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Is everyone on RS tours American?

My partner and I (Australians 59 and 72) are feeling very tempted by the RS Poland tour in late 2023 for our second trip of the year, but are worried that everyone else will be American and we will feel left out.

We are normally perfectly happy to associate with Americans except for the coffee thing. We are espresso drinkers and have never understood the attraction of drip filter coffee and non-dairy creamer. Will we be able to get good coffee on a RS tour?

Posted by
5700 posts

The tour members don't make the coffee Lol, so you should be fine.

Most tour members are American, but there's a sprinkling of Canadians to season the pot. We've also been on RS tours with people from South Africa, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and even Iran. I don't remember anyone being frozen out; in fact, we tended to enjoy the diversity.

Posted by
22604 posts

The coffee in Europe is prepared by locals for locals and not Am tourists. In all of our travels I do not ever remember see drip filter coffee. You can easily obtain espresso and lattes for breakfast.

Posted by
1925 posts

Not all Americans… We met a very nice couple from New Zealand on an Eastern France tour. Also, usually several Canadians. I’m always on the lookout for good conversation and a good cup of coffee!

Posted by
122 posts

I’m a Canadian and have been on 2 RS tours. I always felt welcome and have met some great Americans.

Posted by
27 posts

One of the main ideals behind the tours and the company is to live like temporary Europeans while in visiting Europe. Rick has said that he doesn't normally drink tea when he is home in Edmonds, but he always has a cup or two of tea when in the UK. The food and beverages on the tour are the F& B of the country. So, if you are taking the Poland tour, you will be served Polish coffee. RS tour members are not your typical Americans because we have passports and are very eager to meet people from all over the world, Check out his YouTube channel for even more information about the tours.

Posted by
1778 posts

While Rick Steves is mostly American, and most Europeans I know have never heard of him, you will always be welcomed. I find Rickers(my name for his tourers, and most Americans in general are fascinated by foreigners with accents.and will make you feel welcome.

As for coffee it's usually hit or miss in Europe. A lot is now Nespresso machines instead of instant(yuck), and which country you are going to.

Posted by
3158 posts

My husband is Croatian and when he isn’t drinking Turkish coffee, he is drinking espresso. We were in Poland in 2017 and he never had a problem.

Posted by
2091 posts

RS a travelers are very open, friendly and curious about the world. They will probably be chewing your ears off asking questions about your beautiful country if they haven’t traveled there or reminiscing about their travels there if they have been. We often travel with a tour company where the guests are mainly Australian. We have no trouble fitting in. We share a common language which makes it easy.

Posted by
1463 posts

Our tour roster for last year (sadly cancelled last minute) had two New Zealanders listed. We of course are Canadian. Everyone else was American.

I think these days you can get any kind of coffee or tea over there. I prefer tea, with milk. In Poland they serve it with lemon. I learned how to ask for it in Polish and got it with only a few raised eyebrows, though sometimes the milk was heated. This was way back in 2004. I did drink it occasionally with the lemon too (not with milk as well, lol).

Posted by
7759 posts

Americans in general seem to have a great fondness for Aussies. Maybe since the Crocodile Dundee days. We sense a kinship of spirit. I think you'll be very welcome.

Posted by
3374 posts

You may be surprised, but in Poland the most popular caffeinated beverage of choice for breakfast is actually tea! It's called Herbata in Poland.

Of course with the rise of those fashionable coffee shops, nowadays one can find good espresso in all the major cities in Poland.

Posted by
7759 posts

So, you'll be traveling like a Temporary American! We've found, in general, tour hotels often try to accommodate their American guests by "Americanizing" their breakfast menu, adding things like drip coffee, familiar cereals, and eggs for example. Sometimes that cafe Americano is just an espresso with added hot water, however. Dinners are also sometimes tweaked towards American-style, with ice water on the table, for example. This leads some Rickers to infer that American-style is universal.

Don't expect Vegemite, however.

Posted by
5726 posts

Hello fellow espresso drinker! I’m American, have been to Sydney, and I would love to have you on my RS Best of the Adriatic tour this year…but I see you’re selecting Poland. The groups are very welcoming. Have a great time!

