Finding the right dating platform can be exhausting, especially when you want to find matches that consistently meet your standards. We conducted a Coffee Meets Bagel review so that you can decide if the dating platform is right for you before even downloading the Coffee Meets Bagel app.
What sets Coffee Meets Bagel apart from other apps are the intentions of its users. The app is for people who want a serious, long-term relationship and are looking to find it through online dating. The organization claims that over 90% of its users actively seek a serious relationship. If you’re looking to find that special someone, Coffee Meets Bagel may be for you. If you want a hookup or fling, look to our App Alternatives for a better match.
Our Coffee Meets Bagel Rating: 3.4/5
Our review led us to give Coffee Meets Bagel an overall rating 3.4/5. Some people love the app and find it helpful. But compared to more popular dating apps, it’s subpar. Coffee Meets Bagel can be a great dating app for some users, but it has some serious issues.
Coffee Meets Bagel was founded in 2012 by three sisters who wanted to bridge the gap between men and women in dating. The app prioritizes quality over quantity in how female users date online. And with a user base focused on serious relationships, you might believe that the app has an excellent recipe for creating compatible, long-term relationships.
The reality of Coffee Meets Bagel is a bit more complicated. The app does not have enough members in most cities to compete with the likes of Hinge, Match, or Bumble. A specific algorithm is great when you have enough members to sort accurately. But in rural locations or places where the app hasn’t caught on, there may simply not be enough people to make a quality match.
Coffee Meets Bagel is more popular on the West Coast, particularly in San Francisco. It also has a good following in NYC, so singles may have more success there.
Of course, your success on Coffee Meets Bagel also depends in part on what you want from a dating app. Singles looking for a serious relationship are likely to have a better time on the app because they have a greater chance of finding people looking for the same thing. The app also encourages singles to engage in more meaningful conversations. Singles shy away from the 2 AM “sup?” messages and lean more into the “what was your childhood like?” messages.
At DatingNews, we love niche dating apps. We’re all about finding the people you can connect with on one platform. But if you are looking for something more casual, Coffee Meets Bagel is not for you. It is a relationship app, not a hookup site, so it prioritizes curated matches and meaningful connections — which is good if you want something long-term but not so much if you seek a low-stakes hookup.
Three Women Who Wanted to Fix the Dating Experience
Online dating is not without its flaws, especially for women. From unsolicited nudes to lazy profiles to bad conversations, dealing with men on many popular dating apps can be exhausting. Sisters Aram, Da Woon, and Soo Kang saw the issues plaguing women in the dating industry and sought to fix them with Coffee Meets Bagel.
The sisters began with two assumptions. First, they figured that men and women prioritize different things when dating online, even with the best intentions. Men look for a high quantity of matches, while women look for high-quality matches. Secondly, they presumed that the best way to meet a partner is through a mutual friend. You may feel more comfortable with them, have shared community and values, and even have a similar lifestyle. This has certainly proven true in my life: My partner is the childhood friend of my college roommate.
When Coffee Meets Bagel users download the dating service (available for free on the App Store and Google Play), they will be required to link the app to their Facebook profile. Every day at noon, they get suggested matches based on their profile, network, personal traits, and partner requirements. The matches are highly curated, and even more so, depending on your gender. Women get six matches — or “bagels” — every day, while men get 21. If both users “like” each other, they are connected through a temporary SMS that lasts one week.
The Kang sisters took their idea to SharkTank, where Mark Cuban offered them $30 million for the entire company, which they ultimately turned down. Based out of San Francisco, the Coffee Meets Bagel team has continued to grow the platform, even without the financial support of the Sharks.
Coffee Meets Bagel Offers a Mix of Free & Premium Features
Coffee Meets Bagel is free, though you can pay for premium features and upgrades. You’ll be able to see and talk to your matches with the free version, so the mobile app is totally functional without the upgrade and still worth the download, even if you don’t feel like paying up for the platform.
