Puffing Lily 1Lily 2

Just done the roast with ‘Puffing Lily’ aka The Hooky Monster. Glad it’s over with. I was very nervous because roasting with this beastie involves ‘real flames’. Also, fully manual control is not as comforting as my old HotProg (programmable version of the HotTop) where if things start to go tits up you can just press a switch and abort the program.

The Huky 500 is a beautiful beast, reminiscent of a collaboration between one of the old locomotive designers – George Stephenson, Isambard Kingdom Brunel – and Adolphe Sax, one of the 12 or so famous Belgians, maybe with a touch of Heath Robinson thrown in. It is robust and nicely engineered, mainly in stainless steel with an assortment of lovely wooden, maybe rosewood, handles. It has a bean trier device that actually works!

I roasted 300g, scaled up from the 250g of the HotProg, my most regular blend.

For the record it was:- 150g Nicaragua Finca La Fany Bourbon Washed + 100g Costa Rica Herbazu Honey Process + 50g Ethiopia Kebel Kercha Guji Natural. All supplied, as per usual by the excellent Steve at

Coffee was roasted to just short of 2nd crack. At the end everything happens very quickly – “Check the beans, hey, they’re okay; turn off the heat; remove the ‘saxophone’; empty the chaff; swing the bean dumper handle (remembering to hold the bean collector under the exit port); place collector over fan and switch fan on, if it isn’t already; turn off drum motor…” all in less time than it takes to say ‘Costa Rica Finca Nardo herbazu yellow washed honey process Villa Sarchi’ or similar!

Then, phew! chill. Take a sip of your favourite tipple.

Lovely even roast as the pic shows. The shot is a tad soft because it was a hand-held, no flash 1/20 at f2.8 and my hands were surely shaking!

Nice glass of rosé in the garden before I clear up, methought.




I WAS enjoying the rosé until the flash flood rain came in through the Yellow Room ceiling. If there’s one thing I hate it’s dilute rosé!

Yes, that first roast was a tad scary. With the old HotProg you slung the beans in at around 70-odd ºC and after around 17 mins a beep-beep announces the arrival of 212 ºC (a failsafe for those eejits who can’t be arsed to watch the display) whereupon you press a ‘Continue’ button. Shortly after which the roast finishes – 216 ºC-ish on most of the profiles I use. And the thermometer is fairly steady (makes me wonder how accurate it is) unlike the digital job on Puffing Lily’s bean mass probe which yaws constantly,up a tad, down a smidge, whoops, up again, needing constant tweaking. With the Huky you don’t bung the beans (300g) in until 240 ºC which had me worrying about what the combustion point of coffee is!

At the end of the roast things happen very quickly. You need to whip off the ‘saxophone’, empty the chaff from the collection tray and use the tray to collect the beans when you pull the ‘eject’ lever.


You might say its the difference between driving a DART train and the Flying Scotsman in days of steam locomotives. A completely different mind/skillset needed, not to mention constant attention. But absolutely no chance of dying of boredom.

Now, where did I put the tranquilizers….


Kudos and big thanks to Mr.Kuanho Li, designer and builder of the Huky 500, who replied to all my emails promptly and answered all my questions – even the daft ones! The roaster arrived from Taiwan in perfect condition in only 5 days.