What Is Coffee Meets Bagel? Get to Know the Dating App That Slows Things Down

By Christin Perry | | Technology, Dating
What Is Coffee Meets Bagel? Get to Know the Dating App That Slows Things Down

Did you know that men make up the vast majority of users on just about every dating app? Take Tinder for instance: in the U.S., male users outnumber female users by more than 3:1. There are likely many reasons for the disparity, but what it boils down to is that many women aren’t that interested in conventional dating apps. San Francisco-based startup Coffee Meets Bagel wants to change that.

What is Coffee Meets Bagel? Contrary to its odd name, it’s not a breakfast shop. Started by three single sisters who were frustrated by the current selection of male-friendly dating apps, Coffee Meets Bagel is billed as the first dating app designed for women. Thanks mostly to a unique feature called #LadiesChoice, the app sends female users a daily curated list of matches who have expressed interest in them already. Then, they choose which ones to initiate conversation with. If you’ve ever used the wildly popular Bumble app, you’re probably familiar with this female-friendly set up.

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to the ins and outs of the CMB dating app. Keep reading to learn all you need to find your “everything bagel.”

Inside Coffee Meets Bagel

The CMB dating app, which boasts over 50 million matches since its 2012 launch, has undergone several iterations. Like many other dating apps, CMB has moved away from the Tinderesque swiping in favor of a scrolling feed of potential suitors. Similar to Hinge, the CMB app allows you to “like” certain aspects of a profile in the hopes of making a connection.

Despite these recent updates, which also includes a more modern look and feel, the app still delivers what they refer to as daily “bagels” (CMB-speak for potential matches). At noon each day, male users receive 21 bagels. They weigh in on matches and determine which ones they’re interested in. Note: there’s no swiping without making a decision—each user has to express firm interest or disinterest before reviewing the next match. Then, as mentioned above, female users receive those matches and get the option of choosing which they’d like to pursue.

According to the company, the CMB app is continually updating its model to make it more LGBTQ+ friendly as well. Learn more here.

What makes Coffee Meets Bagel different?

What makes this coffee and bagel dating site different from all the rest? Obviously, you’re unlikely to find another dating app that refers to matches as bagels. Beyond that, matches in Coffee Meets Bagel are based on an algorithm that uses your profile information, as well as your past activity on the app, to determine the likelihood of your “bagels” being a good match for you. This algorithm-based matching method, while not unique to CMB (it’s also used in the Hinge dating app, among others), combines with a few other factors to make the CMB app one that stands out from its competitors.

Take, for instance, the aspect of connecting in a certain amount of time. The Coffee Meets Bagel platform was built with a sense of urgency in mind. They want users to move conversations forward and eventually meet in real life if the connection feels authentic. As such, they’ve built timelines—often pressing ones—into their app. For example, when a match is first made, a couple has 24 hours to accept the match and begin chatting. And when that chatting starts? They’ve got only 7 days to transform those “hey, what’s up” intros into a real-life connection.

One way the app facilitates interactions is by building a comment feature into their profiles. This allows you to comment on a particular part of a user’s profile, which can facilitate better matchmaking. Like his surfboard? CMB offers a way to let him know. Is her car amazing? You’re free to tell her. There’s a much more personal feel to the CMB dating app than simply whether you find someone attractive.

According to TechCrunch, Coffee Meets Bagel members who sent comments to their matches received reciprocating interest at a 25% higher rate than those who didn’t. They also found that when comments led to conversations, total message volume increased by 60%. In other words, if CMB’s aim is to create meaningful connections, their methods seem to work.

How much does Coffee Meets Bagel cost?

Another great feature of the Coffee Meets Bagel dating app is the fact that it’s free. And unlike other dating apps that allow only limited functionality for users who remain on the free plan, the CMB app allows you to do just about everything gratis. But the app does exist to make a profit, so they’ve added a premium layer.

You can’t have coffee without…you guessed it…beans. And on CMB, beans are credits you can purchase toward things like receiving additional matches, or the app’s unique “rematch” feature, which allows you to pick up conversation with a lapsed match (because of the whole timeline thing). Here’s a breakdown of what to expect to pay for beans, at the time of this writing:

  • 100 beans = $1.99
  • 2,000 beans = $23.99
  • 3,000 beans = $24.99

What information does the CMB dating app collect?

In 2018, Coffee Meets Bagel made a number of changes to their site, one of which was loosening its close ties to Facebook. Like other dating apps in the wake of the Facebook privacy scandal, the CMB app now allows you to sign up using your phone number instead of just your Facebook account. If you do choose to sign up via Facebook, it makes sign up a snap, as all of your information autocompletes in the app. But note that by doing so, you’re allowing Coffee Meets Bagel access to all parts of your Facebook profile, and all information contained therein.

CMB’s privacy statement reads very similarly to that of other dating apps and social media apps in general. They collect the following upon sign up:

  • Mobile device ID.
  • Location.
  • Information about your specific device.
  • Usage data.
  • Cookies.

Is Coffee Meets Bagel safe?

CMB’s unique matching method, wherein women choose which men to connect with, is effective at reducing annoyances like harassment. However, it’s important to note that there are some inherent risks to online dating, regardless of which platform you use. Reviews reveal plenty of CMB dating app users who complained of numerous scammer profiles asking for money or other illicit activities.

As with any online dating app, such behaviors are strong indicators of an online dating scam. When meeting someone from the CMB dating app in real life, follow basic safety precautions like meeting in public, arranging your own transportation and always informing a friend of your whereabouts. Conducting a people search on your upcoming date may also reveal information or red flags that you hadn’t noticed earlier.

Real Coffee Meets Bagel users talk

User reviews in the Google Play store for CMB are generally positive, with the app netting a 4.1 rating out of 5 overall. People seem to agree that the app stays true to its stated methods and purpose, but others feel put off by a poor user experience or the pressure to purchase additional services:

Clean, intuitive interface. Lets you choose your location rather than using GPS. Matches come in waves, so don’t despair if you go a week or two without any. Have met several good girls from this app. - David S.

CMB gives me successful dates and good matches. The signup and preference process is more refined than most other dating apps, so you get a better selection. However, there is a huge chunk of the app that is unavailable if you aren’t willing to pay money. It’s not impossible to use the app without it, but you have to wait longer. - Melinda Madden

If I set my age range preference to 23-35 and my profile is shown to some 38-year-olds, no big deal, it’s only a few years off. But I keep being shown in Discover to men in their late 40s to 50s and getting likes from them. It’s way off (and it’s extremely creepy to be hit on by men old enough to be my dad). Please fix your suggestion algorithm! - Rebekah Lee

I am a male, and tried three services. CMB is much more transparent and the profiles provided comparatively more context. On other platforms getting the 50+ like/match badge just meant those 50+ people had been removed from your public card pool. This service just tells you up front. Deactivated my account because I found an awesome gal through this. - Michael Shoemate

If you think Coffee Meets Bagel may be worth a shot, you can download it here for iOS, and here for Android.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.