Ah, the coffee date, the classic casual first date. Unlike its classic contemporaries — romantic movies, candlelit dinners, I’m looking at you — coffee dates offer the chance for two people to meet in a casual, no frills-setting. They give daters the chance to focus on what’s important: getting to know each other and creating a genuine connection. If either party isn’t feeling the vibe, it’s easy to bow out. What’s not to love?
But, like a lot of things to do with romance and dating, jumping in can feel daunting at first. How do you keep those first date nerves at bay and set yourself up for an unforgettable date? Enter the Zoosk guide to a brilliant coffee date! We’re here to share everything you need to know including why this is a great first date idea, the best time to arrange it, go-to coffee date tips, and much more!
What Is a Coffee Date?
A coffee date typically describes a social meeting between two people, who’re romantically interested in each other, over a cup of coffee. However, despite this meaning, this type of date doesn’t only have to be over coffee. Oftentimes, the drink can be something else such as tea or juice.
Most coffee dates take place in a public place — usually a coffee shop. This calm public setting is one of the things that help to keep the experience feeling casual and relaxed.
Why Coffee is a Great First Date Idea
Before jumping in and arranging a get together, you might be wondering whether this really is a good idea for a first date. The short answer here is yes! Coffee dates are one of the best, low-key first date ideas out there.
They allow two like-minded singles to connect and get to know each other in a relaxed and calm setting. Coffee dates are also generally low-cost, which is perfect for avoiding an overly expensive date with someone you’re just connecting with for the first time.
Create a Real Connection: 5 of the Best Coffee Date Tips to Keep In Mind
Coffee dates can be the perfect starting point for forming real, meaningful connections. But how do you make sure that you have the best experience possible? To help get you started, we’ve put together 5 of the best coffee date tips. Check them out below!
1. Pick the Perfect Location for Your Coffee Date
When picking the perfect location, choosing the best coffee shop is key. Consider qualities like the location, the spatial dynamics, and the vibe. Location is pretty simple. Pick a place that’s relatively easy for both of you to get to. If you don’t mind traveling, pick one closer to them.
The vibe of the coffee shop is also key. Do you like mom-and-pop homestyle cafes or do you prefer artisanal fresh roast options? Also, try to pick somewhere upbeat. The fewer people working on laptops the better. The vibe isn’t a make or break, but it may reveal telling differences or similarities between you.
Probably the most important factor to consider in your selection is the coffee shop’s spatial dynamic. Since your goal is to kickstart a meaningful connection, pick a place where you can talk freely. The ideal location would have well-spaced tables and customers that wouldn’t mind an animated first date conversation. Private patios and corner seating are a plus.
2. Etiquette: Timing Matters
What’s the best time for a coffee date? This is a common question and one that’s key when it comes to arranging a great get together. Cafes tend to have busy periods during the morning and lunchtime rushes. While this might create a bustling atmosphere, it can also mean you and your date struggling to hear each other properly over the background noise. Never a great recipe for a first meeting.
To avoid this, try to arrange your get together so you’re avoiding those typically busy periods. This can help to ensure that the environment is calm and relaxed and that you can both enjoy conversing over those first date topics.
3. Show Up Early and Prepare
There are a few good reasons for showing up early to a coffee date. First, you’ll have the best chance to get a good spot to sit. You don’t want to have to stand in a busy coffee shop on your first meeting.
Second, if you’re feeling particularly nervous, this will give you some time to calm down. Warm up your conversational muscles by chatting with the baristas, then take your seat and take a few yoga breaths.
Third, you can mitigate some potential awkwardness. On a first date, it’s always best to start by chatting — waiting in line for drinks isn’t the best place for introductions. When you show up early, you can get the drinks and alleviate the pressure for them to get up and order when they arrive.
4. Keep the Conversation Light and Relaxed
Conversationally, start small. Where they’re from, their hobbies, and what their summer vacation plans are. Steer clear of family and relationships. Try not to dig too deep, unless they offer up that information freely. You’re just trying to get a feeling for who they are and share in kind. These conversations will often be more about feeling than information exchange.
Next, be present. If you want to foster a real connection, you have to be mentally present and engaged. Let your guard down and put your attention at the ready. Withhold your judgments, opinions, and words that you just have to get in when they’re talking. Hear what they have to say. This is the best way to get to know someone during a get together.
5. Go for a Walk, Plan the Next Date, or Move On
Most coffee dates will last about an hour or two. At that point, it’s time to figure out what’s next. If you enjoyed their company, continue the date by heading to a restaurant or brainstorming some second date ideas together.
If you don’t feel the chemistry, say so gently. There’s no need to tell someone you want to hang out when you don’t. Conversely, if you’re interested but they’re not, respect their decision and move on.
How Long Should a Coffee Date Last?
There’s no one set answer to this question. Etiquette doesn’t really exist in the same way as with a classic dinner date. How long your meetup lasts typically depends on how much you’re both enjoying spending time together.
If the conversation is flowing and you’ve ordered another round of coffee, great! If not, and if you feel that initial spark just isn’t quite there, then an hour for the date is usually enough.
Coffee Dates: The Bottom Line
So that’s it. You’ve completed our Zoosk guide to a brilliant coffee date! Dating is about meeting like-minded people and making real, lasting connections. Coffee dates can be perfect for this, so it’s time to make that first move!