This International Coffee Day, try these 5 steps to the perfect coffee date

Man and woman on a coffee date

Think about your ideal first date with someone you’ve met online. Are you picturing yourself getting to know them over coffee (and maybe a bit of brownie or a wedge of peppermint slice?). You’re not alone: in survey after survey,¹ our members have nominated the humble coffee date as the ideal pick for a first meeting.

In fact, in our recent Coffee Day survey of 500 New Zealanders, 83% said that the perfect first date involves getting coffee together.2 In other words, for 4/5 Kiwis, flirting over flat whites is the perfect way to start something special.

So, whether you’re planning a first date, a second date, or even a double date, in honour of International Coffee Day on the 1st of October, we’ve taken them at their word and determined the five steps that will make your next coffee date the crema the crop.

5 Steps to the perfect coffee date

1. Trust that the coffee date is indeed great

Sure, the coffee date may not be the most innovative date idea out there. But, for a first meeting (especially with someone you’ve connected with online), innovative is often the last thing you want. In fact, when you’ve got first date nerves to deal with, the cosy comfort of a cafe can be the perfect tonic. Perhaps that’s why 83% of the people in our Coffee Day survey (78% of men and 86% of women) picked coffee as their ideal first date.

Further insight: other date ideas didn’t even come close to coffee: just 10% of Kiwis would opt for a dinner date and only 7% would choose to meet for a drink.

2. Focus on what you’d like to drink

When you’re first seeing someone it can be tempting to agree on just about everything – after all, having things in common is a quick way to build a bond, right? Yet, when it comes to coffee, New Zealanders prefer that their dates know their own minds. Just 2% of men and 1% of women want to hear ‘’I’ll have whatever you’re having’’ while on a coffee date.

Further insight: That said, do think twice about ordering that triple-shot, toffee-and-white-chocolate soy matcha latte from the ‘secret menu’: 15% of Kiwis would be put off by someone whose drink order was too fussy

EliteSingles International Coffee Day infographic about the perfect coffee date

3. Flirt over a couple of flat whites

Of course, you may find yourself on a coffee date where you both do want the same drink and, chances are, that drink is a flat white. According to the survey, nearly one-in-three New Zealanders (32%) would go for a flat white on a date, meaning that the beloved Kiwi concoction is a more popular choice than a cappuccino (the drink of choice for 17%), a latte (16%), or a long black (10%).

Further insight: Flat whites are most popular in Tauranga, where 37% would opt for one on a date. They’re less loved in Wellington, with just 25% in favour. Wellingtonians do, however, win the black coffee prize: 19% like drinking long blacks on dates (nearly double the national %).

4. Choose a sweet treat on the side

In the 1930s, Gregory Ratzan first introduced the now-famous ‘Luncheon Technique.’ His theory is simple: people who are eating during a meeting are more amenable to any proposals that come their way than people who aren’t being fed.3 How does this apply to coffee dates? It means that you should go ahead and split that ginger slice with your date – you’ll both feel extra positive towards each other as a result!

Further insight: What should you order? For 44% of Kiwi singles the answer is something small and sweet like a slice of cake. Just 4% would want a full meal with their coffee, while 52% don’t want food at all – at least until they know that the date is going well!

5. Avoid chain cafes

So you’ve asked someone out online, and they’ve agreed to a coffee date. Now comes the hardest part: deciding where you’re going to go. We are lucky in NZ, with coffee shops to suit every taste, but sometimes that can make the deciding harder. One thing is for sure though – try and avoid suggesting a date in an identikit coffee chain: just 7% of New Zealanders think they make for a great date.

Further insight: For 44% of New Zealanders, the best type of cafe for a date is anywhere that is known for its delicious food. 24% would choose somewhere cosy with lots of sofas, while 22% would opt for any cafe that is proudly independent.

Where to go on a coffee date

With International Coffee Day right around the corner it’s the perfect time to plan your next coffee date. Know a fantastic Kiwi cafe that serves up the ideal blend of ambience and delicious coffee? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter (don’t forget the #internationalcoffeeday hashtag!)

Alternatively, if you’re in Auckland or Wellington, you can find our Coffee Date Maps below – they’re the ideal way to find your next favourite local. We’ve divided them into categories but be aware – nearly of them do delicious food as well as amazing coffee (so don’t be surprised if your coffee date wishes to linger for lunch!)

Auckland coffee date ideas:

Wellington coffee date ideas:

EliteSingles editorial September 2016

If you have any coffee date ideas that we should know about, let us know by emailing us at [email protected]


1 EliteSingles surveys where meeting for coffee has been chosen as the ideal first date include our First Date study (2013), our Dating Dealbreakers study (2016) and our Coffee Day study (2016)

2 These and all statistics in this article from the EliteSingles Coffee Day study, 2016. Sample size: 500 New Zealanders surveyed by EliteSingles.

3 Dr. Marshall Soules, 2007. Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion. Found at

About the author: Sophie Watson

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