Set up your hookah properly...
Partly fill the base with (preferably cold) water, then assemble the hookah. The bottom of the pipe should be about an inch below the surface of the water. Ensure that all the joints are as airtight as possible. There is usually a rubber collar at the main joint between the pipe and the base, but some people prefer wrapping a few layers of masking tape around the pipe instead. This does make dismantling the hookah much easier, though ensuring that the rubber collar is wet usually makes things easy enough if you're using a collar. On the other joints, use aluminum foil or the small, colored rubber collars that come with some hookahs. Once you have base, pipe, and hose connected, place your thumb over the pipe opening and suck on the hose. If you get any bubbling or a lot of air through the hose, you probably have an air leak somewhere. If not, then add the clay bowl and put your palm over it and suck again to check that connection. Air leaks are not a major concern, so don't stress out about them (hookah smoking should certainly not be stressful!), but avoiding them means that you don't have to suck as hard to get a good lungfull of smoke.
...then add some shisha...
Smear just a pinch of shisha tobacco into the bottom of your bowl. A little tobacco can go a long way and, unless you plan to smoke for more than an hour, you can manage to get too much with only a thumb and forefinger. When your shisha "runs out" while you're smoking, you usually get a kind of bitter, fruity bite in the back of your throat. If you're just not getting much smoke or flavor, it's probably because your coals aren't hot enough. Experimentation will show you how much or how little shisha you want to use. Some people like to put a layer of aluminum foil with holes poked in it between their shisha and coals; this prevents the shisha from sticking to the coals and allows you to more easily add fresh coals.
...and some red hot coals.
Probably the most important thing about good shisha is using hot coals. Whenever you smoke for more than about half an hour, you will usually have to add some fresh ones to keep your smoke thick and flavorful. Use the smokeless, self-lighting (as compared to requiring lighter fluid) coals that are often used for burning incense. Don't use regular charcoal briquettes! Regular charcoal may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure that your coal is completely lit; if you have an incense burner, perhaps let your coal light in it while you assemble your hookah. Otherwise, you can hold it with the tongs and blow on it a little. Once you've got a red hot coal, put it in the bowl on top of the shisha and press it down with the tongs while giving a few good draws on the hose. Once you have a good white smoke going, sit back and enjoy!
SD Consortium :
SD Shisha Exports : Good Hookah Smoking
Last Edited: 17 Jul 2000|
©2000 by Z. Tomaszewski.