Hookahs are a type of water pipe that has been used since ancient times, over 500 years ago. They started as a cultural staple in India and the Middle East. Now, many people all over the world visit hookah lounges or have a hookah in their own homes.
Hookahs offer a relaxing way to enjoy a smoking session solo or with friends. Yet, using a hookah can seem intimidating to a beginner.
Read on to learn how to smoke hookah like an expert.
Learning the Hookah Hardware Basics
There are a few key components of a hookah that one should know before smoking. These basics are helpful for set up at home, or in hookah bars, which are increasing in popularity.
The bowl is the piece that sits at the top of the hookah and holds the shisha. Heated coals are used to warm up the shisha so it can be smoked. The tray sits at the bottom of the hookah bowl to help catch any ash from the hot coals.
The shaft allows air to travel through the hookah to heat the coals and shisha. This then allows shisha smoke to be pulled back down through the shaft. The stem connects the shaft to the base of the hookah, delivering smoke into the base’s chamber.
The base, also called a vase, is most often made of glass. The base contains water to cool the shisha smoke. It filters the smoke so it is less harsh on the lungs as it is inhaled.
The hoses contain a mouthpiece for smoking the hookah. The user pulls on the hose to draw smoke out from the hookah. Hookas can use one hose or multiple hoses when more than one person is smoking.
Setting Up the Hookah for a Proper Smoking Session
The right amount of water is key when setting up a hookah for use. This allows the smoke to easily travel throughout the water pipe.
To set up the hookah, remove the shaft to add cold water into its base. The stem’s tip should dip into the water a little, about 1 inch. Then place the shaft back into the hookah base.
Secure the hoses into the holes on the side of the hookah. These should offer an airtight seal. The bowl fits into the shaft and is now ready to add in the shisha.
Packing and Prepping the Hookah Bowl
Hookahs use a special form of tobacco called shisha. This is dense, moist, and sticky compared to other types of tobacco products.
Shisha comes in popular fruit flavors, like apple and lemon. You can also mix different flavors for a unique experience. Some people prefer to add in a bit of marijuana to enhance the effects.
Start by filling small bits of shisha into the bowl. Be careful not to pack it too tight or this can clog the bowl.
Once the bowl is packed you’ll want to place a small sheet of aluminum foil over the bowl. This helps protect it and avoids overheating the shisha. The foil shouldn’t touch the shisha but should fit securely over the bowl.
Then use a toothpick to poke holes into the foil. This helps to improve airflow for a better smoking experience and flavor.
Next, prepare the hookah coals. Two coals are often enough for a standard hookah. You can use quick-light or natural coals, but be sure they are suitable for hookah use.
Heat the coals then add them to the top of the bowl. Place them on the foil then wait a couple of minutes to allow the shisha to warm up.
Smoking the Hookah
To begin smoking, take a deep inhale on the hose. Common etiquette is to take a few inhales, then allow the next person to smoke. This moves in a clockwise rotation, with one person smoking at a time.
First-time smokers may feel a little light-headed. This is normal and will subside as you get used to the shisha effects. Smoking shisha will then produce more of a relaxed feeling over time.
Consistent smoking will help keep the coals and shisha burning properly. Moving the coals while smoking also helps to adjust the heat level for a better quality smoke. Use a pair of coal tweezers to do this.
A full-sized bowl will likely give you about a half-hour of smoking time. Coals and bowls are often replenished for an hour-long smoking session.
There are also techniques for how to smoke hookah to make the smoke thicker. Smoking hookah can involve different bowl packing styles. You can even use different liquids in the base, like milk.
Cleaning and Caring for a Hookah
Keeping your hookah well-maintained will help to rid it of debris and build-up. This results in a smoother and more enjoyable shisha taste.
It’s best to use a gentle soap with warm water to clean the base and other parts of the hookah. Using detachable hookah mouthpieces is key for avoiding germs.
Hookah hoses should not be placed in water as this can cause them to rot. Yet, some hoses are made from washable materials.
How to Smoke Hookah for the Best Experience
Hookahs offer a relaxing way to enjoy a solo or social smoking session. They produce a smooth and flavorful smoke from shisha. These tips will teach you how to smoke hookah like an expert.
It helps a beginner to start by visiting a hookah lounge. Here they can learn more about the basic hardware and how to pack a bowl the right way. Then they can go on to buy a hookah to have in their own home.
Looking for more smart tips on different smoking styles? Check out the health section of our blog for advice on safe ways to get high.