Tim Hortons’ double dribble

From the archives: Why is Tim Hortons sitting out the race to build a better lid?





Every morning millions of bleary-eyed students, factory workers and cubicle dwellers are united in their quest for a Tim Hortons “fix.” Well, that, and the unending frustration that is the #&@% Tim Hortons coffee lid. You know what we’re talking about. The little plastic tab that’s supposed to tear back and fit snugly into the notch but tends to rip at an angle instead, leaving a jagged edge. Even if the tab tears properly, it’s always popping back up anyway. And the leaks!!! The primary function of a lid is simple enough—keep liquid and heat in the cup—yet as the dampened masses of the Tim Hortons nation can attest, the company’s lids seem specifically designed to liberate one’s beverage from the cup and send it dribbling down your hand and onto your shirt. We’ve all been there. Only, it doesn’t have to be this way.

The coffee lid has gone through a revolution in recent years. You can see that in the superior lids on offer from Tim Hortons’ many rivals. Every year dozens of new disposable lid “inventions” are filed with patent offices. Never have there been so many enterprising and reliable lid designs for restaurants to choose from—lids with raised and contoured spouts, ones that rotate to open and close, anti-spill lids engineered with chambers to keep coffee from leaking out, and even “smart” lids that function like a French press or that change colour with the temperature of your drink.

Yet, through it all, Tim Hortons has sat squarely on the sidelines. Now, even as Tim Hortons celebrates the 25th anniversary of its Roll Up The Rim contest this week, a grassroots campaign is gaining steam among Facebook users and bloggers who all share the same unrelenting message for the company: ordering a double double shouldn’t have to mean dribble dribble.

Doug Stitt, an American living in Columbus, Ohio, is one of them, though until recently he thought he was alone in his frustration. Shortly after Stitt moved to the city in the late 1990s, he fell in love with Tim Hortons coffee. The chain had only just opened up there, one of several beachheads in its effort to crack the U.S. market. Since then, Stitt, who works in design and marketing, has been a regular, stopping off at least three times a week to start his day. But as much as he craves the coffee, he loathes the lids. “They’re not just bad in one way, they’re bad in every way,” he says.

Oh, he’s tried workarounds, or as he calls it, “MacGyvering” the lids. To overcome the malfunctioning tab he sometimes cuts it off completely, though that just leaves a gaping hole through which the heat and drink escapes. (Not to mention mounds of tabs littering his car floor.) To tackle the leakage, he bought a reusable lid that he carries around with him, should the need arise. But even then, the backup lid only stops leaks sporadically.

The inadequacy of Tim Hortons’ lids has only became more pronounced as one rival chain after another upgraded their cups and lids. Not just big companies either, he notes. “You see one-off coffee shops counting pennies to make the rent and they have functioning lids,” he says. “It drives you crazy.”

Yet for years Stitt stewed largely to himself. Then a few weeks ago he decided to find out once and for all if the issue was worth the mental energy he’d expended on it. So he searched Facebook and was struck by what he found. “There are so many other people out there who feel exactly the same way. It turns out I’m not completely ridiculous.”

Far from it. As of last week, there were close to 70 Facebook groups with nearly 3,000 members railing against Tim Hortons lids. They swap lid horror stories, tips and tricks for jerry-rigging the lids, and plead with the company to find a better replacement. There are YouTube videos offering advice on how to counter the lid’s flaws. (In one, a customer explains what’s needed to achieve “spillprooficity”—just push the flap down into the cup to form a spill barrier, which is fine if you don’t mind submersing a piece of plastic who knows how many other people have touched into your drink.) And the lids have spawned countless tirades on consumer forums across the Internet. The caption on one photo of a Timmy’s cup standing in a puddle of coffee reads: “The face of the enemy.”

Tim Hortons is guarded about the issue. The company didn’t make anyone available for an interview, but Tim Hortons’ head of public affairs, David Morelli, did release a statement to Maclean’s saying internal research indicates the vast majority of customers are happy with the current style of lids. “With more than two billion cups of coffee served every year, we’re not surprised some people disagree,” he wrote, adding the company knows its customers are passionate about its products and that it takes their comments seriously. And to be fair, Tim Hortons clearly isn’t suffering from a consumer backlash—in its most recent quarter, sales were up 9.8 per cent to $670.5 million from the year before. Still, Morelli offered a flicker of hope: “Lids are an important part of the coffee-drinking experience, and we’ll continue to look for ways to improve on them.”

While the Tim Hortons lid has no doubt been called many things over the years, it would appear its patented name is “Foldback cup lid having comfortable drinking characteristics,” and it can be found in both the U.S. and Canadian patent databases. Tim Hortons wouldn’t confirm whether this patent is in fact the lid it uses, though it is identical in almost all respects to the lids used in Canada. (For specialty coffees, the company uses better lids with higher clearance and a smaller drink hole, but those drinks come with a premium price tag.)

This particular lid patent is assigned to a small Mississauga manufacturer, Amhil Enterprises, and debuted in the mid-1990s. That would place it in the paleolithic era of the lid business. At least, that’s how Louise Harpman sees it. Few people outside the beverage industry have spent as much time studying coffee lids as Harpman, a New York City architect and professor at New York University. Along with her partner, Scott Specht, Harpman has amassed the largest collection of “independently patented drink-through plastic cup lids” in the U.S., numbering at around 130. (The Museum of Modern Art can attest to that.) When shown a photo of the Tim Hortons lid, she was not impressed. “That is very much old news in the lid world,” she says. “I’m one of these people who love all things Canadian, but in this case you’re looking pretty behind the times.”

When told of the leakage problems, she proposed several theories. One is that the flat lid sits too close to the coffee, causing a capillary action in which the coffee defies gravity and rises up over the lip of the cup. She also wonders whether the lids and cups might be from different manufacturers. Whatever the case, the lid is sadly outdated, given innovations on display in new patents. “You will see references to ‘superior mouth comfort’ and ‘superior ability for leakage control,’ and this is actually inferior leakage containment and inferior mouth comfort,” she says.

