Real Girl Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘old-fashioned

An old New York gem and the best smelling place in the city.

Visiting McNulty’s is a treat even for those who don’t drink tea or coffee–so just imagine what kind of pilgrimage awaits for serious connoisseurs of a fine hot beverage.

Conveniently just steps from the Christopher Street subway station, McNulty’s still remains a century behind its neighbors. What you notice first is the aroma: Freshly ground coffee of every kind mingling together to create a coffee scent’s Platonic ideal. And the grinding is always as fresh as can be, right there in front of you, measured out on the kind of old-fashioned scales you imagine McNulty’s has used for ages.

I discovered McNulty’s years ago while looking for a gift to give the woman who has everything. Considering her love for tea, I figured I’d head to Chinatown and find some exotic blend she’d never had before. But then I happened by this charming looking gingerbread house of a tea and coffee shop, and I knew I’d found my tea-lover’s gift. I’m sure the boxes and tins of teas that line the wooden shelves are all worthwhile, but the big glass jars at the heart of the store are irresistible. From black teas to green and white teas to the most colorful, potion-esque flavored teas, McNulty’s selection will be like none you’ve ever seen before. One can easily imagine this shop along Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, indiscriminately hanging out between the cauldron and the wand shop. My gift’s recipient was delighted with her simple brown paper bag filled with colorful, leafy tea seemingly straight out of 1895, when the store first opened its doors.

The experienced staff will advise you on your coffee needs should you seek their advice. Ask for a dark blend, a medium or light one, perhaps by region. The selection is endless, even including organic and flavored decaffeinated. I never stray far from my favorite (caffeinated) flavored option, coconut. McNulty’s coconut coffee is by far the best I’ve ever tasted. As soon as they pour the beans onto that big metal scale you can see why–actual shreds of toasted coconut intertwine throughout the beans, just waiting to be ground together into a silky, aromatic blend. Make sure to inhale. The fragrance ¬†absolutely intoxicates.

The store itself manages to stay remarkably true to its turn-of-the-last-century origins without feeling overly quaint or fey. This is no Disney recreation of 1895. Instead, the atmosphere conjures a time when products were sold free of marketing or media or (self-conscious wink) blog recommendations. Of course that would be an illusion–advertising and marketing go back as far as merchants have been selling–but rather than conjuring a touristy version of charm, McNulty’s instead feels like it’s giving you the essence of coffee and tea. In a city sometimes skimming dangerously along the surface, here you find a bastion of authenticity.

I admit I have a coffee addiction. But oh–oh, McNulty’s sure turns what may be a vice into an emporium of delight.

I would love New York less without it.

August 2020


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