Hookah Charcoal FAQ
Hookah-Shisha.com features over a dozen brands of hookah charcoal, ensuring you'll find some of the world's best hookah charcoal in our store. We stock a wide variety of quick-lighting hookah charcoal, natural coconut hookah charcoal, and even silver tab charcoal. With such an extensive selection of hookah charcoal, new and experienced hookah smokers will have no problem finding the best charcoal for a perfect shisha session.
Charcoal is one of the essential components of a great smoke session. Your charcoal is the sole heat source used to “cook” your hookah flavors. The quality and type of hookah charcoal you use will significantly impact your shisha session, which is why we aim to provide you with only the finest quality hookah coals on the market. We test every brand we carry in our warehouse, ensuring we verify the charcoal's quality before adding it to our inventory. This step guarantees you'll enjoy an optimal performance during every smoke session. Need help finding the best hookah charcoal for your hookah? Contact our friendly service team with over two decades of hookah experience, and we'll be happy to assist! Check out our blog for more information about hookah charcoal, the different styles, how to light them, and more.
What is hookah charcoal and why should I use it?
Hookah charcoal is explicitly made to heat shisha flavor. There are a couple of reasons shisha smokers need hookah charcoal. First, your hookah charcoal is designed to burn at a temperature that's optimal for shish. It maintains a temperature that volatilizes the molasses and flavoring off of the tobacco without physically igniting the tobacco leaves. While cigarette smokers rely on igniting the tobacco when they smoke, shisha smokers do not burn the leaves. Hookah charcoal is considered the most effective heat source when smoking shisha.
The other reason for using hookah charcoal has to do with burn time. Because hookah charcoal burns longer, your smoke session can be enjoyed longer and less frequently. This means more time smoking and less time worrying about heating more charcoal.
How is hookah charcoal made?
Manufacturers of coconut based products convert the organic waste, mainly coconut husks and shells, into hookah charcoal. By limiting the oxygen flow during a burning process they carbonize these materials and convert them into a powder.
Briquettes are molded from this powder by combining and compressing it with a binding agent composed of corn, or potato starch, and water. These pieces then go through a drying process that ultimately results in the small pieces of charcoal you see on hookah bowls all around the world. Some manufacturers produce six-sided cube briquettes, while others make longer briquettes that look like fingers. Some companies also sell hexagonal briquettes.
What is the difference between natural and quick-light hookah coals?
The two main types of hookah coals are quick-lighting hookah coals and natural hookah coals. Quick-light coals and natural coals use wood, rice, or coconut charcoal briquettes.
Manufacturers coat quick-lighting hookah coals with a chemical accelerant, such as benzene or sulfur. The accelerant allows each piece to be lit quickly using nothing but an open flame. This means that smokers using quick-lighting coals don't need a coil burner to light their charcoal. Instead, they can light their coals with a candle lighter, torch, or cigarette lighter. The convenience offered by quick-light charcoal is unmatched. The primary drawback is that the chemical accelerant may interfere with the flavor of your shisha.
Natural hookah coals do NOT contain any chemical accelerant. You can't use an open flame to light them, so you must have an electric coil burner. You can invest in a charcoal burner if you have a gas stove. Natural hookah coals are less convenient than quick-light coals because they take longer to light. However, natural coals tend to burn longer and more evenly than quick-lighting coals. Since they aren't coated in a chemical accelerant, natural hookah coals often provide a cleaner tasting, more accurate flavor profile to your smoke session.
What do I need to light hookah charcoal?
Both quick-light charcoal and natural charcoal users need metal tongs. Metal tongs are approximately half a foot long, letting you grip the charcoal without touching it with your fingers.
All smokers can opt to use an electric coil stove or hookah charcoal burner. Hookah charcoal burners come in various shapes and sizes, and it's possible to buy a small burner you can easily store in a cabinet when not in use. Hookah charcoal burners are also light, making it easy to transport them to a friend's house or a different room in your home. Set your charcoal burner on a sturdy, flat surface close to a three-prong electric outlet. Remove flammable items from the area to ensure your safety when using a charcoal burner. You can't light charcoal on a gas stove.
Quick-light charcoal users can also opt to use an open flame. This is convenient if you keep a lighter or torch at home.
How do I light hookah natural charcoal?
Hookah smokers need an electric coil burner to light natural charcoal briquettes. Make sure you set your electric burner on a flat surface if you're using a portable hookah charcoal burner. You should ensure your burner's clean before you start because your charcoal briquettes sit directly on the burner. Once you set your natural hookah coals on the electric coil, crank the burner up to high. The black coals will turn gray when lit because they're producing ash. You should also see an orange glow from the lit area. Once the bottom's lit, use your metal tongs to pick up the coal and turn it over. Repeat this process until you've lit all sides of the briquette. The size and shape of your charcoal briquettes will affect the lighting time, but it usually takes between 5 and 15 minutes to light natural hookah charcoal.
How do I light hookah quick-lighting charcoal?
Shisha smokers can start quick-lighting coals with a lighter or torch. Hold the piece of charcoal with your metal tongs. Hold the flame lighter to the edge of the charcoal. After a couple of seconds, the charcoal will begin to emit sparks rapidly and will fully light after 2-3 minutes.
Quick-lighting hookah charcoal users can also follow the directions for lighting natural hookah charcoal to light your quick-light coals. Since quick-light coals have a chemical accelerant coating their exterior, they should start quickly on an electric burner.
Using an electric burner has one clear advantage over using an open flame. You can start multiple coals simultaneously. This means you won't have your first coal burning while you're lighting additional coals.
How many hookah coals should I use?
Hookah enthusiasts usually need 1-4 pieces of charcoal on their bowl for their shisha session, but this number can vary. The exact number of coals you'll need for your smoke session varies depending on the types of coals you're using, your shisha type, your bowl, and your heat management device. Check out our blog to learn about hookah charcoal and heat management. Reading insights from hookah experts is a great way to familiarize yourself with the variables so you can determine the optimal number of coals you'll need for your smoke session. For example, you'll likely need three charcoal briquettes for an entire session if you're using coconut coals and foil.
What are the most environmentally friendly hookah coals?
All hookah charcoal briquettes feature organic materials, but coconut charcoal is the most popular option. One reason is that coconut charcoal is eco-friendly. Statista.com reports that coconut producers around the globe produced over 61 million metric tons of coconut in 2020. When producers harvest coconuts, they harvest the coconut milk and process the coconut. Most coconut producers discard the shells and husks. Coconut charcoal manufacturers take the organic waste and repurpose it by converting it into hookah charcoal briquettes. You won't be adding benzene to the atmosphere if you use natural coconut charcoal.