double double = 2 cream and 2 sugar


Senior Member
Hi, I am currently living in Canada (Toronto). I noticed that people say "double double" to mean " 2 cream and 2 sugar" when ordering coffee at a drive through (namely at the coffee/donut shop called Tim Hortons).

Some of my Canadian friends told me that people started to use the phrase "double double" after Tim Hortons came, or the phrase became very popular after Tim Hortons.

From my observation too, I hear people say "double double" mostly at Tim Hortons and not at other places (I occasionally hear it at other fast food restaurants where you specify how much sugar/milk/cream you want at the counter).

But, is it true? (Is it Canadian phrase at Tim Hortons?)
Or did my friends make it up?

Actually I once saw a scene from American TV drama where police detectives order coffee at a drive through (not Tim Hortons :) ) and one of them said "double double".

So, do you (I mean native speakers not from Canada), use the phrase "double double"? As in "A large coffee, double double please? ".

And my Canadian friends, I know you become very patriotic when it comes to anything about Tim Hortons, but please tell me the truth!! ;)

By the way,
For those who are not from Canada or never visited Canada (Or northern part of US), Tim Hortons is a very very popular place to go to get coffee in Canada and some (north) part of US.
  • It's not familiar to me either.

    Do people really take double cream and double sugar?:eek:
    I have lived in North Carolina since 1984 and the phrase is not familiar - and I was just in Detroit (where I grew up) and took the train to Montreal - and never heard anyone use it anywhere along the way. (I only changed trains in Toronto.)
    I think I should have googled it first!

    There is a CBC news page which says that "double double" is now in the Canadian Oxford dictionary!
    Please "google" the term "double double" and "cbc" to find the page.
    (I can't post a link yet)

    Of course(?) it means "2 cream and 2 sugar" and it says now the phrase is
    used not only at Tim Hortons and that's why it's in the dictionary. :)

    Also, Wikipedia's "double double" page says
    "Double-Double" is also a colloquial term in Canada for Tim Hortons coffee with two creams and two sugars "

    I guess it is not only used at Tim Hortons in Canada now.
    My Canadin friends were right, I suppose.

    Any Canadians around to comment? :)

    (By the way, I really wonder if it is 2 sugars or 2 sugar in this case. Wikipedia says 2 "sugars")
    I am a canadian and Im living in Hamilton and I have heard of the term double double @ my local tim hortons and I have also used it at other coffee shops and they know what you're talking it's a coffee with two cream and two sugars if you want a coffee with 2 milk and 2 sugar well then it becomes a double double with milk instead of cream
    At Starbucks, "double" usually means you want a double shot of espresso so if you said "double double" there, you might get a drink that would really wake you up!
    Hello! I'm Canadian, so I speak with Canadian experience regarding this topic.

    'Double double' is a Canadian phrase which refers to the amount of cream or sugar in your coffee/tea. It was made popular by Tim Hortons, but is now a well-known phrase throughout the country. Similar terms include:

    • Regular: one cream, one sugar
    • Triple triple: three cream, three sugar

    I have also heard people use the term 'four four', which I assume means four cream, four sugar. Not very often used though, I reckon. That's quite a lot of sugar.

    When ordering a medium coffee with two cream and two sugar, one would simply have to request for a 'medium double double' (coffee is automatically assumed).

    If you'd rather have a large steeped tea, say, with three milk and three sugar, you could specify by saying 'large steeped tea, triple triple with milk'.

    It's useful when you have a big order of hot beverages. Line ups go so much quicker saying:
    • 'Could I have two medium double doubles, one small regular, one large triple triple and a medium bagged tea, double double with milk'
    instead of
    • 'Could I have two medium coffees with two cream two sugar, one small coffee with one cream one sugar, one large coffee with three cream three sugar and a medium bagged tea with two milk two sugar'

    I realise this thread is years old, but it may help educate others about our (sometimes seemingly silly) Canadian habits. :)
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    In southern California at least, everyone knows what a Double-Double is. It is the best tasting hamburger in the USA! I believe it is copyrighted, too.
    I Googled "double-double" and found that it referenced basketball, hamburgers, drive trains (White Industries), hotel accommodations in Nashville (two double beds), an article about a 6 hour production of Henry IV part one and part two, and my favorite:

    Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble...

    (I found no mention of coffee, however.)
    Well, google helped me find (at the wiki for Tim Hortons, therefore the right answer for the original question) the following:
    Since 2005, Tim Hortons has been the title sponsor of the Brier, the annual Canadian men's curling championships, along with the Canadian Ringette Championships.[60] Shortly before December 2007, they discontinued their gift certificates, and replaced them with the Quickpay Tim Card,[61] with the Christmas slogan "Because it's hard to wrap a double double" (coffee with two sugars and two cream). Many locations still accept gift certificates, however.
    Thanks for the laugh, Packard! I'm with pops on this - a double double is something you get at In-n-Out Burger and has nothing to do with coffee.