10/28/2013 11:12 EDT

Tim Hortons Dark Roast Coffee Launches In London, Ont., Nov. 4


Tim Hortons is feeling the heat from competitors like McDonald’s and Starbucks, and now the chain is fighting back by going over to the dark side.

Dark roast, that is. The Oakville, Ont.-based company announced Monday it will be launching a dark roast coffee blend in two test markets: Columbus, Ohio, and London, Ont.

"Coffee drinkers have told us they enjoy variety when it comes to their coffee and according to our research, many of them consumed dark roast coffee in the past month,” Dave McKay, vice president of beverages at Tim Hortons, said in a statement.

The dark roast coffee will be available in Timmies locations in Columbus starting Monday and in London as of Monday, Nov. 4.

McKay said the company wants to test the product “to gauge our guests' reactions and gain operations learnings before deciding on next steps,” suggesting a final decision on stocking dark roast hasn’t been made.

Tim Hortons has been under pressure from competitors like McDonald’s who have stepped up their efforts to capture some of the coffee-drinker market. McDonald’s now serves coffee through its McCafe brand, and often offers discounted prices on it.

Tim Hortons has been struggling to make a name for itself in the U.S., despite its overwhelming success north of the border.

Some analysts say the company has little room for expansion in Canada and needs to find new markets to grow revenue, though the company itself says there is still room for hundreds of new Canadian locations.

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