TikToker Reveals The Hilarious Way Locals Can Easily Identify Tourists Without Fail

American tourists are occasionally teased for the ways they might stand out and look a little different from the locals while traveling abroad. Some might argue that wearing white athletic socks or even a fanny pack is an indication that a person is visiting from the States. (Although others will argue that wearing a fanny pack is a practical way to protect yourself from pickpockets!) While some of these characterizations have been around for decades, a popular TikTok has now explained the new way to identify an American overseas: it's the person drinking an iced coffee.

TikToker @bisousmorgan is an American living abroad in Europe, and she shared a video with her 94,000 followers describing the way she recognizes other Americans as she travels. She explains that whenever she sees a person drinking an iced coffee, especially in the winter, there's a "99% chance" that the person is from the States. The video has received over 29,000 likes, and many comments are from U.S. citizens who declare their love for this beverage no matter what the temperature is outside. 

Morgan claims that this choice of drink is a "foolproof" way to identify a U.S. tourist. "You know the iced coffee train really just recently started running in Europe and it hasn't picked up that much yet," she observes. While the drink may be hard to find in many traditional restaurants overseas, many Americans will seek out an establishment that provides their favorite chilled drink.

Americans choose iced coffee

The iced coffee trend is real in America, and recent data proves that Americans consider every season to be the right season for this refreshing drink, even in colder months (according to World Coffee Portal). In fact, Starbucks reports 75% of its sales in 2023 were from iced beverage purchases. Some experts believe this trend is due to younger patrons who prefer to enjoy coffee differently than their parents and grandparents did. 

Peter Giuliano, Executive Director at The Coffee Science Foundation and Chief Research Officer at the Specialty Coffee Association, says a shift in preference towards cold beverages has happened over time and explains why he believes this is the case. "For one, younger consumers seem more friendly towards cold coffee generally. This may be tied to drinking coffee beverages later in the day as a treat rather than in the morning as a breakfast drink," he says.

However, coffee culture around the world is very distinct, with unwritten rules and traditions closely linked to each country's heritage. One example is never to order a cappuccino in Italy in the afternoon, and never order ice cubes in any drink in Europe, especially coffee. Even in the midst of a record-setting heat wave during the summer, Americans have been surprised to discover that ordering an iced beverage, including iced coffee, will be met with resistance in some countries. These traditions have stood the test of time.

The trend is growing worldwide

While iced coffee is not as mainstream in other countries as it is in America, there are signs that its popularity is starting to rise. Fernando Albarrán, Starbucks Spain Brand Manager, told World Coffee Portal that the sales of this beverage in Spain grew from 9% to 35% over the last three years. "Our iced coffee family is the primary driver of our long-term growth, allowing us to attract new customers, increase visit frequency and purchase value. At a European level, iced coffee is the fastest growing category," Albarrán said. He notes that more than half of the country's Generation Z customers have ordered this chilled drink over the past month.

In fact, a few of the comments on the TikTok post are from iced coffee lovers who aren't Americans, such as @duskyblueskies who says, "I'm British and I'd drink iced coffee regardless of the temp." As the trend continues to expand, the iced coffee "train" may continue to pick up speed in other countries. It may be easy to pick out the American in the crowd today as the one enjoying this refreshing drink, but that distinction may change as more people begin to embrace this new idea of a coffee break. That potential development will interest coffee lovers, as there are a variety of gorgeous destinations to choose from that are famous for their coffee, and soon there may be a few more options on the drink menu.