How to Have a Coffee Date Like A Dating Pro (Expert Guide)

A couple on a successful coffee date

Are you going to take a girl out on a coffee date? As a great choice for taking out a girl you’re interested in, coffee shops offer a lively atmosphere that’s the perfect setting to get to know a new person. With tasty drinks, great people-watching opportunities, and a fun setting, a coffee shop date is a great way to meet a new date or for a girl you’ve been seeing.

That being said, there can be some downsides. So, is coffee a good first date idea? What about the downsides of taking out someone you’ve known for a while for a cup of joe? 

In this article, we’ll take a look at whether coffee is a good first date idea, how to have the perfect first date, and which coffee date tips you need to know to guarantee success. Let’s begin!

Is Coffee a Good First Date Idea?

A coffee date is exactly as it sounds: You’re on a date and you start at a coffee shop. Whether you choose to part ways or move to another location, a coffee date certainly has some pros and cons that other kinds of dates - like a dinner date - don’t have. 

Pro: Less rowdy atmosphere

Most coffee shops don’t offer alcohol, which makes it a lot easier to deal with clear-minded people around you. Bars tend to have a competitive and hostile environment when it gets close to closing time, whereas a coffee date is part of the day and functions as a way to relax during the day.

Aside from this, research suggests that coffee shops provide a low-pressure environment compared to bars when it comes to sexual expectations. That is women feel less pressure to sleep with a guy if he takes her to a coffee shop.

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Con: It can be loud

With the clanging of espresso machines, orders from customers, and a blasting soundtrack, communication isn’t always easy at a coffee shop. For example, Starbucks is notorious for operating as a high-volume restaurant, where it could be difficult to focus on a conversation amid the constant string of customers and distracting music.

Pro: Cheaper than a restaurant

Not looking to lose too much money on a date? Then a coffee shop is the right choice. With a variety of drink and food options, you can pay for two people for usually less than $15. Also consider that research suggests that men are generally expected to pay for the first date. So if you’re not making a ton of money or you’re not willing to spend a lot on a first date, coffee shops are the way to go.

Con: It’s hard to find privacy in a coffee shop

Coffee shops often have a maximum number of tables for patrons to use. This can be great for small talk on a date, but when it comes time to reveal more personal details, you may not exactly want to share that with the person you’re rubbing elbows with next to you.

Bear in mind that you can become a subject of gossip:

On a personal note, I used to take all of my dates to a particular coffee shop. It was inexpensive and served excellent coffee at a downtown location.

After a couple of dates, the baristas started to take notice and let it slip to one of my dates about how often I come in with attractive women. While the barista probably meant this in a benign way, my date didn’t appreciate it. Who knows what they were saying behind my back?

Pro: Great for bookish women

A woman reading a book in a coffee shop

Just like libraries, coffee shops are a step up from bars in terms of class. If you love smarter women, they’ll appreciate the calmer atmosphere that comes with a coffee date. And if the coffee shop has lots of art, this can be really good conversational fodder if you’re just getting to know someone.

Pro: Good option in the daytime

A coffee date is perfect for morning and afternoon dates. Getting a boost of energy with a drink and engaging with your date helps you make a great first impression. And from a woman’s perspective, she will feel more comfortable meeting a man in public than at a more secluded space, like a park.

Con: Poor option in the nighttime

Most coffee dates revolve around grabbing some caffeine and chatting. Unfortunately, most rational people realize that drinking coffee past 7 p.m. is usually a recipe for restless nights. 

Your date might get cranky when the jitters start to set in, which can leave a poor impression on you just for simple biological facts. For this reason, you’ll want to avoid a coffee shop unless they’re known for delicacies and other treats.

Pro/Con: No fancy attire

If you want to meet in comfortable clothing, a coffee date lets you dress down. This takes off the pressure to impress each other with clothing (which could be a negative if you expect her to look her best).

Though keep in mind that when women are all dressed up, they tend to be much more assertive and forward. So if you're not as assertive yourself and you want her to take the lead, keep this in mind.

How to Have the Perfect First Coffee Date

Even if you know all the benefits of having your first date at a coffee shop, you’ll still need to step up and actually attract her. After all, even if you pick the best coffee shop in the city, that’s not nearly enough to impress your date.

Choose the daytime

Part of the logistics of a coffee date is to understand when coffee shops operate. 

Very few coffee shops operate past the hours of 6 or 7 p.m. Therefore, the answer is obvious – most people don’t drink coffee at night, as it will interrupt their sleep pattern. Of course, there are non caffeinated drinks to choose from, but stick with a date in the middle of the day. 