I travel often to Italy on my yearly or twice yearly independent trips to Europe. Although I order my breakfast espresso or an afternoon espresso in Italian, I’ve noticed several times that they will say back to me “Americano?” They’re probably tired of bringing tourists an espresso and then needing to remake a weaker cup. So, I just started stating “espresso” when ordering. It may save you some issues in Poland, too.

Speaking of Americanizing, I have a funny story. I led a 1-week all-day executive training when I was in Sydney. I arrived the day before the classes started, so I could set up the room, etc. It was held in a conference center. I went to breakfast the first morning- no one else in the breakfast room, and it was set up with an assortment of covered serving dishes. I tried a variety of items, especially anything new to me. Next day - same offerings for breakfast. I selected the same items as the first day. When I sat down at the group table, the guys told me, “They made the pancakes especially for you.” Oh! No idea I had skipped the American entree that I noticed no one else chose - LOL!

Posted by
30305 posts

Flat Whites might be a bit difficult - shops yes but the machines at breakfast probably not...

Posted by
4992 posts

You won’t be left out.
I agree that non-dairy creamer is an abomination.

As I am sure you know, coffee in European hotels can be hit or miss. Some of the brown water that comes out of those pump-type thermoses is worse than instant.

Posted by
859 posts

The reason for my coffee comment was that in 2019 on our Uniworld Rhine river cruise the promised "all day coffee station with espresso machine", turned out to be a table with multiple drip filter coffee pots on it. As the majority of the people on the cruise were Americans, the staff told us they had "Americanised" the coffee options. Every time we wanted a coffee we had to order it at the bar and it had to be made downstairs in the crew galley where they had relocated the espresso machine!

Good to know that coffee won't be a problem. Flat whites are becoming more global - we have had minimal difficulty sourcing them in Oslo, Bergen, Prague, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Barcelona on recent trips. But we are perfectly happy with a macchiato.

Although I order my breakfast espresso or an afternoon espresso in Italian, I’ve noticed several times that they will say back to me “Americano?” They’re probably tired of bringing tourists an espresso and then needing to remake a weaker cup.

This reminds me of when we ordered an espresso at MOMA in New York in the early 2000s and the server said "are you sure? It's really strong". It was the best coffee we had in New York.

Some of the brown water that comes out of those pump-type thermoses is worse than instant.

Australia has those pump style thermoses too but they only seem to appear at work conferences in big hotels - the time when you really need a good coffee to keep awake during the afternoon sessions. Thankfully Nespresso seems to be taking over even the conference market so you can usually get a halfway decent coffee.

Don't expect Vegemite, however.

Trying to think of the last time I ate Vegemite and it was probably as a child. My mum used to send us to school with a cheese and Vegemite sandwich for lunch.

Posted by
4 posts

I’ve met several Canadians and Australian folks on RS tours, but yes, mainly Americans.
I’ve never seen drip coffee anywhere in Europe. You eat/drink in European-run establishments so you get the coffee they usually make — which is usually quite good!

Posted by
35 posts

Aussies here that have completed 2 tours with Rick Steve's.

We were made feel very welcome among the mainly Americans on each tour, almost a "novelty"!

Our fellow travelers were almost incessant with their questions about Australia, and were most interested to learn what we thought about their country as well.

Many funny incidents with the interpretation of language, on both parts! For instance we remarked that we were really looking forward to "chook" on the menu, which set up a guessing game amongst the others as to what the word meant!

The other funny thing that occurred prior to our tours was friends asking us who we were travelling with (meaning the name of the company) and we'd say "Rick Steve's", which usually got a response of "oh is he a friend of yours in the states", never hearing of the company or the person "Rick"!

We come from Melbourne (coffee capital) so yes, it was sometimes a challenge to find similar coffee to what we drink at home, but that's the adventure of being so very far away; trying new things!


Posted by
2051 posts

"......normally perfectly happy to associate with Americans except for the coffee thing." I gotta admit, when I read this, there was instant relief that someone from another country did not find MUCH WORSE reasons to not want to associate with Americans. Of course, I say that with great humor intended!!!

I think you will be fine, and worse case you might just have to "take a sticky beak" with a few places to find the coffee you like. I JUST HAD TO say that: I thought it was the funniest phrase I heard on our trip to Australia.