How to Hookah

Setup Your Hookah

Hookah Pipe Assembly

There are five primary parts to a hookah pipe:
1. The Base
2. The Pipe
3. The Tray
4. The Bowl
5. The Hose

The base of the hookah must first be filled with water. The water should be filled to a level so that when the pipe is inserted into the base the end of the stem sits about 3/4 of an inch to 1 and 1/4 of an inch below the water level. There must also be ample space between the top of the water and the top of the base to allow for enough airflow while smoking.

Ice may be added to the inside of the base to help chill the smoke as it passes through the water. Many shisha smokers use ice regularly in their hookah setups. Some hookah smokers even use milk or other beverages which add flavor or cause the draw to be smoother. Once the base is filled, place the included rubber gromit around the bottom of the pipe so that it may fit snugly into the base, then insert the pipe into the base. After the shisha pipe has been inserted into the base and the water level has been checked insert the hose into the pipe at the middle where there is an opening for the hose. Your shisha pipe may have come with a little rubber piece to place between the hose and the metal of the pipe itself. If your setup did not come with a rubber grommet you may wish to place a small piece of papertowl between the end of the hose and the pipe. This will help keep the seal more air tight.

Once this has been completed place the tray onto the top of the pipe it just sits there to catch ash and coals.

Your hookah is now setup and ready to test. Test the airflow of the hookah by inhaling through the hose. It should be relatively easy to inhale and bubbles should form in the base of the hookah as you breath in. If bubbles do not form then you need to add more water to your the base of your hookah.

Charcoal Preperation

After setting up the base and pipe, you are ready to warm up your coals. There are two main types of hookah charcoals. When choosing a hookah charcoal, two factors should be considered: ease of preparation and quality. The easiest one to prepare is an insta-light or easy-light coal. These can be warmed up using a lighter or torch. You should clamp the sides of the coal with your tongs and burn the coal from the bottom, allowing for the coal to ignite. Now, wait for the entire coal to light. You may blow on the coal to make this process faster. Another type of coal is the coconut or wooden charcoal. These coals take more effort to prepare for smoking, but are better in quality and will last longer than the insta-lights. To burn these coals, a coil burner or another burner capable of getting red-hot will be required. The coals should be left on until they are red hot. You may want to use the tongs to flip the coals once one side has been heated sufficiently.

Shisha Bowl Packing

The way you pack your bowl will directly influence the quality of your hookah-smoking experience. First select which tobacco flavors you want in your hookah. The tobacco leaves should be separated and placed in the bowl lightly. Be careful that you don’t pack the bowl too tightly or there will not be enough air flow and the tobacco will burn unevenly. The tobacco should reach the top of the bowl without going over. A good way to check if your bowl has the right amount of tobacco is to place a business card flat on top of the bowl. If the card is flat or is barely touching the tobacco then you have enough tobacco. Next, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the bowl and tighten it around the sides. Poke holes in the foil using a pointy object such as a toothpick, starting with the outer edges and moving towards the center in a spiral pattern at frequent intervals. Your bowl is now packed and you are ready to start your hookah.

Smoking Hookah

Starting a Hookah

To start your hookah experience, place your bowl on the top of your hookah if you haven’t already done so and use the tongs to place the coals on top of your bowl.

Hookah Coal Placement

When placing your coals on your bowl, realize that you want the tobacco to burn for a long time and burn evenly. To do that you should place the coals at the edges of your bowl. The type of bowl will determine how many coals you place. A large egyptian style bowl will require two or three coconut coals while a chinese bowl will only require one or two coals. IF you are using insta-light coals, make sure that the side with indentation is facing downwards. This will allow for better air flow as the sides of the coal are encircling the center of the bowl. Be sure to move the coals on the hookah periodically to ensure that the tobacco is not burning too unevenly.

Proper Drag Control

When starting your hookah, make sure to take steady inhalations to ensure that the tobacco has time to warm up. If you try to inhale too strongly, the tobacco will burn faster and it might be harsh. Make sure that when you exhale you are getting thick, ample smoke and that you can taste flavor.

Fun Things to Try

You can spice up your hookah experience with some neat tricks and accessories. See our next sections for some great ideas.

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