TORONTO -- Tim Hortons says it will start serving freshly-ground espresso bean lattes at nearly all of its restaurants next Wednesday as it amps up its battle in the lucrative high-end coffee market.

To date, Tim Hortons has only served lattes made from espresso powder, except for limited market testing.

The head of marketing for Tim Hortons in Canada says it recently outfitted more than 3,500 of its more than 4,600 restaurants with espresso machines in an effort to offer a more premium product and appeal to new customers.

Tammy Sadinsky says the other locations will follow suit in the next several months.

Competitors including McDonald's have upped their java game in recent years, increasingly offering specialty coffees in a bid to capitalize on a highly coveted market.

According to market research firm NPD Group, Tim Hortons dominates the coffee market in Canada, an industry worth roughly $3 billion a year, not including coffee consumed at home.