The Biggest Hookah Frustrations & How to Solve Them
This blog was updated on 01/25/2019
Smoking hookah is a beautiful and relaxing pastime when done correctly, but there are a number of things that can turn your lovely hobby into a frustrating mess in no time flat. In this post we're going to go over some of the most common frustrations that can come with hookah smoking, along with how to make sure they are never a problem again. With this knowledge in hand your hookah smoking future will be bright and frustration-free.
1) Hookah Coals That Go Out Halfway Through A Bowl
You have one job hookah coals! Just stay lit until you are either a pile of ash, or I stop smoking! It's that simple. But how many times have your coals gone out halfway through an active session? If you are using fantastic, high-quality natural coals, it probably doesn't happen that often, but if you are using old, cheap, or bootleg coals, then this might be a common problem.
Solutions - First, make sure they are properly heated all the way through. When placing them on the burner coils, make sure you flip them - not only on the flatter sides, but give each side (all 6!) some coil time to ensure that the charcoal is being heated evenly all the way through. Another option is to make sure that you're using the best possible hookah charcoal. If this seems like a simple solution, it's because it is. The only reason your coals will go out halfway through a session (assuming you are actively smoking to draw air over the coals to keep them stoked and not leaving the coals sitting for 20-30 minutes) is because not all coals are created equal, some are made from inferior materials with inferior technique. Lately, around the office we almost always smoke with CocoBrico coals or Coco Urth coals and we never have this problem.
For more information on some great natural coal options check out our natural charcoal guide here: Guide To Natural Hookah Charcoal.
2) Your Bowls Are Harsh, and Your Shisha Tastes Burnt
This is probably the most common hookah related frustration. It all has to do with heat management, and proper heat management techniques are one of the trickier aspects of smoking to manage. Coal rotation, coal placement, the number of foil holes, and their location, all contribute and it can be a hassle to get it all right.
Solution - First off, make sure that your heat management techniques are spot on. If you are still having issues then we suggest eliminating as many of these factors as possible. How do you do that? Just get a Kaloud Lotus! It replaces your foil, and when you are using a Lotus you don't need to worry about rotating your coals. That's the two biggest culprits eliminated in one stroke.
3) Your Box Of Shisha Is All Dried Out Before You've Smoked It All
I think it's safe to say we've all experienced this frustration before. You catch a craving to smoke a flavor that you haven't had in a few weeks. You know you've only smoked one bowl from that new box of shisha and there should be plenty left for your next bowl. Then you open up the box and the shisha has dried out considerably since that first, juicy bowl you smoked. You probably smoke it anyway, but it's never as good as the first bowl you loaded when the package was still fresh.
Solution - Each shisha manufacturer uses their own types of packaging and some may be better than others for long term storage. If the packaging that your shisha comes in is not an air tight resealable container then your best bet is to immediately transfer your shisha to an air-tight shisha storage container after you open the packaging for the first time. Shisha will last a really long time if stored properly, but when exposed to air, light, and heat it will degrade quicker than you think.
4) You Are All Set To Smoke, But You Accidentally Broke Your Bowl
Who's experienced this before? Your hookah has been cleaned, you added fresh water to the base, washed and dried your hose, and put your coals on the burner. The only thing left is to prepare your bowl. You've got your shisha broken up and laid out, you pick up the bowl, and then the damn cat knocks something over in the other room, or The Simpsons theme song starts and in your distracted state you drop your bowl and break it. Bummer, huh? The session is over...or is it?
Solution - Open up your fridge, pull out a piece of fruit, and make a fruit bowl! It's fun, adds flavor, and can help you out in a pinch. Not much of a fruit person? Ok, then how about using the indestructable Silikon hookah bowl? It's impossible to break, and will ensure this frustrating hookah moment never happens to you.
5) Your Hookah Makes Too Much Damn Noise
Ever have to crank the volume on your tv to hear your favorite show or movie over the bubbling of your hookah? I know, talk about a first world problem, right? Well don't punish yourself for living the good life. Kick that first world problem to the curb and enjoy that movie in the peace and quiet you deserve.
Solution - Add a Heba diffuser, or Silicone hookah diffuser to your hookah downstem and you can turn the volume of your hookah down from 11 to 1. Not interested in messing with diffusers? Take the plunge and buy a beautiful glass hookah. Most come with diffusers built into the downstem. You can also construct your own diffuser by following the instructions in our Hookah Hacks 2 blog post. Another tip is to place your hookah on top of a towel in order to dampen any reverberations.
6) Your Bowl Of Peach Tastes Like Last Night's Mint Bowl
Ghosting. It's real, and it's an epidemic. Shisha flavors can be very strong, and they love to stick to every part of your hookah. For the hookah itself, the base, and the bowl, it's simply a matter of cleaning them between uses. But your hose is the real culprit here and it can be the hardest to clean. If your bowls constantly taste like yesterday's flavors, we've got a solution for you.
Solution - Use a washable hose like a Nammor hose or a silicone Ripper hose everytime you smoke and make sure to clean your hookah and hose regularly. Not the most exciting solution, but it's really the only way to go. Cleaning works on every other part of your hookah, and it works on the hose too. Just make sure your hose is washable, give it a good cleaning between smokes, and you'll be all set. Here are some great tips on how to properly clean your washable hookah hose.
7) Your Hookah Has A Tight Or Restricted Draw
This is a true hookah killer right here. A tight or restricted draw will cause you to put a lot of lung effort into a paltry amount of smoke and flavor. There can be a few culprits here.
The first thing to do is to look at each and every passageway the smoke goes through, and remove anything that may be blocking airflow. A good cleaning usually takes care of this.
Next, if you are using a traditional bowl that has air intake holes that sit below the shisha make sure that the tobacco is not packed so tightly that it would prevent air from flowing through those holes. A good tip here is once you have loaded your shisha in the bowl use a toothpick or paper clip to poke straight down through those holes, this will ensure that air is able to flow easily through the bowl and in to your hookah.
If your hookah is still too tight, then there's only one solution.
Solution - Unfortunately physics are physics and if your hookah has tiny openings which restrict the draw the only thing to do is to buy a better hookah. We wish there was some sort of magic trick that will increase airflow on a hookah, but there isn't. In order to make sure that you pick out the perfect hookah for you, check out our hookah buying guide. As far as air-flow is concerned, we always recommend a nice Khalil Mamoon, Nammor, or Shika hookah for maximum airflow. Glass hookahs work great as well.
Did we miss any of your biggest hookah frustrations in our list? If so, leave them in the comments below and we'll do our best to solve them for you.