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Avoid the busy times

A busy coffee shop can make the date go awry. Talking over one another or being distracted by patrons is never a good recipe for a date. 

Coffee shops are typically busy during the morning and lunch rushes, and especially on the weekends. Also, any local events affect the overall atmosphere (e.g. sports, concerts, conventions, etc.), so you should schedule your date around these times. 

Pick the right coffee shop

Choosing the right coffee shop may take some reconnaissance beforehand. You should want to find a coffee shop that has the right clientele and friendly atmosphere. Starbucks is usually a neutral choice, as some people enjoy the consistency of their drinks and the atmosphere; however, an artsy date might not like the “mainstream” appeal of Starbucks

Befriend the staff beforehand

Baristas working

Also, be sure to make friends with the barista beforehand, as they can increase your social proof when it comes time for your date. A healthy rapport, especially with attractive female baristas, can spur on your date to view you more favorably and give her feedback on how other people see you.  

If you’re a regular, do your best to memorize the names of the employees and - very important - tip regularly. For just an additional dollar per order, you can gain the favor of the staff and may even get freebies that will impress your date. 

Logistics

Setting up a coffee shop date is relatively simple. All you need are the logistics. Simply set a time and a location. 

Depending on how long you want to spend with your date, you can use the coffee shop as a pit stop or the main destination. If it is a pit stop, you can ask your date if she wants to go to another venue (e.g. restaurant, bar, live music show, park, museum, etc.) or conceal it from her to add some excitement to the date.  

Frame the coffee shop in the way it emphasizes its positives. For example, the coffee shop may have some excellent pastries to choose from, or it may be located in the hip part of town that’s perfect for people-watching.

Understand the purpose of the coffee date

If you understand the purpose of the coffee date, you’ll have better success. 

Basically, a coffee date is one of the most neutral ways for a man to meet a woman. Because it’s a public place, she doesn’t have to feel threatened or intimidated as she would in other meetup spots (like a secluded park, a dive bar, an unfamiliar restaurant). 

Women have to deal with plenty of risks and dangers in their dating life, so choosing a safe choice will win you points when she decides to meet with you in the future. 

General Coffee Date Tips

First dates and regular dates involving coffee have a lot in common. Let’s take a look at some other great tips to keep in mind during the date even if it's not your first date. You can include tips about inviting her over to your place, moving to a different venue, and so forth. 

Buy her drink

Buy her a drink she likes

By buying a woman a drink on a coffee date, you’re setting the tone for the rest of the relationship. While you may want to be egalitarian about it, it’s more socially acceptable for a man to purchase a woman’s coffee.

An added advantage of this is that you can purchase a more expensive coffee than she’s used to, which can paint you in a better light and give her a new experience. And as mentioned in the previous section, don’t be afraid to tip the barista to show off your generous side. 

Use the bathroom beforehand

Caffeine has a diuretic effect, meaning that you and your date may need to use the bathroom sometime during the conversation. To avoid this, use the bathroom before she shows up and take small sips to avoid having to run to the bathroom. While there’s nothing wrong with going to the bathroom per se, it can interrupt the flow of conversation.

Have an exit strategy

A coffee date is a good idea if you want to make it more about coffee and conversation. You will want to have a number of exit strategies depending on whether the date goes well or not.

If the date goes well, you should want to either go back to your place, her place, go for a walk, or find another venue. For first dates, however, you may want to limit the date to just the coffee shop and then make plans to see each other again. This can help you give her just enough of a first impression to want to see more of you on the next date. 

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Be aware of the caffeine crash and sugar slump

Caffeine drinks are renowned for their ability to give us an extra boost of energy, but there is certainly a caffeine crash that occurs once it wears off. Avoid drinks with lots of caffeine, or you can choose a green tea or herbal tea, which have significantly lower levels of caffeine. In the case of green tea, it has a smoother effect due to l-theanine and other compounds that eliminates the jitters.

Combined with caffeine, a sugar slump also works against you. When your blood sugar spikes and then drops, it’s not uncommon to feel groggy, listless, bored - all things work against keeping the vibes good on your date. 

Play a board game

One of the advantages of going to a coffee shop is that they usually have a selection of board games to play. While there is a competitive element to board games, showing off your intellect and strategy can be a turn-on for most women, as well as introducing a playful competitive aspect to the relationship.

Brush your teeth afterward

No one likes coffee breath or finds coffee-stained teeth attractive. If you can, bring a small kit to brush your teeth and clean your breath. The sulfur compounds from coffee, the tannins from tea, and the dairy can make you virtually unkissable. To avoid this, bring a small collapsible toothbrush to freshen up when it’s time to hit the road.

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