Roughly a month ago, Tim Hortons' Buffalo locations were the first in the country to roll out shiny new espresso machines that create a more legitimate latte, where milk is steamed until frothy and the espresso is more potent than the previously tepid mix.
Is the espresso as high quality as the creations of Buffalo's New Wave coffee establishments? Probably not. Is it better than what Tim Hortons produced before? Yes, and that should be exciting news for devotees.
In an aggressive publicity push, the popular chain has announced a limited-time Buffalo Latte ($2.79 for a small) for two area locations: 4849 Transit Road, Depew; and 3470 Main St. The upgraded espresso applies to all locations and has been in place for some time locally; prices begin at $2.29.
This new product is exactly what you'd expect, at least in terms of ingredients (hey, we were hoping for sponge candy, but life goes on). It's a mocha latte with the improved espresso, enhanced with "Buffalo sauce" flavoring and "zesty Buffalo seasoning" (essentially cayenne pepper) sprinkled on top of the whipped cream.
Buffalonians typically recoil when someone says "Buffalo wings" or "Buffalo sauce" - "they must be from out of town!" - but the new specialty latte is surprisingly drinkable. The heat is subtle and emerges at the end of each sip; it's not a jarring flavor like if you were drinking a messy blend of espresso and Frank's Hot Sauce, or if you dipped a chicken wing in a glass of hot chocolate milk.