Hookahs Hookahs

Natural Hookah Charcoal: How to Light Natural Coals for your Hookah

If you want to get the most out of your hookah experience, your first step should be choosing to use Natural Hookah Coals. Natural Coals take a few minutes longer to get going, but your hookah tobacco will taste better and your smoking session will last much longer. These charcoals pieces are manufactured with natural coconut husk without the use of any chemicals or additives. Now let's go over how to light natural coals for your hookah.

Lighting Natural Coals on a Hookah Coal Burner

Cocobrico Natural Hookah Coals

Regardless of if you use our staff favorite Cocobrico charcoal, or some other type of natural coals, the same basic lighting principles apply to each one. Natural charcoals require a Single Coil Electric Charcoal Heater in order to achieve a fully cooked coal for use, and please refrain from using any open flames.

Open your box (or bag) of natural coals and place 2-4 coals on the coils of the burner -- The number of coals depends on your personal preference and bowl size. Each coal will need to be placed on the burner with enough room between each coal to heat all sides of the coal without interfering with the others. If they're right next to each other, you may find that they don't burn evenly which can lead to coals dying out early.

How To Tell Your Hookah Coals Are Fully Lit

You'll want to let the coals heat until all sides of the coals have turned to a thin layer of ash (or completely gray on all sides). Make sure all of the black color is gone before placing them on your hookah bowl. How do you know when they're ready? You'll know when they are glowing red, and it's common to see small flames.

This process usually takes anywhere between 10 and 12 minutes depending on your burner and coal sizing. We often hear that this process takes too long, but the full flavor and cloudy experience is well worth the wait. When you get into a rhythm the charcoal lighting can take place before you get your bowl ready, but you have to be quick to avoid your charcoal overheating and becoming smaller.

How To Handle Lit Hookah Charcoal


1. Turn your burner OFF immediately after your coals are done. If you wait until you've taken each coal off to move them to your hookah, you may forget to walk back and turn it off. Safety first!

2. Remember, only handle one coal at a time unless you're using a charcoal carrier. We don't need any accidents! We already know how fast your living room carpet burns and how bad it smells after you drop a coal on it!

3. Always grasp your coals with one side of your tongs underneath the coal. If there is no support under the coal, it's more likely to slip out of the tongs:

For a few other fire safety tips, read my post on Fire Safety and Prevention. Now, go load some of your favorite shisha, and enjoy the longest, most tasty hookah bowl you've ever had! Happy Smoking!

Comments (7) -

  • Pat
    I often flip the coals to speed up the process a bit. Okay to do or better off just waiting for the top to heat on their own?
  • Good advice on making the switch to naturals. I switched from QLs to nats and it has changed my hookah experience. No more chemical taste. Coco Nara coals are so great!!! Give them a try!
  • I've decided I've had enough of the QLs and am trying out naturals.  I've tried the lemon wood coal from jordan and also the Cocos.  I like the idea of naturals.  Any comments or suggestions as to preferences or positive one over the other?  Any other natural alternative?
  • Is it better to use an open flame, coil, or a glass stove like the one used in the picture?
  • We've been using coconaras for months now. They're fantastic!  We lay them flat on the burner and flip them once.  They're usually ready in just 5 minutes for us.  We lay them flat on them flat on top of the head too.  We've had great results that way. Never thought of standing them up on the thinner edge.  Will have to try that to see if it's an improvement.
  • I use a glass top stove (because that's what I have) an where I light the coals, there I a white patch on the glass that looks sort of like an ashy-ness. What it is, in fact, is where the extreme contained heat from the coals has literally caused the glass to start bubbling, ever so slightly - when I look at it very closely, I can see that the white, ashy haze is actually dozens/hundreds of tiny bubbles in the lass surface. Glass top = bad idea.

    Secondly, lighting a coal on both sides is unnecessary and somewhat wasteful. It's that much more coal you're burning up into the air, rather than into your bowl. The too will eventually light through from the bottom as you're smoking, so use that to your advantage.
  • After lighting the coals, using a standard stovetop, how does one clean the ashyness off the coils? I was considering using low grade steel wool, any advice is appreciated. Smile