How To: Make Your Hookah Smoke Thicker
For any hookah smoking enthusiast one of the greatest joys of smoking hookah is getting the thickest clouds possible, so today we're going to run down some of the easiest ways to get thicker clouds from your hookah and answer some of the most common questions on how to get more flavor from your smoke. Let's get THICC.
How To Set Up A Hookah
Before we get in to the nitty gritty on how to maximize the amount of smoke and flavor you can get from your hookah, we'll want to make sure that the hookah itself is set up correctly and that there are no air leaks that may cause airflow issues. If this is your first time setting up a hookah check out our handy dandy guide on How To Setup Hookah.
If you are having trouble setting up your hookah or if you feel like there may be an air leak in your hookah reach out to our friendly Customer Service Team who can help walk you through the set up or diagnose issues with your hookah.
How Is Hookah Smoke Created?
When smoking a hookah the smoke itself is really generated from three very important pieces at the top of your hookah, your hookah bowl, shisha tobacco, and hookah charcoal. The combination of these thre items will be very important in the smoke output of your hookah and the overall quality of your session.
While everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to the specific type of bowl, shisha tobacco, and charcoal being used the general idea is to make sure that you have steady heat from your charcoal, a good packing method for your tobacco, and open airflow through your bowl down in to the hookah which will create excellent clouds no matter what type of hookah you are working with.
Let's take a look at a few of the most common bowl packing methods that work well for pretty much any set up.
The Fluff Pack
This is the most common shisha packing technique and works great with blonde leaf shisha brands such as Starbuzz, Fantasia, Fumari, and Social Smoke. We use this style of pack when we test new brands and adjust to our desired smoke preference. This is also a great way to enjoy Al Fakher shisha flavors.
Using the "fluff pack" method will require you to lightly sprinkle the shisha in to your bowl and fill your bowl up to the rim line. Don't use much force or pressure to push the shisha down, just sprinkle the shisha in to the bowl to allow for a light and fluffy consistency. The fluffy look to your shisha will allow heat to pass through easily to deliver nice clouds quickly.
The Dense Pack
The "dense pack" is your best bet when smoking a dark leaf tobacco such as Tangiers shisha, and it can be used for Starbuzz Vintage or Trifecta Dark Tobacco as well. If this is your first time attempting this method you might not believe this type of shisha loading will smoke correctly with the amount of pressure that is required when loading the tobacco, but give it a try and you'll be pulling thick clouds in no time.
A dense pack is best achieved by using a Shisha Fork or your fingers to press the shisha down in to your bowl to a semi-dense or dense consistency. This method works best with a phunnel style bowl because the pressure applied to your tobacco will block your air channels in any bowl that contains air intake holes on the underside like an Egyptian bowl.
The "over-pack" method is perfect for brands that like a ton of heat or for smokers who like a little bit more heat in their session. The most common brand which we recommend the over pack for is Haze Tobacco which performs exceptionally well with this method.
The overpack is achieved by simply loading your tobacco into the bowl similarly to a "fluff pack", but once you reach the rim of the bowl lightly push the shisha down a little bit with your Shisha Fork or fingers and then add more tobacco in to your bowl until it reaches just over the rim over the bowl.
Does Milk Make Hookah Smoke Thicker?
One of the most common questions in regards to creating thicker hookah smoke is "Can I use something besides water in the hookah base?". The short answer is yes, you can use pretty much any liquid that you like in the hookah base to accentuate the flavor of the shisha tobacco that you are smoking but it won't necessarily increase the smoke thickness.
There are tons of different hookah preparation methods out there that involve using things like coffee or milk in the base when smoking coffee or dessert style flavors, or fruit juice in the base when smoking fruity flavors, or even using alcohol such as vodka in the base when smoking cocktail style flavors.
While these various base liquids may help to add a little extra flavor to the smoke they may also make it a little more difficult to get a proper draw from the hookah as the viscosity of the liquids will be different than water. For example, when using milk in a hookah base the bubbles and foam that are created can be easily sucked up in to your hose making it harder for the smoke to pass through. [We highly recommend not using milk in your base. It can taste bad and can be hard to completely clean out of your base - leading to a stanky, nasty build up over time.]
That being said, one of the best things that you can add to your hookah base to make the session more enjoyable is ice. Adding a few cubes of ice to the water in your base will help to chill the smoke as it passes through the base making the draw from your hookah cooler without impacting the air flow.
Pro Tip: If you do choose to add any liquid other than water in your hookah base make sure to disassemble and thoroughly clean all parts of your hookah immediately after the session as those flavors can "ghost" in to your hookah, or in the case of a dairy product like milk may cause mildew to form if the hookah is not properly cleaned.
The Best Hookah Bowls For Thicker Smoke
Having a bowl with great airflow is one of the best things that you can do to help create thicker smoke from your hookah. While standard Egyptian Clay Bowls are what most people start off with and work fine with many brands, upgrading to something like a phunnel style bowl is a good choice.
Some of our favorite bowls here in the office are the Alpaca Rook Bowl and HookahJohn Retro Harmony Bowl for almost any shisha tobacco, and the Tangiers Phunnel Bowl. If you're looking to save money and pick up a cloud producing phunnel bowl, be sure to check out the Firefly Bowl.
The Best Hookah Bowls For Use With The Kaloud Lotus
If your hookah set up involves using the Kaloud Lotus Heat Management Device then we highly recommend using the Kaloud Samsaris Vitria bowl for the absolute best results. However, the Alpaca Lipache Bowl and the Alpaca Ferris Bowl are solid options here as well as they provide good airflow with the Lotus to create those sweet sweet clouds.
What are your favorite methods for loading a bowl of shisha? Do you have your own unique twist that always produces THICC clouds? Let us know in the comments!