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Hidden Treasure


Sunday, March 17th 2002, 1:71AM

Regulars at McNulty's Tea & Coffee can record their favorite blend (did I prefer one-quarter French or Italian roast?) in a card file so they need not reinvent the recipe every time they visit.

"All you have to do is remember your name," says David Wong, the seventh owner of the shop, which has been in business since 1895. Wong has been behind the counter at the homey Christopher St. outpost for the last 22 years.

With its eye-opening aroma, tin ceilings and giant sacks full of coffee beans stacked in the corner, McNulty's has a truly old-fashioned feel. Huge jars of exotic and rare teas - more than 100 types - fill the store, alongside a long list of about 75 coffees from around the world.

Among the favorite coffees are Sumatra Mandheling, a full-bodied variety from Indonesia, Celebes Kalossi and Puerto Rican blends, as well as flavored versions like Southern pecan, toasted praline, and hazelnut. Prices range from $9.20 per pound up to $30 for the rare Jamaican Blue Mountain.

The teas range from the flavored (apricot, mango) to the fancy, like rare, hand-rolled downy pearls or white flowery pekoe.

McNulty's also carries favorite brands of packaged coffees and teas you won't find in the grocery store, like Fortnum & Mason, Grace Rare teas and Kusmi teas, Russian blends from Paris. They also sell cast-iron tea kettles and do extensive mail orders.

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