How Do You Make the Perfect Hookah?
Note: This blog was last updated August 23, 2022
Loading up your hookah for a standard smoke session is a fairly simple process, but loading up your hookah for the perfect smoke session is a different matter entirely. Today we're going to cover some easy tips and tricks that any hookah smoker can use to take their smoke session game to the next level.
A Clean Hookah Is A Mean Hookah
If you're looking for a top notch smoke session a clean hookah is an absolute must. Before we get started with loading up the perfect session we'll need to make sure our hookah, bowl, and hose are squeaky clean to ensure that we are getting the maximum amount of flavor from our session.
We'll cover some of the basics on hookah cleaning down below, but for an in depth look at hookah cleaning and maintenance check out our blog on How to Clean a Hookah.
Step 1.) Start by completely disassembling your hookah. Disconnect your base, bowl, hose, and tray from your hookah stem and unscrew your hose port and purge valve from the stem. (Make sure to keep the bb from your purge valve on a plate or in a bowl for safe keeping until we re-assemble the hookah).
Step 2.) Using a warm water and lemon juice, or for your stem and base specifically a non-toxic glass cleaner such as Bling!, and clean each piece thoroughly. Rinse each piece several times with tap water to remove any lingering odors. Rinse your bowl and hose with the tap water and lemon juice and set them aside to dry.
Step 3.) Once all of your hookah components are clean and dry reassemble your hookah parts, and make sure to grab the ball bearing we set aside earlier and give it a quick scrub with a paper towel and then put it back in the purge valve. Keep your base set aside as we'll come back to that once we have our bowl loaded.
Hookah Charcoal - Bringing All The Smoke
Everyone will have their own preferred shape and style, but in almost all scenarios we recommend using some form of natural hookah charcoal as they provide a steady heat output throughout the session and have minimal impact on the flavor of your shisha. Set your hookah coals on your charcoal heater to start heating up and let's move on to packing the perfect bowl.
Packing The Perfect Bowl
Once we have our hookah cleaned and in tip top shape we'll want to move on to loading our shisha tobacco in to our bowl. Shisha tobacco can generally be broken down in to two categories of either Blonde Leaf Tobacco or Dark Leaf Tobacco and depending on the type of shisha we're working with the ideal packing method can vary.
Let's take a look at some of the best ways to pack each style of tobacco.
- The Fluff Pack - This is the ideal packing method for any blonde leaf tobacco and works well with any style of hookah bowl. For this packing method we're going to simply sprinkle our shisha in to the hookah bowl a little bit at a time up to the rim of the bowl. Don't press or pack the shisha down tightly, we want to make sure the tobacco stays light and fluffy in the bowl to allow for air to easily pass through the bowl.
- The Dense Pack - This is the ideal packing method for dark leaf tobacco. For this packing method we're going to load our tobacco in to the bowl and then use either our fingers or a Shisha Fork to pack the shisha down to a dense or semi-dense consistency. This method works best with the use of a Phunnel style bowl or a Vortex bowl as the dense consistency of the tobacco will block the air flow channels on any bowl that has the air intake holes on the underside such as Egyptian Clay Bowls.
Once your bowl is loaded, apply your foil or your preferred heat management device and set your bowl aside. Using our hookah tongs let's flip over the charcoals that we are heating and move on to loading our hookah base.
Hookah Base Preparation
Now that we've got our hookah squeaky clean and the perfect bowl loaded, let's get our hookah base prepared. While there are many different liquids that you can use in your hookah base, which we cover in our blog on How Do I Make My Hookah Smoker Thicker?, we always recommend using the tried and true classic: cold water.
No matter what style of hookah you are working with you'll want to have the downstem of your hookah sitting about 1 1/2" below the water level, so just far enough down in the water for it to bubble when you inhale. Let's add our cold water to the hookah base and drop in a few cubes of ice to make sure that our session is as chill as possible and then plug our stem in to make sure we have the proper water level.
Our coals should be just about ready now so let's re-assemble our hookah, make sure our stem, bowl, and hose are plugged in nice and tight, and add our charcoals to the bowl and get this party started!
Voila! Happy smoking!