With the premium version, you can see your “likes you” feed, send more likes in the less curated “Discover” section, and get money from “Bean” purchases in the app. Premium members can use Beans to reopen old matches,and female users can unlock extra bagels. While the app is intended to be more tailored for women, the fact that female users have fewer matches and may end up paying more for the same number of matches rubs me the wrong way.
You get some Beans for free when you join the app and for completing tasks along the way. If you run out, you can buy more as you need.
Premium membership will allow you to read an activity report on other bagels. Activity reports are based on the bagel’s 15 most recent connections and are updated every 72 hours. They tell premium members how often other users message matches, how often they message first, their average response time, and how frequently they sign into the app. This information could undoubtedly be useful when you’re waiting on someone to get back to you. But honestly, it feels creepy for strangers on the app to access your activity information.
The premium cost for one month is $34.99, which is on the high end for dating sites (except for sites aimed at a luxurious clientele like The League). But if you pay for the annual subscription, it comes to $179.99 or $15/month. Though ideally, after a year on Coffee Meets Bagel, you’ll be happy in a relationship.
The Easy Signup & Matching Prioritize Common Interests
Coffee Meets Bagel works by pulling potential matches from your Facebook connections. Once you connect your Facebook profile and fill out basic information, you can get started on the app. Signing up is quick and easy, so there’s little risk if you want to try the app. It’s also worth mentioning that while you need to connect your Facebook profile, the app doesn’t change your Facebook account or give out any information to your followers that you’re on the app.
Because users on the app prioritize serious relationships, you’re matched based on shared interests and genuine compatibility instead of the popularity of your dating profile. This seems to work well in areas like San Francisco where Coffee Meets Bagel has gained a substantial membership base.
The app shines by utilizing common Facebook friends to identify a potential match. When you live in a small area, finding people with the specific traits you want in a partner can be difficult. But even if you live in a small town, your community on Facebook is likely pretty similar in size to that of someone in a more populated area. Many of the people who have found successful relationships on Coffee Meets Bagel ended up with a friend of a friend.
User @aklem92 wrote in the app store that he met his fiancée on the site. “CMB made it simple and easy for me to just devote a few short minutes when I wanted to log in,” he wrote. “Fast-forward 18 months, and I couldn’t be happier. We might have eventually met because we have a few mutual friends, but I’m thankful CMB sped up the process!”
The app’s simplicity also is a significant selling point for users, especially those who don’t absolutely adore the process of online dating. With its SMS channels for talking to your matches, Coffee Meets Bagel goes a step further to quickly get you off the app. And because matches come out every day at noon, you know precisely when to log on. And thankfully, it’s NOT in the middle of the night.
Success Rate: The App Has Positive Reviews & Few Fakes
For the most part, users seem to have a positive experience with Coffee Meets Bagel. They find it cleaner than apps aimed at more casual dating, like Tinder, with more singles looking to build long-term connections. Many find it easier to navigate than other apps thanks to Coffee Meets Bagel’s simpler design made for users who want to spend less time swiping and more time getting to know their matches.
Some users had negative experiences with the app. Given how few bagels women see daily, some male users are convinced that none of the women they see actually view their Coffee Meets Bagel profile. Even when these users pay for extra features, they feel they may not have a chance to be seen.
“A bagel costs something like $4-$5, a little less with the discount, so it’s a gamble to send someone a bagel not knowing AT ALL if they’ll even see you,” @DrTruthBomb wrote in his App Store review. “After a month of this, I still have zero matches. I feel CMB delays when people see you as long as they see you stop paying for a while.”
A handful of users reported finding fake profiles on the app, but it doesn’t seem to be a core issue. Unfortunately, fake profiles come up on just about every dating app. If you’re trying out Coffee Meets Bagel, ensure you’re just as vigilant as you would be with any app.
