A couple of New Year’s ago, my sister and I helped a close friend of ours create a Coffee Meets Bagel profile. She’d been single for a long time and was ready for a fresh start. She chose it because it’s not as complicated and overwhelming as some other dating apps. She’s been on it for over a year now and has gone on a ton of great dates.
In addition to my friend, our experts and I have also used Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) — it’s our job, after all. So let’s start at the beginning and work our way to the end — from how to get the app to how to use it and other options we’re big fans of.
Coffee Meets Bagel: Promotes a Female-Friendly Atmosphere & Rewards Active Use (4.3/5.0 Rating)
The year was 2012. Alabama beat LSU in the BCS National Championship, Adele won a Grammy for “Rolling in the Deep,” Barack Obama officially secured the Democratic presidential nomination, and Coffee Meets Bagel launched.
CMB’s mission was to focus on quality over quantity and help singles meet their “everything bagel,” and the team still strives to accomplish that to this day.
Some key stats about the app: about 60% of members are female, 40% are male, 96% have a bachelor’s degree, 33% have a master’s, 70% are looking for a relationship, and 12% are looking for a hookup. In terms of success, Coffee Meets Bagel is responsible for 2.5 billion introductions and uniting 50,000 couples.
You’ll then input your sexual orientation, the preferred age, height, distance, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation of your matches (men, women, or both). You’ll also be asked to provide the name of the high school or college you attend or attended, three phrases to describe yourself, three activities you enjoy, three things you appreciate on a date, and three fun facts about yourself.
Coffee Meets Bagel has one of the most unique matching systems you’ll find. Each day, the app will send you your bagels (aka matches). Men receive up to 21, and women receive up to five. As you’re browsing through your bagels, you can either like or pass on them.
Now, before you go thinking the number of bagels is unfair, CMB has its reason, and it’s called Ladies Choice. The team has found that women tend to be more selective in picking a date, so the bagels they receive are highly compatible and are on men who’ve already liked them — therefore saving them time.
The Discover section is another way to meet bagels. These people won’t be in your daily batch because they don’t meet some or all of your criteria, but it’s a good thing to check out if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you and a bagel like each other, communication is enabled, but you’ll want to hurry. The option to chat with a mutual bagel will expire in eight days. This is one way Coffee Meets Bagel encourages getting offline.
While the app doesn’t charge for registering, receiving bagels, and communicating, if you want to do things like see more information about a bagel or go back to someone you passed on, you’ll have to pay in the form of beans. You’ll start off with 10 and can earn more by logging in every day, inviting friends, and spreading the word on social. You can also purchase beans (100 for $1.99, 2,000 for $23, or 3000 for $24.99).
One of our favorite aspects of Coffee Meets Bagel is that you’ll find a lot of advice for filling out your profile, choosing bagels, messaging, and setting up a date, among others. The CMB team values feedback (e.g., why you passed on a bagel) and will work to make changes that will improve the experience. There’s also a Mirror Mirror Report, which tells you how good your profile is compared with those of others, and Reveal Report, which tells you why others liked you.
“Last night… I asked him, ‘Do you want to be my boyfriend?’ He said he would be proud to call me his girlfriend. I owe it all to CMB! Five amazing stars for making me the happiest and luckiest girl ever!” — Lincy H. said in a review on Yelp
Coffee Meets Bagel does have some cons, though. These include if you’re in a small town, you might receive fewer bagels or see the same ones, you may miss the fast pace of apps like Tinder, and since you’re getting matched up with friends of friends, you could come across some awkward situations (e.g., seeing exes or your friends’ siblings).
The reviews of CMB are mostly positive. On Yelp, Lincy H. gushed that, “We met on Sept. 7. We’ve literally seen each other every single day for the last 30 days. We pretty much acted like a couple from very early on. It’s official now. And I owe it all to CMB!”
However, we did find a few negative ones. David L., also a Yelp user, said, “I know for sure this app has messaging issues. On top of this, I don’t get notification of new messages, even though it’s on the app and on my device. The CMB concept is fine/unique, but they seem to be failing in their execution and user experience. These are two very important aspects of online dating apps — the integrity of communication and notifications.”
The final decision will ultimately be up to you.
Other Options to Think About
Coffee Meets Bagel is a fantastic dating app that’s doing wonders in a sea of cookie-cutter ones. However, it’s not the only choice you have. Below we’ve highlighted three apps that are also worth trying out.
Most of us know Match’s story: it was founded in 1995 before any other dating site and has created the most romantic connections ever since. Like CMB, Match can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. However, unlike CMB, Match allows you to search for dates on your own while also sending you suggestions.
Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships
Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more
Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »
Browse Free: View Photos Now
|Gender Ratio||M: 49% | F: 51%*|
You won’t have to pay anything to do this as well as to add your information and pictures, see who’s viewed your profile, and flirt (likes, winks, favorites, etc.).
2. Elite Singles
Elite Singles is a fantastic alternative to Coffee Meets Bagel, especially if you’re a highly educated single who wants to date someone who’s also highly educated. Over 80% of users hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree (or some combo of all three). The success rate is something to brag about, too. More than 2,500 users find love on the app every month.
Relationships: Serious Relationships
Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions
Our Experts Say: “Elite Singles is a leading dating site just for busy, single professionals. More than 80% of members have earned a college degree, and most are looking for a serious commitment...” Full Review »
Browse Free: View Photos Now
|Gender Ratio||M: 43% | F: 57%*|
When you sign up for Elite Singles, you’re automatically given a free account that never expires. Create a profile, browse through singles, and start communicating to see if you like the app — you’ve got nothing to lose.
Zoosk is probably the most similar to Coffee Meets Bagel. It’s free, you can sign up via Facebook (as well as Google+), and most of its members are younger. Zoosk’s features are in the same realm as well — you can say yes, maybe, or no to suggested matches in the Carousel, and Zoosk Coins will give you access to more features such as virtual gifts.
|Gender Ratio||M: 48% | F: 52%*|
Perhaps the biggest different between Zoosk and CMB is its size. The app has 38 million members and 30 million downloads, so if you’re in a smaller location, you might be better off going with Zoosk.
CMB: One of Several Prominent Dating Apps You’ll Be Happy With!
My friend is enjoying meeting so many different people on Coffee Meets Bagel, and her favorite part of the app is that the process is streamlined for her. She’s not surrounded by millions of potentially incompatible singles who she’ll have to wade through. If you’re in the same position as my friend and are ready for a fresh start, CMB is a go-to. But why limit yourself to one dating app? With so many awesome (not to mention free) ones out there, you might as well give them a test drive. Cheers!