The fact is, the Tim Hortons lid lags even older coffee covers. The ergonomically crafted Solo Traveler, which Harpman says touched off the coffee-lid arms race with its debut in 1986 and remains one of the most popular lids out there, is more functional than Tim Hortons’ offering. Last year Steven Heller, a New York designer, wrote in the New York Times Style Magazine that the Traveler’s spout is a “substitute for a mother’s breast—what we might call nature’s original travel lid.”

For now, all customers can do is wait and complain—but also hope. In 2009 Amhil, which appears to hold the patent for the current Tim Hortons lid, received a patent in the U.S. for a lid with a rotating stopper. The aim: “To provide a cup lid having a reduced potential for accidental spillage.”

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Tim Hortons’ double dribble

  1. I have actually never had a huge problem with the Timmies lids…especially compared the McDonalds coffee drinking experience! I won't even get their free coffee now, I get spills and drips EVERY time I drink one!

    • Agreed, McDonalds is much worse, the lid I'm sure would work fine, I mean… if it fit the cup.

    • The new McDonald's cups are far superior to the Tim's cups. The lid is a simple pinch-pull and it locks in place. The cups are double walled so it keeps the heat a little bit better than Tims, cooler on your hands when you first pick it up and the mouth piece prevents spillage. My only beef with the McDonalds cup is that the mouth piece traps the last little bit of coffee.

      • Speaking of McDonals cups, has anyone else every ripped the outer wall away from the inner wall? Do you know what is revealed? Well, the inner cup is all white, except for….this one black square! What the heck!

    • I guess the question is….

      I changing Tim Hortons lid worth the added $$$ they'll charge for it ?

      I prefer the McDonald's lids… but is it worth 10 cents more? 1 cent maybe… 2? perhaps. Where is the cutoff. I guess Tim Horton's will decide to change it when they feel it's profitable.

      • McDonald’s lids are used on the ISS. They mock Timmy’s lids in space all the time.

    • No way!! McDonalds lids are way better than Timmy's…. better coffee too. I know, blasphemy in this country :)

      I find if you make sure that the drinking portion of the McDonald's cup is not on the seam you don't have the leak problem….. I guess that is kind of a silly design flaw, but I actually find if the lid is in the wrong spot on a Tim Horton's cup I have leak problems as well….

      Overall, I much prefer McDonald's cup and lid design over Tim's.

      • Tim’s cups say right on them not to place the drinking part of the lid over the seam but the idiots that work there do it all the time. I just change it and move it around. I refuse to drink from over the seam

    • The McDonalds lids are great but the cups are awful – the rim gets soaked with coffee and they begin to degrade and then the lid is useless because the cup is defective. My wife burned herself and our son when this happened. The McDonalds staff did little to help the situation.
      I agree with the article writer about the Timmies lids, though. Very frustrating – never stick.

  2. Just push the tab inside! Then it doesn't spill!

    • Also keeps the coffee warmer longer.

      • also is so annoying

    • I'm an 'inside pusher' myself, a trick learnt when I drove long-haul trucks and needed a baffle to keep the liquid from splashing out.

      I'm also a lid-rotater, and always line up the seam with the opening as to minimize spills. I'm amazed they don't train Timmies employees to always line up the opening with the seam.

      • When you line the seam and the opening up it actually spills more. This is true for both tim hortons and mcdonalds. Emplyees are trained to put the lid on the opposite side of the seam to prevent leaks. Although its only a select few that actually follow the training.

      • Your words are wise. They smell whiskery and tall.

      • That’s not smart…it spills more and it says on Tim’s cups not to do that but the idiots who work there do it anyway. I rotate my lids also….away from the seam.

    • Hey Sharon it's a good idea i've been doing it since 1977 when we here in newfoundland had only one TIM Horton's and it works very well to prevent spills and leaks

    • I believe pushing the tab inside causes infections.

      • What????????????????

    • Exactly. Been doing that for years.

  3. I have never really had issues with the lids either. I think people in general just like to complain. Stop drinking coffee while you drive and perhaps you won't spill your coffee. Oh and perhaps check to make sure the lid is on correctly before you drink.

    BTW to the author, it's Jury-rigged and not jerry-rigged. You are getting confused with jerry-built..


  4. Just open the tab slightly and put it under the lid on the inside. Problem solved. Doesn't spill. Doesn't leak. Heat stays in.

    Am I the only one that does this?

    • I do the same…..and it works every time

    • I was thinking the same thing!

    • Yes Jason…you're the ONLY one…oh except that this exact method was mentioned in the article.

      • It’s true Jason, you now owe Jason Only 15% of nothing in royalties.

      • I do it also

    • I do the same if they change the Lid it will not work. I love it no spillage while driving

  5. The lids they use for drinks with whipped cream work so well. Why can't they just use those?

  6. Buy a mug already and stop littering.

    • A-O

    • I bring my own travel mug regularily, and sometimes they only charge me for a medium to fill it even though its at least a large…
      double (double) win…

    • Maybe we should have the government make us all buy mugs so we litter less…. and they could make us buy them from certain vendors at $20 each and put the money toward the national debt. And we could call it a tax….

      The reason I don't have a problem with the coffee is that their parboiled pre-baked semi-cooked factory reheated doughnuts are so bad I don't even stop there any more.

    • besides ,it's not the lids , it's the coffee.They changed the coffee back a year or two and now the coffee tastes bitter and needs a lot of cream to cover that bitterness. MacDonalds and the Picklebarrel have better tasting coffee.

    • the problem you get when you bring in your own mug is they use the same spoon on your mug as they do in everyone elses coffe i think it gross that they due this what if your a person who never cleans it or dose who knows what to it and theys tir your coffe and then stick that spoon in mine

  7. Tim Hortons strives for mediocrity…. weak coffee, flavourless sandwiches and a vanilla marketing campaign that portrays Canada in the same way a Christmas cookie tin portrays Victorian England.

    • Ha! Well done.

    • Funny…!!! BUT: You have Blasphemed against the Great Timbos! CLEARLY: You are not a Canadian! Maybe global warming has affected you!

    • I agree completely. Go to Starbucks. It may be pricey but at least you get a strong cup of consistently unburnt coffee.

