Coffee Glossary : P

Are you not familiar with a term used in one of our articles or reviews? Our Coffee Glossary defines hundreds of common and not-so-common words in the coffee lexicon. Click any letter below to view a list of coffee terms and definitions beginning with that letter.

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  • Parchment Coffee, In Parchment, En Pergamino.  Describes wet-processed coffee shipped with the dried parchment skin still adhering to the bean. The parchment is removed prior to roasting, a step called milling.

    Parchment, Pergamino.  A final thin, crumbly skin covering wet-processed coffee beans after the coffee berries have been skinned, the pulp removed, and the beans dried.

    Pare, Mbeya.  Market names for coffee from the south of Tanzania.

    Patio Drying.  Drying coffee directly after picking (in the dry-processed method) or after fruit removal (in the wet-processed method) by exposing it to the heat of the sun by spreading and raking it in thin layers on open patios. A more traditional alternative to machine drying.

    Peaberry, Caracol.  A small, round bean formed when only one seed, rather than the usual two, develops at the heart of the coffee fruit. Peaberry beans are often separated from normal beans and sold as a distinct grade of a given coffee. Typically, but not always, they produce a brighter, more acidy, but lighter-bodied cup than normal beans from the same crop.

    Percolation.  Technically, any method of coffee brewing in which hot water percolates, or filters down through, a bed of ground coffee. The pumping percolator utilizes the power of boiling water to force water up a tube and over a bed of ground coffee.

    Pergamino, Parchment.  A final thin, crumbly skin covering wet-processed coffee beans after the coffee berries have been skinned, the pulp removed, and the beans dried.

    Peru.  The best Peru coffee is flavorful, aromatic, gentle, and mildly acidy. Chanchamayo from south-central Peru, and Urubamba, from a growing district farther south near Machu Picchu, are the best-known market names.

    Piston Machine.  An espresso machine that uses a piston operated by a lever to force brewing water at high pressure through the compacted bed of ground coffee.

    Plunger Pot, French Press.  Brewing method that separates spent grounds from brewed coffee by pressing them to the bottom of the brewing receptacle with a mesh plunger.

    Polishing.  An optional procedure at the end of coffee processing and milling in which the dried, shipment-ready beans are subjected to polishing by friction to remove the innermost, or silverskin, and improve their appearance. Polishing does nothing to help flavor and may even hurt it by heating the beans, hence most specialty coffee buyers do not encourage the practice.

    Portafilter, Filter Holder.  In espresso brewing , a metal object with plastic handle that holds the coffee filter, and clamps onto the group.

    Primo Lavado, Prime Washed.  A grade of Mexico coffee that includes most of the fine coffees of that country.

    Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Yauco.  Yauco coffees from Puerto Rico are a revived specialty origin that, at best, display the qualities that made Jamaica Blue Mountain famous: A deep, vibrant, yet restrained acidity and balanced, gently rich flavor. However, this potentially finest of Caribbean coffees is often marred by inconsistency.

    Pulping.  Process of removing the outermost skin of the coffee cherry or fruit. See Wet-Processed Coffee.

    Pump Machine.  An espresso machine that uses a pump to force brewing water at high pressure through the compacted bed of ground coffee.

    Pyrolysis.  The chemical breakdown, during roasting, of fats and carbohydrates into the delicate oils that provide the aroma and most of the flavor of coffee.

    Adapted from Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing & Enjoying; Espresso: Ultimate Coffee; and Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival. St. Martin's Press.

    Copyright © 1996, 2001 by Kenneth Davids. All Rights Reserved.