May 2

I paid $540 to Kopi Date. Are they the best dating agency in Singapore?


There’s a better dating agency in town.

And it’s not called Lunch Actually.

Screw them, actually.

Sign up for Lunch Actually and their business development representatives will message you over WhatsApp, call you multiple times, until you reply and tell them you’re not interested.

It’s horrid.

Don’t even try them.

You’ve been warned.

Someone recommended Kopi Date to me.

And having nothing to lose (okay I did have to pay $540), I went for it.

Hate texting? Try this.

Kopi Date has an interesting proposition. They style themselves as the anti-texting, anti-swiping app.

Kopi Date is probably a little different
Kopi Date is probably a little different

I hate texting.

And you probably do.

If you take a step back and look at the whole idea of texting your dates, you might think of it as pretty dumb.

Come on.

Do you really like telling your date your day?

Do you like writing essays over Telegram, or the dating app?

Especially when meeting is so much faster, and more efficient?

Then we must ask ourselves why we still do this.

One. Because our dates ask us to. Some dates tell you that they prefer to know someone over text before they commit to an in-person date.

You must be kidding me.

How much can you find out about someone from texting? And who’s to say he’s not just a weirdo that can text well?

Second – because we put up with it.

We think that as a result of the modern day context of text-driven relationships, we have to play to that game.

That’s why Kopi Date (kinda) works

If you look at their philosophy, it does work for people who don’t enjoy texting and find it a real drain.

Deep down, it probably does the same for you.

But you’ve put up with it because you think there’s no other option.

There is.

Hooray! No more texting stupidly on Whatsapp!
Hooray! No more texting stupidly on Whatsapp!

From the get-go, there is actually much more thought that goes into the experience than I first imagined.

They actually have a barrier to entry.

They say that not everyone is accepted into the community, and I think they do curate the community based on the initial responses you give.

Secondly, before you even spend a single cent (but you’ve already inputted your credit card details), they spend 30 minutes trying to understand

  1. Your previous experiences
  2. Who you are
  3. What you like
They actually take time to understand you, even before you’ve ever sent across a cent
They actually take time to understand you, even before you’ve ever sent across a cent

It makes you more open

What’s crucial for me is that this made me a little more open to meeting someone I would traditionally not meet.

We have our biases. Those biases would affect the way you choose.

And Kopi Date engineers the serendipity that can sometimes be missing from our usual adult, working lives.

If you look at the traditional dating app, people use two approaches.

  1. They swipe everyone so that they match with as many as possible (one person once told me that he’d swiped at least 500,000 women in Singapore across 4 different dating apps)
  2. They pick and choose based on looks (and later the responses).

After all, there’s genuinely little else you can pick from.

The date day is well-organised

kopi date review
Oh come on, they even give you a date day cheat sheet!

Frankly, I was scared.

And I’m normally worried about meeting new people.

Especially when my previous role as a social worker put me regularly in the face of angry, upset people who might scream at me.

But this blind date made me scared.

They did give me a heads-up 9 days in advance of date day.

The day before, there was a reminder email to tell me about the upcoming date.

And on date day, there was even a guide.

That told me not to talk about previous dates.

kopi date review
Oh just look at the effort they took to arrange the date.


I had complained about so many previous dates, so many times.

Is it too expensive?

If you compare to your free dating app, $45 per date, across 12 months, totalling $540 is a little crazy.

But if you think harder, $540 is really not a lot to pay for a partner.

I mean – well, if you put it that way, yes $540 is not a lot.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not objectifying or placing a dollar value on a wife, or partner.

But you get the idea. $540 is really not that much for (hopefully) lifelong happiness.

And if you compare the usual time you would spend on a dating app swiping, texting, and we average that out to 1 hour a day, is 30 hours a month worth more than $45?

I think so.

That’s why it is quite cheap (for me).

The hardest part?

It might just be the waiting. In a world of instant gratification, where you have “20 bagels!” screaming at you daily from your dating app, it might seem stupid to wait for a slow, curated date where they find a good match for you from the supply and demand of ladies, and men they have on bank.

At least I’d hope so.

It took 3 weeks for me to get the first date. And 6 weeks before I met the next one.

The waiting time made me go through all kinds of self-doubt, such as whether I was good enough.

But honestly, I appreciated the wait.

It does take the pressure off you needing to text, or swipe in order to find a date.

Or the times when you get rejected by yet another person you meet at an event, to ask for a number, only to get a ‘no’.

But we are unfortunately in an economy today where the real-world, spontaneous, connection you want just doesn’t happen that easily.

We live in a time where people expect that deliveries are one-day, where you can stream immediately what you want, and that the next show you pick, is unfortunately, the best yet that you get.

And this dating game, unfortunately is not that simple. It requires patience, and it requires little expectations of the other party, but the highest, ever, expectations of yourself.

That even when people reject you, you still believe, deep down, that you have something worth loving within you.



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    • Thanks for asking! I think it depends on what your ‘physical’ type is. No easy answers here but I think Kopi Date does try its best to have a list of varying ‘types’ – which I experienced over the past 5 I’ve gone for.

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