      • If I want a cup of burnt coffee I know I can always find it at Starbucks.

    • You forgot to mention donuts that taste stale even when they just freshly made it to the basket behind the plexiglas.

  8. I agree!! The first thing I do is remove the lid, open and remove the tab and then make sure the opening of the lid encompasses the seam of the cup.

    This also gives me the chance to make sure they filled the cup and didn't leave about an inch of space at the top.

    • Ah, but how do you know that they didn't leave 25.4 mm of space at the bottom?!

  9. I hate the lids, but if you carry your own cup – problem solved. Shouldn't everyone be doing that by now?

    • I was wondering how long it was going to take for someone to mention this obvious "fix"

    • NO

      • YES!

  10. I've never had much of a problem with Tim's lids. I don't tend to walk or drive or bike with an open coffee anyway, which might be the reason – I leave my Tim Horton's cup closed until I can sit down to drink it. That said, I have had the lids refuse to "snap" the little flap open, and have subsequently just ripped it off and drunk my coffee. Again, not a problem because I'm always sitting down at that point.

  11. i d0nt have a problem with the lid. instead of flipping it up tuck it inside then when you put it in your coffee holder and you hit a bump the coffee will not come out of the cup . a little brains people. your welcome

    • It's "you're". I guess you taxed your brain with that genius tucking trick.

    • Charlie, you are so facetious."A little brains people" is SO condescending.You`re so nasty…or should I say, in the grammatically incorrect words of yourself “YOUR“ NASTY!

  12. The tucking of the lid inside is an excellent suggestion; have been doing it for years. My beef is with McDonald's new cups because the lid is failing to seal there is a seam is in the top rim. I have to make sure it always directly opposite the drinking hole. We can put a man on the moon; now if we could only conquer this leaking issue!!

      • Yes, we landed on the moon. You've fallen prey to one of the oldest Internet hoaxes going. Every single one of the arguments in this video have been successfully demolished.
        Sure, thousands of employees at NASA could have kept this quiet for four decades.

  13. The lids are terrible. They leak when closed. I love walking 2 blocks from Timmys back to my work with coffee all over my hand. I just LOVE it.

  14. I like the new McDonalds lids and the coffee is as good or better than Tim Horton's.

    • I spilled McDonalds coffee all over my shoulder bag and down my front while walking home yesterday. Maybe the new lids haven't been implemented yet in my city.

    • Agreed, except, for a Canadian to say that McD's coffee is better than Timbos, is well, unpatriotic!
      Oh the shame! I like both equally. Excuse me while I go get my Japanese short sword!

    • I fully agree with you. Timmy's lids always leak and the MacDonald's lids do not. Their coffee is great and cheaper!

    • Yes and FYI McDonalds actually spends more on their coffee because it is a higher grade than Tim's. (that is from one of their suppliers) That is why McDonalds coffee taste better….and for those that say it doesn't…well its a matter of taste, but
      you either know good coffee or you don't ! I also prefer Second Cup. You pay more, but then again you are getting a premium blend.

  15. Hmm…my re-usable coffee cup doesn't leak on me and keep my Timmies nice and hot.

  16. Here is a thought buy a reusable mug that seals.

    • And yet, with the worst lid design, they're the only Canadian coffee chain with a marketing campaign based on using disposable cups.


    • Yes buying a reusable cup is the more eco way to go but the fact remains that Timmy's should be providing a leakproof, spillproof cup and lid for their customer's coffee and tea. I always have problems with both their cjups and lids. It brings me to wonder why we don't boycott Timmy's coffee and tea drinks. If there is enough of us, they will surely change them.

  17. I love everything about timmies coffee and suffer constant cravings for 9 months of the year. I spend my summers in Canada and the other 9 months in Mexico. The trick and part of the ritual of starting a fresh cup of timmies is… put the seam of the cup at the opening of the lid and push the tab into the cup (germs be damned). spill free. Works for me.

    • you do know that they actually grow delicious coffee in Mexico, right?

      • and without the addicting additives Timmy's adds

      • The "delicious" Mexican coffee is exported to Canada, the US and Europe.

  18. The Tim Horton’s coffee lid has annoyed me for years. I always get a napkin and wrap it around the cup below the opening as I expect it to drip. I never have my re-usable cup with me when I stop at Timmies as I use it at home and on the drive to work most mornings.

  19. I didn't have many problems with Timmies lids but I use a travel mug most of the time now. A good travel mug is really the only way to solve leaking and spilling problems.
    I do like Starbucks lids with the stir stick/stopper if I don't have my mug with me.

  20. I spent a few months working in Boston, and I must say that Dunkin' Donuts has the best coffee lid ever. It's basically a cross between the Starbucks lid-with-spout and the classic tab lid. There is the spout, but there is also a tab that can plug the spout. Here's an image: http://aramsinnreich.typepad.com/aram_squalls/ima

    The tab fist snug in the hole and it works like a charm. There's even a little dock on the other side to hold the tab open.

    • that monster's the freakin' Space Program of disposable coffee lids…!

    • very! very cool!

    • Damm! That's one fine lid! Hey Timbos! Are ya watchin'?

    • the only problem is that DDs coffee sucks

      • True, but it's at least better than Tim Horton's.

  21. I know, I know the bulk of the readership are American-hating socialists but please explain to me how every test BNN has done comparing MacDonalds with Tims winds up with the same resuts, 60-40 for Rotten Ronnies. Far cheaper and, despite the protestations of Snazzy and his American-hating friends MacDobalds is always my first choice. My second choice, by the way, is A&W. The 'sheeple' just can't get out of line.

    • You seem stressed.

    • I've been noticing a lot of comments lately about "sheeple" and it seems to me that "sheeple" are the ones who use the term. Trying to sound original with a lack of originality is a bit sad and suggests that you see yourself in the term, perhaps with a bit of self loathing and a touch of denial.

    • It's always "American Hating socialist" isn't it? Even though the USA have their own social programs and have for years. Which part of the socialist programs could you do without? The Armed Forces? The Police? The fire department? How about Medicare and Medicaid for retirees and the poor? Libraries? Road repair? Public schools?
      Funny thing is, for an American Hating Socialist country we have lower corporate taxes than the USA.
      It's just coffee. Get over it.