App Alternatives: 4 Dating Platforms That Are More Popular
Coffee Meets Bagel is an excellent idea for a dating app, but it just hasn’t gotten the following yet to be the best option everywhere. We have a few recommendations for dating site alternatives that may be more helpful on your quest for love (or lust) than Coffee Meets Bagel.
- In-depth matching appeals to women with high standards
- Video chat tools help online daters establish a rapport
- An established singles network in 50 countries worldwide
Match is truly the OG of dating. Launched in 1995, the online dating site has amassed a vast membership base over the years. You’ll have no problem finding eligible singles here.
As one of the top dating platforms for relationships, Match has a similar niche as that of Coffee Meets Bagel. But with 39.7 million site visits per month, Match has more users and a more reliable track record of success.
You can join Match for free; however, free communication is limited to Top Picks only. That means free users can only chat with a pre-selected list of local singles. Signing up for Match’s Premium plan costs around the same as the paid plan with Coffee Meets Bagel, with one month coming in at $35.99 and a slightly cheaper annual plan at $11.99/month.
- Helping over 2,500 singles find love every month
- An intelligent match algorithm uses profile information to reccommend dates
- Caters to relationship-minded men and women
If you’re looking for a serious relationship but are concerned about the caliber of singles you meet on dating apps, Elite Singles may be your dating site. The platform caters to educated, established professionals looking for serious commitment.
Elite Singles is a successful dating platform that has gained traction during the COVID pandemic as single professionals became more serious about finding true love.
At $59.95 for one month, the service is more expensive than Coffee Meets Bagel. You can technically go on Elite Singles for free, but you won’t be able to view photos, and your communication will be limited. The dating service was created with the “elite” in mind, which comes with a premium.
- Quick and easy registration for Christian women
- Discovery Preferences help users make a strong connection
- A values-driven network full of respectful and genuine men
Singles looking for a partner who shares their faith are likely to have an easier time finding love on a commitment-focused app like Coffee Meets Bagel. But nothing beats meeting singles on a site geared directly toward your values. If having a relationship rooted in a shared faith is important to you, consider Christian Mingle. It’s clean, fun, and most people on the site are looking for the same thing: a Christian relationship and marriage.
Christian Mingle is a bit on the pricey side, at $42.99 for one month, though the cost goes down to $19.99/month with a six-month subscription.
Christian Mingle is the gold standard of dating sites among Christian singles. With 3.5 million users who all share your faith, you’re likely to find someone special on the site. For more on the platform, check out our Christian Mingle review.
- Proactive privacy and security measures
- Ability to hide your face in profile pictures
- Quick Reply to matches to show you’re interested
Clearly, Coffee Meets Bagel and our other recommendations cater to those looking for long-term love. But if you want something casual, Ashley Madison is a popular dating app. The dating network is largely focused on extramarital affairs, but you can use it for flings, hookups, or just cyber-sexting.
Ashley Madison doesn’t run on a subscription model, but premium members need to pay for individual costs, like sending a certain number of messages or getting “priority man” status. A female user will be granted free communication upon setting up her dating profile, while a male user on the hookup app will have a limit on how often he can contact his daily matches.
Ashley Madison is very secure given the precarious romantic situation of many of its users, so you get what you pay for.
Coffee Meets Bagel Is a Good Dating App for Exploring Options
In some ways, online dating has made it far easier to meet people and know their intentions up-front. But with so many hookup-focused apps out there, you may feel like no one is willing to actually pursue something serious. Gone are the days of getting someone’s number at a coffee shop or being set up on a blind date. To find a serious relationship, you need serious dating platforms that are made for people who want the same thing. Coffee Meets Bagel is just that: an app for people ready to get serious about love.
In our Coffee Meets Bagel Review, we found that it’s a pretty solid app for getting to know people who may want the same thing. It may even be the best option in areas where it’s already popular. But if you haven’t found anyone special after a while on the app, it probably isn’t for you. Your person might be swiping through a more popular dating app.