Coffee Meets Bagel launched in 2012 and became a household name after appearing on “Shark Tank” in 2015. Still, what does it mean by coffee, and what’s the deal with the bagel? And more importantly, will it help you find a partner ready for a long-term relationship?
We’re going to share all those answers and more in our Coffee Meets Bagel review. Well, actually not all. We never could figure out what coffee means, but we did get tons of info after using the app for a week. Ready for the real tea (or, um… coffee?). Take a look through our Coffee Meets Bagel review to see if this app is right for you.
Coffee Meets Bagel Review Scores
|Starting Cost:||$25 a month|
|App Store Rating||4.5/5|
|Google Play Rating||4.5/5|
|Our Review Score||8.0/10.0|
Is Coffee Meets Bagel Worth Trying? – The Bottom Line Up Front
As a serious dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel uses an advanced matching algorithm and technology to provide high-quality matches. At first, it matches you with members in your nearby area who meet your preferences. However, the algorithm improves as you interact with members, and quickly begins incorporating your interests, education, social circles, and more.
From what we saw, the matching algorithm works, and you have a pretty good chance of moving things into the real world when using the app.
When you sign up, you can choose a basic or paid account. Surprisingly, you can use Coffee Meets Bagel’s core functions with a free account, meaning you can like, pass, and chat with matches. Based on our experience, that’s all you need to have success on this dating app.
Still, you have the option to increase your exposure and double your matches with a Mini or Premium membership. As the name implies, the Mini membership has fewer features than the Premium membership does.
All members receive a limited number of “Bagels” each day at noon. Your Bagels are your matches, and you can like or pass on them. While some people don’t like the limits, we actually do. You can’t help but spend more time reviewing profiles when you can only look at a handful.
Oh, and don’t worry if your match count is low at first. Even free members can see which of their Bagels like them, making it easy to get mutual matches. In fact, we ended up with a dozen matches using this strategy. It’s no wonder that Coffee Meets Bagel has created over 50 million matches.
Once you match with someone, you can start chatting, even if you have a free account. Beware, though – chats expire after seven days. This is Coffee Meets Bagel’s way to push matches into the real world. Again, we really like this since it improves the quality of the chats.
The members we chatted with were engaging and responsive, and we can see how this app can lead to serious relationships and even marriage. But as much as we like Coffee Meets Bagel, we know it’s not for everyone.
We recommend checking CMB out if you:
- Want to start a serious relationship
- Prefer quality over quantity
- Want to take things into the real world soon
However, CMB is not for you if you:
- Prefer casual dating
- Love to swipe through hundreds of profiles
- Like to chat on dating apps for weeks before taking things into the real world
Pros and Cons of the Coffee Meets Bagel Dating App
- Algorithm improves match quality the more you use the app.
- Profile viewing limits help members focus on forming genuine connections.
- Most profiles are detailed and complete.
- You are able to chat with matches without upgrading
- You will only receive messages from profiles you’ve liked, so your inbox doesn’t become a pit of unwelcome photos and cheesy pickup lines.
- You can earn in app currency through activities.
- Coffee Meets Bagel Premium subscription is expensive.
- You only get 5 matches per day, which can make the process feel a little slow.
- The gender split isn’t even, with around 60% of users identifying as female.
- Smallish membership base, so you might run out of profiles if you upgrade
- The matching algorithm isn’t as intricate and effective as the ones you’ll find on sites like eHarmony.
What is Coffee Meets Bagel?
Originally conceptualized in New York City, CoffeeMeetsBagel.com is a service focused on giving women a more pleasant online dating experience. The brand was created by sisters Soo, Dawoon, and Arum Kang and a team of developers from San Francisco. All three sisters are successful entrepreneurs and Harvard grads! But back to CMB…
The team started asking women what they needed from an online dating experience and trying to bring that perfect product to marker. The Coffee Meets Bagel app officially launched in April of 2012 for users in New York City and before the end of that year would also launch in Boston and San Fransisco.