  22. Tim Horton's is like the Leafs… why are we going to go out of our way to please the fans when there's always a lineup to get in no matter what we do? I mean, why did it take them so long to get freakin' Interac?

    BTW, I'm also a complete hypocrite. I'm off to Tim's right now.

    • not only do they not try to be better (like the Leafs), but they actively make their product worse (like the Leafs), like when they stopped baking their donuts

      • The ultimate combo? The Timmies Maple Leafs donut. Blue, tastes awful, and can't score.

    • You are SO right on with that comment. Now then, while we're at it, I stopped at a Hortons in Ann Arbor Mi a few weeks ago and received a "Tim Hortons" issued heat sleeve on my paper cup. I even took a picture of it and brought the sleeve home. You would not believe the baffle gab that I got from a 'representative'. How about "…… we feel that adding coffee sleeves to our current packaging would actually increase waste." Double cupping is OK though. Go figure.

  23. Thank-you, thank-you, THANK-YOU to the author and to Maclean's for drawing national attention to this very small but very irksome issue! Here's hoping that TH will make a change in the near future, and thousands of Canadians won't be explaining the coffee dribbles on their clothing when they arrive at work in the morning.

    Btw, I totally agree with the commenters who suggest bringing their own reusable mug, but sometimes that isn't practical (having consumed countless cups of Timmies across the country as a business traveller). And in any case, it really shouldn't be the consumer's responsibility to fix the problems caused by the coffeeshops' faulty lids.

    • You are tight on all points! Said it better than I could! Thanks!

    • Very irksome, you say? You keep giving them your business, don’t you? Obviously this very irksome issue is not very-irksome enough.

  24. Go mainline IV with your daily caffeine and all problems solved, and it may even be tax deductable.

  25. find another café, my local has a loyalty punch card (12th one free) and brews delicious, freshly ground, fairly traded, organic beans for about the same price as Timmy Ho's… of course that makes me a Seditious Red in some circles, but I'm okay with that.

    • I agree one hundred per cent! I can only speak to Calgary and Hamilton. In Calgary, try Good Earth: http://www.goodearthcafes.com/great-coffee/coffee…. In Hamilton, I like My Dog Joe and Mulberry Cafe, which also serves fair trade, shade grown.

      • Sadly, many of us live in the near-burbs, where small coffee shops do not open, and timmies is all there is. They've even driven the awful coffe times and country styles out of business.

        I drink good coffee once at work…but the transit commute is coffee free.

  26. Current lid or better lid, it's still tasteless donut water.

  27. I absolutely LOVE the fact that the disposable lid from a fast-food joint is considered a problem in this country. My gosh we are a lucky, fortunate, and blessed people no?

    • You're right. :)

    • You're right, of course. To be fair to the author, I don't think he was framing it as a national problem, so much as an inexplicable minor annoyance that lots of Canadians experience daily.

    • It's a lighthearted humorous piece.

  28. Hmmm… I haven't thought much about this, but after reading this article, I too am furious about the lids.
    I now realize how much better it could be.



  29. I've never liked Tim Horton's lids, they don't grip the rim of the cup securely, tending to pop off at the slightest squeeze of the cup. This seems to especially be a problem for me with the larger sizes, perhaps it's the way I grip the cup. (and no, I never drink coffee while driving)

    Also, is it just me or has Tim's changed their coffee too? It just doesn't seem to taste that good anymore.
    I committed apostasy 6 months ago and switched to McDonald's for my daily dose; their old coffee tasted like heated spittoon water, but their new stuff taste like Tim Horton's used to. Plus they have the best cup/lid combo out there.

    • Sadly, I have to agree with you. McD's had improved a zillion percent. And their cup is better. I think Timbo's tasted better when we were younger, too. I have no idea if they have degraded their stuff, or it is merely that the competition has improved their "spittoon water" (I love that! Thanks!) by such an infinitude. I now like McD's almost as much as Timbo's, and the cups and lid are better. Oh, Timbos! Oh, Great Icon of Canadiana! Hear our prayer, and stop over-milking the cash cow, and return our land's rightful coffee heritage unto us!

  30. Tim Horton's lid is the worst. I always make a mess and it splashes in your face when it flips back at you.

    You did, however, miss the best lid of all. Here in Belleville, the Subway store has a sliding closer on the lid. It is "The Best Ever". I have even kept a couple to use on other, "not so user friendly" cups. Get with it Timmy. You can afford it.

    Thanks MacLean's for bringing attention to this small but frustrating issue.

    • Im so glad im not the only one that thought Subways lids were AMAZING! The slider is the best invention ever. :)

  31. This Australian comapny has launched the Smart Lid which will change the coffee drinkers experience

  32. A great way to skip this issue altogether is to simply bring your own mug to the coffee shop. There's even a Facebook page to help ease you into the transition from single-use disposable cups to durable, multiple-use mugs: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=7578298645&…
    I bought a phenomenal stainless-steel travel mug at a Second Cup location in Toronto a few months ago and have used it ever since for every cup of coffee that I've purchased at Tim Horton('s), Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Peet's, SPoT, and (of course) Second Cup ever since. [Most coffee shops, chains and independents alike, will also give you a slight discount for bringing your own.]

    • This is true. Though I rarely buy Tim Horton’s coffee, when I have done so, I have found their staff to be particularly unfriendly toward filling reausable travle mugs.

  33. But I prefer by FAR starbuck's

  34. Forget the lids, give us cardboard holders so we can hang on to the hot cup!

    • Excellent point!

  35. O yeah this is a huge problem! Not sure how I'm going to sleep tonight…

    • Lose the sass, Mike. Some of us lovezzz our coffee

  36. Best solution. Use a travel mug. No disposable lid (or cup), no problem.

  37. I don’t understand what the big deal is.

    Tab doesn’t lock, Rip it off?

    Let’s not make a big fuss out of every single little thing that bothers us in life.

