Hookahs are water pipes that are used to smoke specially made tobacco called Shisha. Shisha comes in different flavors, such as Cherry, Mint, Chocolate, Watermelon, and so much more! Hookahs work by passing charcoal-heated air through the tobacco mixture and ultimately through a water-filled chamber. Tobacco & Nicotine-FREE options are available.
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A hookah is a single- or multi-stemmed water pipe originating in India around the turn of the 17th century. It became extremely popular throughout the Middle East, where it is more often called shisha or narghile. Today, smoking with one of these devices is also popular in Europe, North America, and South Africa, particularly at Middle Eastern themed hookah bars.
The hookah was invented by physician Hakin Abul Fath in an attempt to lessen the ill effects of smoking tobacco. It consists of a water jar, often made of glass, connected by a tube or body to the bowl at the top. Shisha (flavored tobacco) is placed in the bowl and covered with burning charcoal. Smoke is drawn through a hose leading from the water jar. The hot air is drawn down through the shisha, and the resultant smoke is filtered through the water before the smoker inhales it.
The tobacco typically smoked in a hookah differs from that smoked in a traditional pipe. It is often sweetened with honey, molasses, fruit, and/or aromatic oils. There is a great variety of flavors, including blended flavors. They also come in different strengths of tobacco. Some blends are tobacco-free.
This has been a frequently asked question indeed. The answer, however, is more complex than you might think. Firstly – yes, hookah may get you feeling buzzed, but not high in terms of… high.
We always recommend having a drink to accompany your hookah session. Besides offering you a refreshing experience, having a drink is useful, too. Drinking is all about following the golden rule of staying hydrated. We’ve all probably discovered ourselves smoking hookah and suddenly or soon afterwards feeling dizzy (not in the the good way) and thus disrupted. Some of us may even feel kind of sick. That’s nothing to worry about – it’s just your body telling you that it can’t handle so much nicotine at once. The easiest way is to drink enough water and maybe even have a slight snack before starting your session.
If you follow this rule, but still feel dizzy, try herbal shisha without nicotine – this might be an useful alternative for you.
The hookah itself mainly consists of the hose (speaks for itself, doesn’t it), the water base or vase that is used to pass through the smoke and last but not least, the body or the hookah stem, which keeps the whole thing together.
Additionally, sometimes a windscreen is used that covers the bowl area. This is something that keeps the wind away and therefore keeps the burning process under control – otherwise it would simply burn really quickly.
- Check whether the hookah is all clean and tidy. Clean hookah is the fundament of a fresh tasting hookah session.
- Fill the bottle half full of cold water. The water should be 1/2 – 1 inch above the bottom stem.
- Screw on the stem & attach the hose
- Use the hookah tongs to pull pieces of shisha into the bowl
- Wrap the bowl with foil. The amount of layers depends on your hookah, coal and tobacco – launch some test sessions to find out the right proportion. Also make sure the foil is drum tight.
- Poke 30-50 holes in the foil. This helps you to ensure a good airflow or purchase pre-punched foil.
- Place the bowl on the bottle & ignite the coal. Quick light coals need less time to ignite, natural coals need more. A coal is fully lit when it has finished sparkling and is red hot all over. Make sure to fully light the charcoal before placing it on top of the bowl.
- Place the windscreen or the lid & enjoy the session. This is optional.
- Move the coal after every 5 minutes of smoking
But how does hookah work? It’s quite simple – no magic here! The shisha in the bowl is heated with the help of the coal. As the coal heats the shisha – separated with foil or with a thin metal sheet – and smoke is created. When you inhale, the smoke is pulled through the water bottle or vase cooling it before inhaled into the lungs.
Most hookah shishas contain nicotine. If you want to enjoy the hookah session but not worry about nicotine, there are plenty of nicotine-free options on the market. There are steam stones, steam gels herbal shisha, and Hemp or CBD shisha – just choose your favorite.
There’s no science in preparing your hookah the right way. Here are some simple tips to make your hookah taste fresh.
Use Ice & Cold Water
- The fundamental principle during hookah preparation is to use cold water. It’s inevitable that the water gets warmer in the bottle while smoking, so you wouldn’t want to use warm water – it only gets even warmer.
- To make your hookah taste fresh, add a few pieces of ice in your bottle. The ice melts slowly and keeps the water temperature under control.
- Although ice makes your hookah taste fresh, but decreases the taste of the tobacco.
Use Wet and Fresh Quality Shisha
- Make sure the shisha is kept in a dry place and away from direct sunlight.
- If you know there’s a long period ahead where you don’t plan to smoke, put the tobacco in a resealable bag to keep the air away.
- An essential tip of a tasty hookah is the shisha, so always go with the quality ones.
- If you happen to find an old pack of tobacco, try to make sure it was opened within the last two months. If not, we suggest buying a new one and not attempt any human experiments with the old one.
- When in doubt, mix the old tobacco with a fresh one to achieve new flavors and experience.