And this all sounds amazing! But does lead us to one extremely important question for potential CMB users:
How is Coffee Meets Bagel Different?
There a literally thousands of online dating services out there. What makes the Coffee Meets Bagel app any different? There are really 2 things we need to look at to answer that and that’s user intent and the CMB process. So let’s do that!
CMB User Intent
Most singles on CoffeeMeetsBagel.com are looking for serious relationships not flings and casual hookups. According to their staff “Over 91%”. If you’re tired of matching with other singles who don’t have long term goals for the relationship this puts CMB in a completely different realm from services like Tinder.
CMB Matchmaking Process
Of course, we know Coffee Meets Bagel is not the only brand with a focus on lasting love. Brands like eHarmony, Zoosk, and others have been set on serious online dating for years. This is where the process comes in. On those other sites, you’re responsible for making the matches. You reach our to singles and singles reach out to you and you hope that something clicks.
The Coffee Meets Bagel app takes a different approach and acts as more of a matchmaker. They use algorithms to give you a selection of 5 daily matches that you can choose from. The idea is that by doing this you encounter fewer singles who don’t share your goals or let’s be honest are just plain creepy.
In the end, it’s completely up to you which process you prefer, but we always encourage users to weigh all their options:
Coffee Meets Bagel Features Overview
Coffee Meets Bagel isn’t as feature-rich as a lot of sites out there, but that’s OK. If you’ve been following our Coffee Meets Bagel review, you know the app’s main focus is creating genuine connections, and that’s more important than cool features. Still, it uses some unique language and has a few features we’d like to discuss.
Matches are called “Bagels” on Coffee Meets Bagel. You can review and like your Bagels via the “Suggestions” tab starting at noon each day. While the Bagels are limited in number, they’re highly curated, so you can expect to see one solid match after the next.
Earlier in our Coffee Meets Bagel review, we said you don’t really need to upgrade to a paid membership. However, there is a premium feature we love – the Activity Report.
If you upgrade, you can get some info before liking or passing on profiles. Info like their last login and how fast they reply can help you improve your success rate. But even without the Activity Report, we didn’t have any issues finding members ready to chat. Only six of our likes went unanswered, and we chatted with all of our matches.
“What’s Your Type” CMB Match Filters
Since most apps have filters, you might find yourself wanting to skip past this part of our review of Coffee Meets Bagel. Stick around, though, because this is important. See, while you can set your search preferences, they can work against you here.
Coffee Meets Bagel takes search filters very seriously. Instead of recommendations, they are dealbreakers.
For example, if you say you’re looking for men between 25-35, the app won’t show you compatible Bagels who are 36.
That being said, this is a much bigger issue for premium members since they have more specific filters. Check out the free and premium filters to see what we mean.
If the suggested matches aren’t doing it for you, or you just want to see what else Coffee Meets Bagel has to offer, you can check out the Discover section. Here, you will see other singles in your area that didn’t match with your personality and needs, but were pretty close (runners up if you will).
Free members don’t get many Discover matches, so some CMB users upgrade for this alone. Still, we had ample matches on the Coffee Meets Bagel app without paying anything.
If you have some extra money and want more exposure, you can buy Beans to use on Coffee Meets Bagel. You can use Beans to get more Bagels and extend chats past the seven-day limit. Also, you’ll be able to see more profiles and send extra likes on the Discover tab. All members can buy Beans, but premium subscribers get a discount.
How Do I Buy Beans?
Beans can be purchased in the app’s “Bean Shop.” You can buy a set of 100 beans for as little as $1.99. If you are buying Beans frequently, you may save some money by signing up for a monthly membership.
Can I Get Beans for Free?
You can! You earn free beans by consistently using the CMB app. You can also earn 500 free beans by inviting friends to join the app.
Recently, some members have complained that Coffee Meets Bagel has done away with members’ histories. We poked around and it’s still there (just not very easy to find). Click on the symbol on the top right-hand screen to open your history. Then, you can see all the likes you’ve sent and your mutual matches.
