January 16

The Kopi Date nightmare: 2024 Reviews from real people

1  comments

Is Kopi Date worth the price?

kopi date pricing
This is the Kopi Date pricing that I calculated
You pay $50 per date, or less if you buy a package.
You pay $50 per date, or less if you buy a package.

In the last 2 reviews, I’ve been generally positive about the Kopi Date experience.

But as it’s proceeded further along, it’s grown into quite a farce.

The basic economics of finding love

I had a recent conversation with the founder of Table For Two, another blind dating agency. You can read that review here.

But what she said was thought provoking.

We don’t do packages.

We only get paid after both sides agree to the date.

That day, there’s no incentive to just ‘put you out there’.

Kopi Date is different. They take your money up front. That’s a dangerous position to put yourself, the customer in. Because now, your happiness is entirely in their hands.

They can match you with anyone they see fit, based on what they say is their curated dating process.

What this ‘curation’ optimises for, no one knows.

But I was personally curious about what actually made dates work out.

So I went on a personal journey to find out.

I spoke to Andrew Chow, who previously owned a dating agency, but eventually gave it up when he saw that the online dating apps were about to destroy his industry.

Andrew’s advice is clear.

You’re dating because you don’t know what you really want.

You’re living with the illusion of choice.

But what really matters is chemistry.

At the end of the day (or date), if you don’t have chemistry, you will fall back on that oft-given excuse. Criteria.

It’s not criteria.

It’s just that you haven’t found chemistry yet.

I try to push Andrew to give me a better answer than chemistry.

Because in my mind, chemistry can’t be made. You can only find it, or not. There’s no way to push it once it’s gone.

But could you actually spark the initial chemistry?

How to know you have chemistry
How to know you have chemistry

Kopi Date doesn’t optimise for chemistry

I think you can.

But Kopi Date doesn’t. Their role is only to arrange the first date.

The second date is none of their business. Which does explain why only one of seven dates I met went onto the second.

One blind date arranged by them had no common ground with me.

I exercised. She didn’t.

I traveled, she didn’t.

I ran a business, whilst she complained about the salary she was getting at the bank.

You can imagine how long drawn the conversation felt.

You might say,

Oh John, that’s only one.

And yes, we can’t expect them to get every date right.

But 3 of 7 dates had little to no conversational ability.

Imagine a conversation like playing table tennis. You ask a question, the person answers, and asks another question.

Dating conversations should be two way, not one way like a presentation.
Dating conversations should be two way, not one way like a presentation.

That’s an important bit.

Being able to return a question to continue the conversation.

For too many dates, it felt like I was playing conversational pingpong, alone.

I was asking questions, and getting their answers, and not even a,

“What about you, what’s it like for you?”

I guess that’s why they introduced the experience kit, to guide those conversations.

But you then need to ask,

if you need a conversational guide to spark the conversation,

then what’s going to happen in future dates with no conversation guides?

Okay, you might argue:

but maybe it’s the date’s problem that they have such poor conversation ability, and not Kopi Date’s?

Sure, but you would expect them to match better based on mutual interests.

Below, you can see just what happened with the 7 dates I’ve been on. Out of the 7, only one progressed to the second, before she ghosted me.

Date number Job Other interests Why we could not connect
Date 1 Speech therapist Church Conversation was one way
Date 2 Project Manager Traveling Conversation was one way
Date 3 Data analyst Spin classes Conversation was one way
Date 4 HR   Conversation was one way
Date 5 Student, previously a project executive Served actively in church Progressed to second date before she ghosted
Date 6 Marketing executive Marketing, SEO, ChatGPT Conversation was one way
Date 7 Public Relations Executive Served in church I asked to keep in touch, but she eventually stopped replying

The quality of dates

If you read what Kopi Date says they are looking for, there are immediate problems.

I will let John Gottman, the marriage expert say it in his own words.

If you lower your expectations, the argument goes, then you won’t be disappointed by your partner.

Is this advice really helpful? Dr. Donald Baucom, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, studied marital expectations for a decade.

He found that people get what they expect. People with low expectations tend to be in relationships where they are treated poorly, and people with higher expectations tend to be in relationships where they are treated well.

Imagine going into a date with no expectations. You would have no idea what you’re looking out for, and you’re readying yourself for absolute disappointment.

You end up settling for what you can get, rather than what you really want.

Expectations are good and healthy.

They give us something to look forward to.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when you should lower those expectations of what your date should be. For example, you may quickly realise that the physical attractiveness of your partner may be something you need to lower your standards on.

But on other character qualities that you look out for, having no expectations is an absolute recipe for disaster.

Maybe your expectations are too high?

I’ve gotten this before.

Friends have told me that my expectations might be too high. After all, it might seem like expecting:

  1. Intellectually stimulating conversations
  2. People who have interests beyond work and home
  3. People who are curious about the world outside of Singapore;

might be a little too much.

When I asked dates how they spent their free time, 3 of 7 said the same thing. I was actually quite surprised.

I’m quite a homely person.

I just Netflix and chill.

It was either Netflix or dramas.

Nothing against that, but I couldn’t imagine a life where I would be Netflix and chilling with her.

A community of adventurers… not really.

Kopi Date is great at their marketing.

And below, you can see what they wrote about who this is for.

Kopi Date is for the curious, the bold, the different.

You who are ready to get out in the world, and in the process, learn more about yourself.

Sure, I learnt more about what I did not want in dates, rather than what I wanted.

But as you can see from my experiences, the dates I met were mostly homely ladies who might not have experienced luck with dating apps.

If you ask yourself a logical question,

Why should a lady pay for a blind date when on dating apps, the supply of ladies is low, driving up demand for ladies ‘on the market’?

You might quickly come to a logical conclusion.

They are not getting good matches on the apps.

If you ask why, I will let your mind answer that question.

The dates may not be their most authentic self

So, what do you define as ‘authentic’?

I would say that they are honest and true to what they say.

I told 3 dates that I enjoyed the conversation and would like to continue speaking with them. In all 3 cases, they agreed to exchange contacts.

And on all three occasions, they stopped replying altogether.

I get that it’s hard to say no to someone in front of you asking to keep in touch.

But even something as simple as a text such as,

John, you’re a great person, but I’d prefer to close it at this point.

All the best!

Why you should not use Kopi Date

At the end of the day, you use a dating agency because you want to get a good date and a good experience.

Kopi Date offers little of that. Dates arranged by them have been a nightmare for me. Imagine yourself going to a rendezvous point, knowing nothing but the person’s initials, and asking random people,

hey, are you J from Kopi Date?

It can get awkward.

Dating can sometimes feel like a nightmare in addition to work.

Don’t discount physical attraction

Or waiting expectantly for a date, seeing her walk in and doing a mental facepalm, because she’s just not physically not your type.

I used to think that I wouldn’t be as superficial as to care about looks.

Until I met all the blind dates arranged, and I realised that it did matter.

For the men especially, who tend to more ‘visual’ with what they look out for.

You would like to meet someone who appearance you feel attracted to.

No refunds, no refunds

And what’s worse is that you’re stuck with them for 12 dates. I tried begging them and telling them how traumatised I was.

They told me that I could have a ‘Barchat’ with them – whatever that means – I assume it meant ‘personalised growth advice’, but I had enough of them.

I insisted on the refund and they politely sent me their refunds policy (which was no refunds allowed).

That’s why you should take the 3 date package before committing for more.

It’s why they should probably stay marketers, rather than matchmakers. Because it is people’s happiness they are dealing with.

They have done a pretty bad job with my dating experiences.

Don’t let them do the same with your life happiness.

 


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