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Seattle Cafes Turn to Instagram Coffee Classes and Virtual Brunches During Stay-at-Home Order

Watson’s Counter and Hood Famous are among the daytime destinations trying to connect with diners online

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A latte in a paper cup on a counter, with a Watson’s Counter logo and a green plant in the background
Watson’s Counter is hosting a coffee brewing class on Instagram Friday.
Watson’s Counter/Instagram

For most of the past year, Korean brunch specialist Watson’s Counter in Ballard was packed with people waiting to dig into Instagrammable French toast coated with cereal and eggs Benedict with gochujang marinated pork belly. Now, as Washington’s stay-at-home order continues, and dining rooms remain closed for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19 measures, owner James Lim has found a different way to connect with diners: offering coffee brewing tips on Instagram live.

“It’ll just include some basic coffee theory on how to brew a decent cup and find the flavors you’re looking for,” Lim tells Eater Seattle of the online class, which will launch this Friday at 3 p.m. via the restaurant’s official Instagram page. “It’ll be light-hearted and fun. Sort of a coffee TED talk.”

As Watson’s Counter remains open for takeout with limited items, Lim — who originally opened the spot as more of a coffee-focused cafe — hopes this might be a way to generate some of the laid-back, personal energy that the restaurant had in the past. He’s selling bags of Anchorhead Coffee for pickup so that people can brew along with him.

Watson’s Counter joins a few places trying out online coffee tutorials. Local mini chain Fuel Coffee is closed temporarily, but recently offered a quick Instagram video showing viewers how to create latte art. Meanwhile, the North Carolina-based Counter Culture — which supplies roasts to many Seattle cafes — has been airing brewing instructional videos on Instagram Live with different single origin blends.

There have been some efforts to make virtual brunches a thing as well. The owners of Hood Famous Cafe and Bar — which is closed temporarily — recently showed up for a live-streaming chat on YouTube and Twitch, hosted by Grammy-nominated singer Hollis Wong-Wear, where they discussed raising funds for their employees.

And Seattle chain Blazing Bagels is planning to host a virtual event on Facebook Live April 19 with its lox supplier Gerard & Dominique Seafoods of Anacortes, Washington and Uli’s Famous Sausage. It’s being billed as the “World’s Biggest Brunch.”

Watson's Counter

6420 24th Avenue Northwest, , WA 98107 (206) 420-1688 Visit Website

Hood Famous Cafe and Bar

504 5th Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98104 Visit Website