The Quality of Singles at Coffee Meets Bagel
According to Coffee Meets Bagel, 91% of its members want serious relationships, and that checks out based on their profiles and engagement rates. Let’s start with the profiles. Members just need to add a bit of info to sign up, but most go the extra mile by answering prompts and adding their values.
Also, all the members have pictures! Members have to add a photo that shows their faces to get approved on Coffee Meets Bagel, and we definitely appreciated that. Here’s an example of what a typical profile might look like:
As with most serious dating apps, the members here are a little older than you’ll find on casual sites. The majority are between 30-49, but you’ll also find people outside of that demographic. Also, since the app limits the number of Bagels you see, you don’t have to worry about running out of matches, unless you upgrade to premium.
Also, the members here seem very motivated to find partners. Check out our stats after using Coffee Meets Bagel for a week:
- We received 99 likes (the app stops counting at 99)
- We liked 39 profiles
- Received 33 mutual matches
- We had 32 conversations (25 of them ongoing)
We encountered one mildly rude person out of all of that. The member was upset when we didn’t respond for a couple of days. We’ve seen much worse on dating apps, so we certainly aren’t going to ding Coffee Meets Bagel for that.
Coffee Meets Bagel Alternatives
We are really impressed by Coffee Meets Bagel, but is it the best dating app for serious relationships? Find out by seeing how it compares to other industry favorites.
- eHarmony – Both eHarmony and Coffee Meets Bagel limit the number of matches members receive to help them make real connections. eHarmony has members take a personality test when signing up and then uses a compatibility scoring system to find matches. It’s a better system than Coffee Meets Bagel’s tech-based matching algorithm, but both are solid. (Read Our Full Review of eHarmony)
- EliteSingles – Like Coffee Meets Bagel, most members on EliteSingles are 30 and over. EliteSingles is designed for successful professionals, while professionals and non-professionals alike use Coffee Meets Bagel. However, we didn’t have a problem matching with professionals on Coffee Meets Bagel. Also, both provide compatible matches, but EliteSingles’ algorithm relies on the five-factor model of personality instead of machine learning, giving it a slight edge. (Check Out Our Unbiased EliteSingles Review)
- The League – The League and Coffee Meets Bagel both want matches to meet in the real world. While The League offers features like Party Scout to find people in the wild, Coffee Meets Bagel limits chats. However, Coffee Meets Bagel’s membership base tends to skew a little older since most members of The League are in their 20s and 30s instead of 30 and up like on Coffee Meets Bagel. Also, you have to have an impressive resume to join The League, while everyone is welcome on Coffee Meets Bagel. (Read Our Review of The League)
How to Sign Up for Coffee Meets Bagel
You can create your Coffee Meets Bagel account using your phone number or Facebook. We personally recommend not connecting dating apps with your social media, but we’ll give you a breakdown of the steps for both ways just in case you need them!
Signing Up for CMB With Your Phone
- Visit the Apple Store if you’re an iPhone user or Google Play for Android.
- Download the app, open it, and choose “continue with phone number.”
- Provide your phone number.
- Wait for your SMS verification to pop up and complete.
- Fill in your profile and choose your dating preferences.
Signing Up for CMB With Facebook
- Download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.
- Open the app and choose “continue with Facebook.”
- The app will direct your through connecting to your Facebook.
- Approve the permissions as the app requests them.
- Complete your CMB profile and match preferences.
Is It Safe to Connect my CMB Dating App to Facebook?
Facebook has had issues in the recent past with leaking personal data from theirs and connected apps. For that reason, we always recommend not connecting your Coffee Meets Bagel account to Facebook. However, there are thousands of singles who do and have not had their data compromised. Ultimately, it is up to personal preference.
Price Review | How Much Does Coffee Meets Bagel Cost?
Coffee Meets Bagel memberships range in price from $20 per month with the longest 12 month plan to $34.99 per month with the shortest 1 month plan. There are two other plan options for 3 months and 6 months with varying prices in between these two plans.