  38. You have to be kidding me!! This much space wasted in your magazine for an article on the lids of coffee cups??? Better you use the space on the fact that Timmie's coffee is swill! It's been a long time since it actually tasted like coffee. Or you could use the space to discuss important matters as well!!

  39. I have had many spills with Tim's lids, McDonald's lids are stronger and the pull'back hole cover locks into place so easily. Wake up Tim Horton's!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Go to Starbucks.
    Their lids, cups and coffee are perfect.
    Tim's is a sad joke, as are all you people who go there.

    • lol you're so trendy cuz u go to starbucks and have a number instead of a name.

  41. Just go to starbucks. Paying 3x as much is worth it cuzzz u'll be trendy

  42. McDonalds coffee doesn't even come close in comparison with Tim Hortons coffee. If you occasionally find that you have a leaky cup, just ask for another one or double cup and no they do not charge for a second cup. You have a choice to use the reusable cups, it's actually ten cents cheaper if you do and you are eliminating waste at the same time.

  43. It's a fitting article, for a blog that is. Macleans, who pays journalists, could come up with more serious stories than doing marketing for Tim Hortons, don't you think?
    How about talking a little about how much waste is generated each day by these cups, and how much cups will cost in the future with rising energy prices?

  44. The fact that our generation of adault canadians are sounding more like spoilt toddlers that need a sippy cup is apauling. With reusable cups being now a very affordable option( if we can afford $21.00 a week for coffee do the math). We need to take more responsability for what we support with our dollar. Lets face it your paying more for the disposable cup then the coffee.

  45. Paper cups and plastic lids are so 2000! Reusable cups are where it's at – be kind to the environment and save your work shirts from that telltale brown dribble river down the front.

  46. It is a plot. They don't want you and me to win anything. I have enough "try agains" to OPEN a Timbos! Maybe there ARE no prizes, and it is all a scam……..

  47. It is not that most of us are opposed to recyclable cups. In fact, I own several. It is the issue that we do not always have the silly thing with us! I have an aluminum water bottle that has lasted me some 4 years. I use it daily. But when I stop for coffee, or a meal and coffee, what am I to do? In all fairness, I try to have the re-usable cup with me in the summer. In the winter, there is just too much effort. Also, my '05 Nissan Sentra has crappy cup holders. Sadly, I will not be replacing it soon.

  48. I'd rather they fixed the coffee so it didn't taste like day old swill from the bottom of the toilet. Gimme McDonalds coffee over Tim's "coffee" any day of the week.

  49. If Tim Horton was still on this planet, he would change things, but with the company now being a Corporation and in other hands , they of course have to form comittees and sub-committees have to vote and vote again untill they forget what it was they wanted to do. Let your mother make you a nice cup of coco and be done with it.

  50. Really though the lids do leak alot..if it hasn't happend to you your a lottery winner or you buy a Tim's once a month. I was in Connecticuit few years back the American tim horton's dont use our crappy lids. They had the awesome spout one there.

  51. Why wont my baby gain weight?

  52. Tim's has a monopoly so it can afford to be cheap. That's why it was slow with debit and why you have to ask for serviettes in drive-thru

  53. I don't understand why Tim Horton's coffee is so popular. It is mediocre at best and a far cry from good. To waste time in their ridiculous drive-through or inside line-ups is asinine. I could care less if their lids leak because it doesn't affect my excellent cup of Tassimo Starbuck's at a fraction of the price.

  54. If the Tim Horton's employee doesn't place the lid opening over top of the seal in the cup the coffe will leak. As for the lid not snapping and staying in place, the plastic is too thin. A Tim Hortons on the I90 in New York where the small coffee size does not exist and the large size dwarfs our extra large has coffee lids that are about three times thicker plastic than ours. So Tim Hortons has the right lid, they just don't need to impress us already hooked Canadians.

  55. The Tim's lids in the US are better than the ones they have in Canada and they also have sleeves in the US. Considering this is a Canadian company, why do we not have the other lids or sleeves?

  56. SUBWAY has a GREAT lid! there's a little tab so you can SLIDE it to open and close! Oh, life's little pleasures…

  57. Not only do their lids suck so does the coffee and if you think they recycle think again it all goes in the garbage the recycling bins are just for show. McDonalds coffee is way better and doesn't leave that awful after taste in your mouth

  58. Subway's 'Seattle's Best' coffee lids are ultra cool! They slide back and forth. I kept one, hoping it would fit over a Tim cup (I drink more TH's coffee). Unfortunately they don't – so kids, please dont try this at home!

  59. Vickey – that is so weird! We both posted the same thought at the almost the same time.

  60. WIth all its downfalls there is some hope in the lide that i love. You cannot work with both hands while holding a starbucks cup. The timmys cup you can do the classic hold in your teeth to free up your hands.

    I think the lid design is so Canadians can keep working in the morning to almost full function while still enjoying our fav beverage.

    i for one love this perk and would not trade it for anti-spillage

  61. I can't believe at this time in our history, this is even a issue. Ever hear of travel mugs? A stainless steel one will keep your coffee hotter longer, less chance of drips and I believe your coffee is actually cheaper if you bring in a refillable mug anyway, 10 cents? Go to your local Canadian Tire, Home Depo, Walmart or wherever and get one. You can get the lid you want and if you don't like it, you only have yourself to blame. I have this amazing one made by Thermos Nissan, sadly it's only available in the States, but there are tons of options and it's better for the environment.

  62. McDonald's has perfected the coffee lid. Sorry Tim, but yours is a Big Muck

  63. Tim Horton's does NOT need a new style of lid..They need to train thier employees NOT to line the lid tab with the cup seam.
    Also…should we make it more convenient for people to drink coffee while driving????

  64. I forgot why I bothered reading this story………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  65. Awww…c'mon…..let's just put a lid on it!!

  66. open the tab and tuck the tab into the cup… this will prevent any spillige from happening if you hit a bump while the cup is in the holder or while walking and drinking…

  67. I am not a fan of the lid but something that bothers me even more is the fact that all of these coffee lids are made from the #6 plastic which I have yet to find a place that can recycle. Most Tims are now offering cup recycling or composting which is great but 2 million lids in the landfil is very sad. I have often wondered if there was a reason for this – like because of the heat coffee generates? If anyone knows I would love the insight. Thanks!