Don’t forget to Blow some Air Out
- Another simple trick to make your hookah taste fresh is to gently blow some air out from time to time.
- Blowing out, in the terms of smoking hookah, means that you simply blow into the hose so the air moves to the bottle. From there, the air travels through the purge valve and thus ventilates your hookah.
- Blowing out helps the “new” smoke replace the “old” one. Just be sure not to blow too hard, otherwise the water will move into the bowl.
Use the Appropriate Amount of Shisha
- “Less is more” should be the principle of prepping your hookah bowl – make sure you don’t exaggerate with the shisha.
- We suggest to use a phunnel bowl, to avoid shisha juice getting into the bottle or vase. It helps to last hookah taste fresh for a longer period of time. We suggest you not to pack the bowl above the holes on the center of the bowl and to leave space between the foil and the shisha. This also keeps the holes clean of burnt shisha.
Heat Management System
- Heat management helps the shisha to bake evenly, not burn uncontrollably.
- Heat management systems improve the session quality, but cannot save it in the balance between the tinfoil and charcoal is inappropriate. Also keep in mind that if you are using the heat management system, the balance between tinfoil and amount of coal changes.
- To get the best out of your shisha, move the coal every 5-7 minutes so that the shisha won’t burn. Also, to regulate the heat more effectively, break the coal into pieces. You will get the best smoke when using ¾ of a full round of coal at once.
- Note that different shisha, steam stones, and gels have different baking temperature, so heat management is definitely a thing to keep in mind. So there are many options. When using a new hookah, shisha or charcoal we recommend running some tests to find the perfect balance with your hookah.
If possible, use a Natural Coal for a fresh-tasting hookah
- Another tip for fresh-tasting hookah is to choose natural coal instead of instant coals. Did you know that hookah sessions with a natural coal rarely end with a headache?
- Hookah coals are divided into two categories – instant and natural coals.
- Choose the natural coal if you have time and you want to experience a fresh, all organic hookah.
- Choose the instant coal if you want to be portable and if time is money.
Use an Ice Hose Tip or a Freezable Hose
- The freezable hose is a hose just like any other – it’s washable and does roughly the same as your regular one. However, you can attach freezable extenders to it that provide a cool, smooth flowing smoke for the best hookah experience.
- The ice hose tip usually stays cool for an hour or more and makes the smoke cooler. Usually, they are universal, too, so you can use them with whatever hookah imaginable.
Take Care of your Hookah – the essential tip to make your hookah taste fresh
- Don’t forget to take care of your hookah. Be sure to clean it after every hookah session and even between sessions. Always wash the bowl, the stem and the bottle.
- If you don’t clean your hookah, burnt shisha and smoke will remain on different details. This, unfortunately, makes the hookah taste bad, not fresh.
- Don’t forget the hose, too – rinse warm water through the hose and leave it to hang somewhere. If you pack your hose after washing it, the water won’t run out and thus leaves an unpleasant smell.
Cleaning your hookah is easy as counting to three. You only have a few things to take care of – the hose, the bottle, the bowl, the hookah tongs, and stem. Doing it for the first time might seem complicated, but it’s really not!
How often should you clean your Hookah?
We recommend cleaning hookah right after using it. Every. Single. Time.
You might prefer to just wait until the morning to clean you hookah, please don’t. Take those three minutes and invest them in your next session. Your friends and your body will thank you for that. This is what hookah cleaning is all about.
How to clean your hookah? The hose, the tip, or mouthpiece
- Rinse some warm or hot (but not boiling) water through the hose after your hookah session for about 20 seconds. If you wish, you can put some soap or even dishwashing liquid into it, as long as you don’t forget to rinse it through very thoroughly.
- Blow into the hose to get rid of the excess water
- Keep in mind to leave the hose hanging so that the water left in the hose can drop out – otherwise the humidity will stay in the hose and influence your next session.
- Don’t forget to clean the hose tip even if you use mouthpieces!
The shisha bowl
- Clean the bowl after every session.
- First, remove most of the burnt shisha.
- Then, clean the bowl with some paper towels.
- Last, wash it thoroughly with hot water – use kitchen sponge to get rid of all the burnt shisha.
- Don’t put it directly in cold water – the material used for glaze might at some point brake.
Looking for some more pro tips? Here are four tips for you on the go!
- If you use paper to dry it, note that the paper doesn’t stick to the bowl. Otherwise it’ll start to burn during your next session and leave an unpleasant taste.
- Don’t burn your fingers – the bowl is hot after the session. Use the hookah tongs or towel to take the bowl off the bottle.
- Don’t use sharp objects when cleaning the bowl – you might damage it.
- Don’t forget the bowl grommet – remove it before before cleaning. You can wash it with the other stuff, but if you overlook it, you may lose it.
The bottle and the hookah stem
- All you need to do is rinse some warm or hot water through the bottle and the stem – both inside and outside. Yep, that’s all.
The hookah tongs
- Wipe away everything that’s left, the shisha or the ash.