Additionally, CMB offers some a la carte purchases that you can get to enhance your experience. To find out more about these other plans, the a la carte purchase options, and other key pricing details like payment options, membership levels, and auto-renewal, check the Coffee Meets Bagel pricing guide.
User Complaints About Coffee Meets Bagel
Even though our review of Coffee Meets Bagel is positive, we want to share some user complaints. The site has mainly positive reviews on the App Store and Google Play, but we found some negative reviews on Trustpilot and other sites.
- Premium Members Run Out of Profiles – Unlimited likes is a big selling point for the premium membership, but it can be a waste of money if you want to see lots of profiles. The membership base is on the smaller side, so you can run out quickly if you go wild with likes.
- Scammers – We didn’t run into anyone trying to scam us when using Coffee Meets Bagel. Still, we read complaints from members who have. Some of the scammers want to sell sexual services, according to users. You can report members who break the Community Guidelines on Coffee Meets Bagel, which helps keep the apps safe.
- Unhelpful Customer Support – Coffee Meets Bagel’s Help Center has a lot of great info, so you should find the answers to most of your questions there. Still, those who had to reach out to customer support said they didn’t receive much help.
The Coffee Meets Bagel App on Shark Tank
On January 9th, 2015 ABC aired season 6 episode 13 of Shark Tank, and the world was introduced to the Kang sisters.
At this point, CoffeeMeetsBagel.com was nearly 3 years old and according to the trio had “between 100,000 and 500,000 users”. This is a number the sisters would not elaborate on any further fearing it could jeopardize the success of their business.
The bottom line was the Coffee Meets Bagel app handled a lot of money in the previous years, but despite growth still showed negative profit margins.
Naturally, the next step was to get investors and expertise; a shark you might say?
The Kangs recognized that the Coffee Meets Bagel app has a ton of growth potential and asked for a $500,000 loan in exchange for 5% equity in their company. This would mean the implied value of the company would be 10 million dollars! None of the sharks bit at their offer but in an interesting turn of events, Mark Cuban countered saying he would buy the company for 30 million dollars (3x the implied value).
In the end, they failed to reach an agreement but left Shark Tank with a new zeal to make their brand explode. Dawoon Kang said, “At the end of the day we knew we made the right decision”. The CMB app has since raised millions in funding through various campaigns and continued to grow without the help of a shark.
Coffee Meets Bagel FAQ
We hope you enjoyed our updated Coffee Meets Bagel review! We’re going to wrap things up with some common questions from users about the CMB app. As always let us know if there’s anything we missed or if you still have unanswered questions!
Is Coffee Meets Bagel Free?
The core features of the Coffee Meets Bagel app are free! This means you can join and chat with suggested matches without paying for a subscription or “buying beans”.
Who Sends the First Message on the Coffee Meets Bagel App?
The initial goal of the CMB app was to create an option for women where they wouldn’t get bombarded with crude or unwanted messages. For this reason, no messaging will take place until the woman is interested in the match and initiates it.
Does Coffee Meets Bagel Have a Lot of Users?
Over 10 million for sure! The exact number of total users on the Coffee Meets Bagel app has always been kept a bit vague, but co-founder Dawoon Kang did publicly confirm CMB hit 10 million users in 2019 and the brand has continued to grow since then. You can see that full interview here.
Is CMB Good for Long-Term Relationships?
Yes! Coffee Meets Bagel is a great place to meet partners seeking commitment and long-term romance.
What If I Am Just Looking for a Short-Term Hookup?
If you are looking for a fling or something less serious, you might prefer a swipe-style app like Tinder.
Written By: Healthy Framework Team
The Healthy Framework team has a combined 50+ years of experience in the online dating industry. Collectively, the team has reviewed over 300 dating apps and is known as one of the leaders in the relationship advice and information space. The team’s work has been featured on Zoosk, Tinder, The Economist, People Magazine, Parade, Women’s Health, Her Campus, Fox, and more.