  68. The lid design is rediculously bad on Tim's…It has amazed me for years that no one has fixed it….I have stopped going to Tim's anyway…very low-grade coffee, medium size cup is smaller than most competitors small-size AND the annoying lid!

  69. I love how TH say theyre own internal audits found that lids are not an issue. Of course they are not an issue but can be an anoyance, also we dont complain to the poor person serving us. What can they do, apparently companies are looking to FB and Twit to see what the true response is the "issue" hopefully TH is looking this way to see that something should be done to show that they care.

  70. yes, I find the lid and the leaking very annoying, how about the fact they waste cups!!! I LOVE Tim Hortons, but it is amazing that they choose to ignore the lid and leaking problem and the fact they waste extra cups by giving people a double cup, because the coffee is hot? I don't even ask for a double cup and I get one, what a waste!

  71. Uh, oh, dumb media story alert with no mention in it about bringing your own cup, the invironmentally correct practice I follow that any sensible reader would immediately think of. But I forgot, it's written for those who read Maclean's. Serves me right for blindly following a link on the Roger's home page. Silly me.

  72. Hmm, pushing the tab inside your coffee cup would be a valid complaint if it weren't for the fact you are already putting your lips on the lid every time you take a drink. Go ahead, push it inside, it works wonderfullly and is tremendously better than trying to suck hot coffee through one of those little holes.

  73. I usually find tim’s lids quite good. The worst by far are macdonalds, which are contoured in such a way that if you till the cup up or down too quickly, the coffee will splash directly into your nose. I also find them extremely leaky around the sides.

    • Brian… McDonald's have the best lids they are stronger than Tim's and the cap locks into place which is impossible with Tim's and they Don't leak.

  74. I don't have problem with timmys lids and to those who think putting t he tab inside you get germs think about this the whole lid and cup could have germs and you are drinking from it ,,,,,,,DUH,,,,,,,and of course wouldn't a reusable mug solve the problem.

  75. Use a golf tee to poke a hole in the front middle of the flap. Pry a bit for a bigger hole. Works great and never spills. Please never change your cups.

  76. This is what's wrong with our society.
    There are people homeless and without enough food within 1/2 Km of you, guaranteed. Go help them if you're looking for problems to fix.

  77. Yes the Timmies Cups and lids really suck here in Canada. I went to the US and the lids rock there, I even brought one back with me at took it to a local ontario timmies store to see if there was any way they too could carry the lid as it was a USA Tim Hortons supplier.

  78. I have friends who work at tim hortons.
    I hear they are the worst to work for!
    Brock and 401 in whitby is owned by two different families…
    one of the owners has just put there spoiled rotten kids in there to run the place!
    There son comes in (guns a blacing) telling all the senior staff (10 years +) why don,t you move on!!!…imagine
    daddys little boy wants to have all younger girls working for him!
    my friend has been there almost 10 yrs….full time!
    and if you were to start there tomorrow you would be making just 50 cents less then her!
    these clowns have no respect for no one but themselves!
    I hope this place goes under…and this family falls down to earth and joins the rest of us!

  79. Tim Horton's has contempt for their customers. They have horrible coffee and catchy ads and Candians are lining up (not me!). They take consumers for granted and their addicted customers can't get enough. Especially with their cheapskate contest Roll Up the Rim. With all the dough they are raking in with this, the prize payout is measly. This is their 25th anniversary for the contest, and same ols same old prizes. But they know their customers can't kick their habit, so they don't care. They don't care if their stupid cups leak because people keep lining up in droves. This Canadian ìcon is no icon of mine.

  80. More importantly for our society, why does Tim Horton's still not provide cups and lids which can be recycled in blue boxes? That says a lot about TH's true lack of corporate responsibility, beneath all the good-guy hype in their commercials.

  81. I was responding to gottabesaid's comment about the Hortons organization being like the Leafs……………..

  82. McDonald's with their McCafe concept are really big competition for Tim. Tim Horton's needs to adapt and make it more comfortable to their customers and offer better lids.

  83. Thank you! The one thing I hate about their lids is that after you open it, the edge that remains is turned up and quite sharp. I have cut my lip more than once on that edge. Don't have a problem with it leaking tough. Just need to make sure that the overlap in the cup is opposite of the tab.

  84. I don't drink coffee, I drink tea. Timmy's double cups the tea because of the heat, but when it spills on my hand the 2 cups don't help a bit. And I just don't understand why they think that a bit of hot water (the difference between 2 sizes) is worth 16 cents. For tea, I sticking with McDonalds, better lids, and for that matter, better tea. But I do like to roll up the rim. What a quandry!

  85. I work at a Tim Hortons, and the only reason the current cups/lids keep dripping everywhere, is because they are made from 2 different factories, and 2 different companies. The lids come from Dixie, whereas the Roll Up cups come from TDL themselves, and there, the diameter of the cups themselves are just slightly smaller than that of the lids. Trust me, at the store I'm at, it pisses us all off, because It forces up to change lids, or change cups, or add another cup.

    Besides, you're always going to get that odd, leaking cup, because sometimes the lids or the cups ship with defects, which we have very little control over. We will actually tell people "if you don't like it, McDonalds is just down the road!" But most everyone will stick around. But, plain and simple, don't like it? Don't bother.

  86. The leaking lids is only one of the issues I have with TH. They never fit properly and their coffee and other stuff are overpriced. I have switched to MD's because I enjoy their coffee so much. And their lids are more user-friendly.

    Another beef……….why are they promoting a Japanese car in their latest contest? They do this every year eh!
    This is a Canadian company, so they have a duty to support Canadian products. Why not a Canadian-made Chrysler, GM or Ford vehicle? Noit a Japanese vehicle made here and being badged as "local". That's because the profits will go to Japan.

    Is anyone at TH listening? Or is it that they just do not care? More of your patrons should be like me — more patriotic, and boycott TH until they smarten up.

    Why is the news media not doing a story on this??????

