12 cents, 14 cents and 15 cents? Why would anyone get a small (which is, by the way, pretty small)?. Is that the historic Canadian "polite" thing at work? "Ooh, hope you don't mind if we ask you to pay 12 more cents for a medium?"

No way you see anything like that in America. We make you think. "Do I really want a large? Is it worth the increase to me?" But at Tim Horton's, you go for it. If you decide you can't drink the extra-large instead of the medium, take what you can and pour the rest out. It's only 39 cents more.

Ah, Canada. Vive la difference.

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