Berlin: 3 Hotspots Where Locals Get Their Coffee

Caffeine-crazed Berliners are sidestepping Starbucks for a return to their gourmet, filtered-coffee past.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

In Berlin, as across the rest of the coffee world, one-shot espresso bars and the Starbucksian hordes peddling caramel macchiatos and low-fat lattes still rule. But the art of the slow brew -- filtered coffee taken without milk or sugar -- is starting a caffeinated revolution in the German capital. At a new crop of brew bars across the city -- The Barn in Mitte, Chapter One in Kreuzberg and CK Cafe in Prenzlauer Berg -- Berlin's media and hipster cliques are sipping full-bodied java percolated over ice, squished through an AeroPress or siphoned up in a vacuum chamber and heated with halogen lamps for $2.50 to $3.50 a cup.

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"It's all about the taste," says Nora Smahelova, co-founder of Chapter One, on the advantages of the slow-brewed filtered cup over the Italian-style espresso. "Espresso is so concentrated and strong, you don't get the subtle aromas. A slow-brewed coffee is like fine wine."