  87. The leakage is caused by breaking the perimeter rim of the lid, this allows the lid to become flexible! Poor design!
    The coffee is like gnat's piss anyway and the baked products on the whole are like cardboard!
    If you're going to put it into your body folks, take the time and get some quality stuff!

  88. I don't have a problem with any of them. when i want one I take my own cup with lid and it works perfectly. Get with it you whiners.


  90. And I thought I was the only one with that problem. Great idea about tucking the tab inside instead. Even better, Country Donut has a lid with an opening that slides in and out just like the reusable plastic or metal cup lids. The extra large coffe is the same cost, less frustration and a much better lid.

    Country Style is much smaller than Tim Horton, yet they seem to have mastered the lid problem and satisfied their clientele.

  91. I find that Tim Horton's lid is the best out of all of them. Sure 1% of the time the lid doesn't stick in place when lifted back, but you can just tear it off then and it's fine. Also if you make sure the seam of the cup is centered where the opening is, it will not leak from the lip of the cup.

    The only drawback to Tim's design is it is not very spill proof compared to the one-piece-no-fold-back lids. Those lids fall short on chugging capacity for lack of a better term.

  92. A raised lid like mcDonalds' would prevent any spillage while driving… And Tim's tab does not lock into place when pulled back. Very Annoying,

  93. I hate Tim Hortons. They are not the home style coffee shop they used to be. I searched around my city and found a cute little donut shop that makes fresh daily HOMEMADE donuts, cakes, pies, omelets, and have amazing home style coffee. Tim's is way over rated, especially now that they made portions smaller, untasty, and raised prices. Jokes on us. If you read what is in their coffee it will turn you off for good. :)

  94. this may sound crazy but by pushing the tab down into the lid – no more leaks or spills by driving and you can still take a normal drink. – try it

  95. Interesting that your article identifies a problem with Tim Horton lids as personally I've never had one leak; whereas MacDonalds is a completely different story – their lids almost always DO leak .. all over the console of my car, on my clothes trying to walk into the office, and on my desk once there. Several times the lid has been leaking as a staff member has been handing it to me. Doesn't matter how good your coffee might be compared to the competition; people are not going to buy it when the result is coffee stains everywhere!

  96. “With more than two billion cups of coffee served every year, we're not surprised some people disagree,”

    Two billion? Really? I think not.

    • Agreed. According to the 2012 Annual Report (http://annualreport.timhortons.com/), Tim Horton’s revenues were $3.120 billion. It also says that they sold over 2 billion cups of coffee. If that is true, then they must be giving just about everything else away for free. Yet, my experience suggests that they actually charge for other things too.

  97. 2 words: travel mug

  98. What's to bring down Tim Horton's eventually, slowly but surely, is their dirty washrooms. Nine out of ten THs ' washrooms I used are dirty and smelly of stale urine.

  99. i work for timmy’s, and i can tell you.. the lids are fubar’d, especially the medium lids. i cannot tell you how many times i’ve had to pause and replace a lid when i’ve got a line up out the door. they are flimsy, crack and break when we’re just putting them on the cups.. and i do try and place them opposite the seam (as per a lot of customer requests). as for the other things they should be looking into… treating their employee’s a lot better would be on the top of my list. if you get a raise? it’s only because you’ve multitasked into either a baker($0.50) or the thankless job of being a supervisor(wow $0.10 an hour! wee!). they can hire you for fulltime… and if they say they’re not making their 25% workers ratio(compared to sold product), hours cut! i’ve many 16 hour weeks, aren’t they fun when you’re trying to support yourself? students can get many 40+ weeks, especially in summer.

  100. Last year, I bought 35, (yes THIRTY FIVE) coffees. Not ONE single winner. 1 in 9, my ass.
    At least this year, I've ordered four coffees. #1 won me #2, #2 play again, #3 free coffee, #4 free dognut.

  101. My option for the crappy lid is to push the plastic tab trough the opening and use a Tim Horton's straw to drink my coffee thus no dribble and no mess and it keeps my coffee hot for a long time!! Being using a straw to drink my coffee for years! Brillant eh!! My dentist thinks so too! :)

  102. You would think we were talking about some major world issue by the number of individuals who are willing to help those who are lacking the lid-turning gene….only in this great nation of ours…"only in Canada you say?…Pity!" (Yes. Thank you. I am aware that was a tea commercial but it does seem appropriate)

  103. Tim's lid leaks are EPIC… Happens all the time. I'll put my coffee in the counsel of the car, drive to work and by time I get there I have a huge mess. Fix the dam lids.

  104. McD's; better coffee, bigger cups.
    Coffee Time; better coffee,better cups

  105. Why not just invest in a really good to-go cup, save 5 cents on your coffee and save on the garbage too! Problem solved!

  106. like some one said they (Timmes) have distroyed so many ma and pa coffee corners …….it is cooperate world out there and why should they care all of us will still buy from them ……….most don't even know better that second cup or starbucks do offer a better coffee with just a few cents more !!!
    I for one have stop drinking coffee at Timmies all cause of the crowd and when I feel like one I get a real coffee other then timmies sorry to all who live by it you have no idea how much you are spending a year to make them rich !!!!

  107. Sure , fix the antiquated lid, but how about also fixing the staff that work the front lines at Tim's, it's like watching a carnival act, no one know the Tim Horton products, don't know the difference between a bagel and a sandwich bun, or the toasted vs. not toasted, they get almost every order wrong. Smartin' up! or give your job to someone who needs it.

  108. poor lid design, poor cup manufacturing and worn lid tooling are the main contributors. I wouldn't worry though…it's just a matter of time before the bleeding hearts opposed to bottled water get a ban forcing everyone to bring their own reusable cups…

  109. Do what the cops are taught to do on Day 1 of their training…push the ripped tab IN towards the drink,leaving it attached. It stops slops when you stop suddenly or go over somepotholes. Doesn't stop your lips scraping on the outside cut edges though. I'm always thankful when I see a Second cup' type lid for my' elsewhere-bought' coffee. …..I wonder if it will fit onto a T.H. cup? Must try it out…..

