I’ve had a Huky 500 roaster for 3 months now, and I have logged approximately 20 roasts. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the roaster, but there are a few quirks that every potential buyer should know about. Here are my top 5 things that I would change about my Huky 500.
1.) Roasting full 1 pound batches is difficult
This is probably my biggest complaint so far. I bought the roaster intending to roast 1 lb (454 gram) batches, however I have been finding it difficult to complete a roast (without baking) in < 12 minutes with a full pound charge. If I charge the coffee at approximately 500 degrees, the roaster does a decent job, but I still don’t have much control. With full pound charges, I find myself at max gas pressure for most of the roast, hoping that I don’t have the dreaded ROR flick and hoping that the roast finishes in a decent timeframe. The sweet spot of the roaster seems to be about 350 grams, which is quite a bit less than a full pound. With a lower charge weight, however, the end results are amazing.
2.) Chaff collection could be managed better
Chaff is collected in the exhaust area, and cleaning the chaff can be a bit of a pain. It requires loosening a set screw holding the exhaust pipe, which in turn loosens the entire exhaust manifold system. It’s not THAT difficult, but it definitely could be made simpler. I find myself performing the cleaning every 3 to 5 roasts.
Additionally, I find that a lot of chaff ends up on the top of the stove under the roaster. On one occasion, I’ve had this chaff catch fire. It’s not a big deal since I roast outside, but for someone roasting indoors this could be a little concerning.
3.) The bean trier is difficult to use
The bean trier is SUPER cute (like a miniature version of a big trier!), but it’s not very effective. The trier holds about 5 grams of beans, and using it during a roast tends to waste the beans inside the trier, since they don’t roast at the same rate. I find myself using it only once during the roast (if at all) to avoid losing too much coffee.
4.) The gas control is very touchy
To avoid baked coffee, I find myself wanting to turn the gas down in controlled increments from 5 kPa to 1 kPa. While the control is good, it does tend to be a little difficult to hit the EXACT gas pressure that I am targeting, since the control knob is very finicky. I often will find myself dialing in a gas pressure for 10 or 20 seconds after I make a move to try and get as close to my target as possible. I don’t think that this has had an adverse affect, but a knob with a little more controllability would be nice.
5.) The roaster is not grounded, which leads to thermocouple noise
For most of my roasts, I fight thermcouple interference when the bean temperatures are between 250 degrees and 325 degrees. I think that this is related to when I make airflow adjustments, which tend to be in this bean temperature range. I’m fairly certain that this is due to the fact that the roaster and the thermocouples are ungrounded. This should be a fairly easy fix (running rounding wire from the roaster to a nearby ground), but I haven’t made the effort to tackle this project. This only seems to happen early in the roast, so I don’t think that this affects the latter part of the roast, where control is more critical, but it’s good to be aware of. For reference, I am using a Phidget to connect to my laptop, and using a router speed controller to make airflow adjustments.
Hope that this article helps potential Huky buyers! At some point in the near future I’ll write about the 5 things that I love about my Huky 500.