This morning I stopped off at Timothy's World Coffee (50 Rideau Street, Ottawa) in the Rideau Centre to investigate their coffee selection.
But before I visited the cafe, I had to find it. I had walked past it several times and mentally bookmarked it. Unlike the other coffee shops, this one is not near a major trip generator like the Mackenzie King Bridge or off of Rideau Street like the Second Cup or Starbucks. Thus, the morning commuter traffic by this location is lesser than it's coffee shop brethren.
After entering the mall from the Mackenzie King Bridge entrance and wandering around to where I thought it was and realized I had no clue. I consulted the map at the Rideau Street & Sussex entrance and noted the coffee shop was on the third floor right above me. I strolled up the escalator to find the coffee shop and walked in.
I placed my order with a single Barista working the shop all by herself. A single Barista working the counter during the morning rush is a good indicator this location is not normally busy. I suppose for a coffee shop this could be a little concerning.
The Order: 1 Medium sized Medium Blend Coffee.
After placing my order it was inquired if I would like anything to eat with my drink. I replied "no thanks" to the obvious upselling tactic. The Barista then went to load the coffee machine with grounds and reset the machine. She then poured my coffee, apoligized for the slight delay and asked if I wanted to answer the trivia question on the wall.
I declined to answer "what instrument was Beethoven's Christmas Sonata written for?" which turned out to be the "Piano". Really? a trivia question? It may be fun to ask your regular customers but because this is the first time I'm there, you've taken your sweet time in pouring my cup of coffee (which you have acknowledged via the apology) you then ask me about a trivia question? Not sure how Timothy's has trained it's coffee Baristas, but obviously they have too much time on their hands to come up with a trivia question instead of serving their customers coffee. I could see perhaps running a contest of a free coffee on your next visit type of campaign if you can answer the question at perhaps a Starbucks, but this seemed to be an everyday occurence with no marketing advantage.
She finally rang up my coffee, $2.25 including tax. The coffee itself was optically a similar size to Second Cup's medium but bigger than Bridgehead's Medium. Both of those are $2.05 and $2.00 respectively, so why the difference of $0.15?
The coffee didn't taste any better than the major competitors, in fact to me it tasted worse than other coffee chain coffee including Tim Hortons. There really was no different taste that would set it apart from even the unique taste of Tim Hortons. With McDonald's and even Mac's stores upping their game in the coffee wars, you would figure a company that prides itself on selling coffee like Timothy's would have it's own unique tastes for even it's plain medium roast coffee. Apparently not.
The only unique taste Timothy's World Coffee has is either in it's specialty taste brewed coffee like Second Cup's French Vanilla or Caramelo coffees. Timothy's also provides specialty blends through the sale of their coffee beans or grounds just like the other stores. What I can't figure out is why Timothy's coffee on average is $0.15 more per cup yet tastes mediocre compared to Second Cup which is in the same mall.
Overall, this Timothy's World Coffee location is not worth stopping by for a morning coffee brew. Other chains serve better coffee at better prices no matter if you are looking for flavoured or just a regular coffee. Nothing special to see here, please just move along.
Historicist: Elizabeth Simcoe, A Toronto Pioneer
4 hours ago