  110. I'm glad someone is talking about this. McDonalds has a superior coffee cup. Not only does the lid work every time, their cup has a double wall so the cup is not too hot. It is worth checking out. The coffee is a good second choice to Tim's.

  111. ok, how cares? many people are angry with horton's right now for other reasons, including them being involved with the monsantos company…leave it alone…leave them alone, if you dare…

  112. I'm fine with the lids I think they need to make a cup with an "invisible" seam so it wouldn't leak.

  113. Anyone ever buy more than four coffees and tried stacking them on those fancy lids? Flat lids rule. Those sippy cups are for yippie toddlers that can't take their hands of their iPhones for a sec to open a coffee pull tab. Sippies are for Yippies.

  114. I laughed when I read this article! My husband and I have had an ongoing 'discussion' over the years regarding Tim's coffee lids. I have never been able to get the tab to stay open – he never has a problem with it. I'm glad I'm not the only one 'coffee lid challenged' as he puts it. Totally made my day!

  115. I like to breathe my tea, savouring the aroma – and checking the temperature – before I drink. You can't do this from the 'sippy cup' style lids, and I have burnt my lips on a few occasions with these. The odd Timmy's lid doesn't clip back properly, and I've cut myself on the sharp edge of the torn plastic before, but I'd take this lid over many of the others any day of the week.

  116. Okay here's what I've learned about Timmies lids from drinking way too much coffee from there…
    The problem of the tab becoming dislodged:
    You need to peel the flap all the way to the back of the indented seam on the lid. l_l <—— a very crude illustration. The flap should make a positive "click or clunk"
    The leaks:
    Try to dump out a bit of your coffee first. Using a napkin dry off the lip of the cup and rotate the lid a quarter turn, or so that the lid opening is placed over the seam of the paper cup. If this doesn't work, your out of luck. Go inside get a new cup and lid; complain if you have time – If not suck it up buttercup!

    Hope this helps.

    P.S. : Ever since McDonalds released there new coffee with those new fancy lids, I've yet to have a coffee from there that DID NOT leak. I have no technical service bulletins to offer unfortunately, as I rarely if ever buy coffee there… heck I don't even go there when it's free!

  117. My McD's lid leaks EVERY TIME. Without fail. Must be the new design. I buy my coffee, walk down the street to work, and by the time I get there, it has spilled all over my glove. The locking tab works nicely but I would rather not have coffee soaked into my nice suede gloves.

    I've never had a problem with Tim's lids as long as they are rotated so the opening tab doesn't align with the cup seam. Of course it's annoying when the Tim's employee puts the lid on in that way, but eh. I can adjust that myself if I have to.

    Both Tim's and McD's paper CUPS are sometimes leaky — must be a quality control thing — but in terms in design, the McD's LID is worst, hands down.

  118. this is news? how about reporting on the side effects of caffeine addiction


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  120. I get drips all over me and my car every morning I drink Timmy hoes

  121. I wonder if the new FoamAroma lid would make the Tim Horton’s coffee experience better? (www.foamaroma.com) I have never been to a Tim Horton’s, but I only use FoamAroma now with my coffee drinks.

  122. I didn’t realize that anyone cared about the quality of coffee lids. I’ll be damned.

  123. “To provide a cup lid having a reduced potential for accidental spillage.” Speak English, damnit! You know I don’t speak Spanish!

  124. Yes, it is high time to have a decent lid, like ALL the other coffee providers have (except for Tim Horton). Please sign the petition and share it with all your friends. Since this site does not allow URL in comments, do a search for the term “Petition Tim Horton’s Coffee Lid’s Suck” on Google and you will have the link to the petition. A new lid does not mean a new price. All lids, no matter their design, are about the same price.

  125. Tim Hortons coffee is the same as Tim Horton himself as a hockey player…..It SUCKS!

  126. If you’re Stupid enough to wait in line at the drive thrus for 20 minutes it sounds to me your time makes that very expensive crappy coffee served to you by foreign workers.

  127. Should this be the largest problem in your life, you are indeed lucky!

  128. I have a lid design and working prototypes which covers al of the issues for both the seller and the end users. this is a unique lid which is splash proof and closable. This lid also as a option to have a advertising insert installed. We have tried several times to approach Tim’s but we never seem to connect with the right people.

  129. I’ve solved the Tim Horton’s lid problem … I buy my coffee at Starbucks. Happy now.

  130. Those lids have caused me to avoid Tim’s I can’t drink from it, why don’t they fix that? There are lot of lids that work!

  131. use a reusable mug. problem solved.

  132. The Tim Hortons lid is beyond terrible.There is a little pimple in the middle of the lid that touches my nose and scrapes it, the tab tears really badly and the two sharp edges on the lip of the lid make it impossible to drink without danger of cutting lower lip. I fold mine up one at a time so I do not cut my lower lip. The whole process is totally unreal – all this for a lid?!

  133. I couldn’t stand it any longer, especially if you grab one for the car. Too dangerous. You will never see me eat anything from MacDonalds, but I switched to their coffee because of their lids & discovered their coffee is better than TH. I also drink Wendy’s; that lid works too. How difficult would it be for TH to find a better lid supplier? It is appalling they have not done it yet!!

  134. All you have to do is push the tab down instead of trying to push it back and it works much better and doesn’t spill as much. I prefer those lids over those bubble white lids with the little hole. They are like dribble cups. Please Tim’s don’t change your lids.

  135. Love Tim’s Coffee…Absolutely despise their lid. Can’t tell you how many times their defective dribble lids have got me. Mcdonalds has the best cup/lid… out there. Stays warm twice as long and the coffee in my opinion is on par now with Tim’s. Message to anyone at Tim’s who cares…Change your @##! lids… based on the growing lineups at McDonalds… it’s clear I’m not alone. It’s a simple fix…what are you waiting for…changing your lids will send the right message to once faithful coffee drinkers who have switched because they have found a better solution. Your arrogance is clearly costing you market share.

  136. Tim’s are currently selling a refillable cup with the newer, better style of lids for $1.50, and the reason to buy one or more is to save the planet it’s inhabitants more than anything else… but nonetheless Problem solved :)

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