So You Bought Your First Hookah. Let's Set It Up!
Look at you, you've got your first hookah and I'm sure you're ready to smoke it. I remember buying my first hookah and not quite knowing what I was doing. Thankfully, I had friends around to help me figure things out. Let me be the friend that helps you figure it out. Like Drake, we'll start at the bottom.
A defining feature of any hookah is its base. The water in acts a bit of a filter and cooling for your smoke, but how much water do you add? The basic guidance for water in a hookah is to fill the water one half to one and a half inches above the bottom of the downstem (the tube that submerges into the water of your base).
The Stem (or Shaft)
If you have a hookah with more than one piece to its shaft, assemble the shaft. (i.e.: Many small hookahs, like Small Mya Hookahs and the Econo Mya line have an unscrewable downstem. Screw this onto your shaft.)
Put the grommet onto the hookah shaft (or, in some cases, around the lip of the base). Once this is done, you can place the shaft into the base of the hookah. Place the tray onto the top of the hookah, then place the hose in the hose port. (This is a good time to take a test pull from the hose and see if you like the draw, keeping in mind that it will tighten just a little when you add the bowl to the hookah.)
How do you pack a bowl? Well, we could write a whole blog on this, but put simply: break the shisha tobacco apart in your hands, sprinkle it lightly into the bowl, and make sure it's just under the rim of the bowl. Place your foil onto the bowl as tightly as you can. If it's pre-punched, you're good to go. If not, evenly poke holes into the foil. If you're using a mod or Egyptian style bowl, blow through the bottom of the bowl with your hand near the bowl's top. You should be able to feel cool air come through the top of the bowl; if not, your bowl is too tightly packed and needs less shisha. Once your bowl is packed and foiled, put the bowl grommet onto the bowl port. Put the bowl on and you're oh so close to your first session. Make sure the bowl's fit is nice and snug.
If you're using quick light coals (round coals that come in a roll), light the coal with a lighter. Wait until the coal is done sparking and it has ashed over fully. Blowing on the coal can speed up this process. Once the coal is ready, put that bad boy on the bowl.
For coconut coals (square coals in a rectangular box), place 2-4 on an electric burner for about 6 minutes, then flip the coals. Once they're orange all the way through, they're ready to go on top of your bowl.
Take a couple pulls to direct some heat down to the bowl. Wait a minute or two to let the bowl eat up nicely, then start smoking. Keep in mind that the session will get stronger in both cloud density and flavor given a few minutes time. If you have a small bowl (like those that come with Mya hookahs and some of our Egyptian hookahs), you probably will not be able to use a second round of coal; large bowls can sometimes go for two rounds of coals, but I typically prefer one round anyway.
And that's about it. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask. We're friendly dudes and dudettes over here, and we can help ya out. Leave a comment down below if you have any further thoughts.
Until next time, I've been John, you've been you, and...yeah, see ya next time.