How Does Coffee Meets Bagel Work: A Beginner’s Guide

A woman on her phone trying to figure out how Coffee Meets Bagel works.

If you’ve done the online dating rounds, chances are you’ve heard of Coffee Meets Bagel. The app aims to set daters up in long-term relationships embracing a quality over quantity approach to a dating app.

Each day at noon, you’re shown a limited number of single people, called bagels, that the app has determined might be a good fit based on your profile criteria and your Facebook data. If two bagels like each other, then it’s a match and you can start chatting.

There are a few finer points that add a bit of a fun factor (or confusion depending on who you ask), but that’s the main gist of how Coffee Meets bagel works. Interested in joining the millions of bagels across the world? This guide will prep you up for your long-term breakfast engagement:

Step 1: Set up your account
Like many dating apps, Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) is mobile only, so go ahead and download the app. To create a new account, you’ll have to link your Facebook account. The app finds your suggested bagels through a combination of profile criteria and Facebook information so, unfortunately, you don’t have the choice of opting out here.

Once you link your Facebook, you’ll need to enable the app to access your location. Don’t worry—this is just how the app connects you to other singles in your area. After that, just answer the small handful of questions about you (just educational background, height, stuff like that) and you’ll be on your way.

Step 2: Customize your profile
Congrats, you’re done! Just kidding. You still have a little ways to go. The next step is to pick your photos. CMB is generous in letting daters select up to nine photos, but the app also suggests that as long as you have at least six photos you’ll be fine.

A lot of people struggle with picking photos, so here are a few tips to help you select the photos to get your profile looking right. The first profile photo is the most important, so make sure you select one that clearly shows off a genuine smile and has good lighting. The rest should help your bagels get to know you. Try for photos that can show off your hobbies, interests, or sense of humor. Remember the goal is to show your face and break the ice. Bonus tip: A photo with a pet is almost guaranteed to net you a couple matches.

In addition to the photos, there are three bio prompts you’ll want to fill out that begin “I am…”, “I like…”, and “I appreciate when my date…” These are intended to be short responses (less than 150 characters each) that will give your bagels an idea of how you communicate, so don’t skimp on them. Use this opportunity to share what you do for fun, name your favorite book, or give bagels an idea of what you’re looking for. After the prompts, you’ll want to fill out the three icebreakers. Think about these like the quirky fun facts you’d share on the first nights of sleepaway camp. They’ll also help people message you and start conversations, so they should be things you enjoy talking about. 

Step 3: Send those likes.
So this is where things get fun (or a little complicated). Each day at noon, you’ll be presented with a limited number of bagels that you can like or pass on. Simple enough. If you both like each other, you can chat. If not, you move on. After 24 hours, the bagels in your suggestions list disappear never to be seen (by you) again.

OK, so what if you don’t like any of the bagels you were given at noon? Well, you can wait till tomorrow to receive a new batch of bagels or you can dig into a long list of locals in the discover tab. This is where coffee beans, the in-app currency, come in.

If you’re a girl, you can take as many extra bagels as you like at no cost. If you’re a guy, each bagel you take from the discovery tab costs a whopping 380 beans. For reference, new users start out with about 1400 beans. If you see a bagel, that you absolutely must get noticed by you can also send them flowers when you like them to bump yourself up that bagel’s viewing queue for 180 beans.

You’ll earn a small amount of coffee beans daily for liking and passing on bagels, but if you’re a guy who discovers bagels often you’ll be in the red pretty quick. There are a few other ways to earn small amounts of beans, but by and large you’ll need to purchase them if you want to accrue a useful amount.

Step 4: Talk to your bagels.
Once the matches start rolling in, start chatting with your bagels. Jokes, compliments, or mutual interests are always a good way to crack open a conversation. If the the conversation gets into a good flow, don’t hesitate to ask your bagel of choice on a date. Getting out to meet is the best way to find make a genuine connection—whatever that means to you.

Step 5: Beans and Cheese and Forking It Over
So you have the basics of Coffee Meets Bagel figured out. The last thing to do is see if you’re going to want to spend money. Remember those beans? Most of them will go towards taking bagels in the discovery queue. As mentioned before, if you’re a woman, taking bagels from the discovery queue is free, so you’ll hardly go through your beans except occasionally to send flowers or revive an old expired conversation. If you’re a guy, you may find yourself spending through your beans on a regular basis and purchasing beans may be a viable option to increase your matches. Beans come in bundles of 100 for $1.99, 2000 for $23.99, or 3000 for $24.99.

Bagelers can also opt for the premium subscription, which offers a variety of features from read receipts to increased beans on bundle purchases, and activity reports on your bagels. Subscriptions begin at $35 for one month, $20 per month for six months, or $15 per month for a year.

Despite the sometimes clunky interface, Coffee Meets Bagel is a fun app and a great place to find singles looking for long-term and meaningful relationships. If you’re looking for love online, grind the beans and butter your bagel. Breakfast is served.

Alex Bocknek

Alex Bocknek is the senior editor of The Date Mix and works at Zoosk, the online dating service. He’s also a recovering music critic and an aspiring fiction writer (probably lost) on the way to an independent bookstore near you. He can be found occasionally musing about politics, philosophy, and love in the modern world.

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