What is hookah?
If you’re a hookah lover, you already know the answer to this question. But we will go into more detail to get a clearer view.
Hookah originally came from the Middle East where the first countries to manufacture it was Egypt and China. It’s basically a multi-stemmed instrument that is used to inhale a particular flavor. It contains four main items:
- Tobacco burner
The tobacco burner is a very important part of the hookah because it’s responsible for the best part: the flavor. First of all, the tobacco burner has to be filled with the preferred flavor. The approximate high is up to the rim and not further. If it’s filled too much it can get burned down easily and lead to a burned down the flavor, which you want to avoid. After that, you have to wrap it up in tin foil and it’s ready for the coals. Another (and preferred by me) alternative is the metal coal holder. It’s more practical and can make your session last much longer.
It has to be proportional to the size of the hookah. A small tobacco burner in a large hookah is bad for the flavor because it burns down the flavor more quickly. If you have a rather small hookah, buy a small tobacco burner. Also, the duration is depended on the size of the tobacco burner. The larger, the more it can hold on to give you the aroma of the flavor.
The stem of the hookah is where the smoke is passed on to the hose. This part is the trickiest to clean properly. That’s because it’s composed of a tight metal tube and it’s rather hard to clean. There are many types of equipment that will help you do that, such as a long tight brush and such. The stem of the hookah might be considered the “engine” of the whole process. In the stem, the mechanism that connects the hose with the rest of the hookah is in the middle of it. Stems are usually made out of solid brass to avoid any damage and are known to be durable to withstand damages, even if it stays too long unused.
The danger of the stem lies in the health of it. The more frequently you wash it, the better and longer it will stay healthy. If you skip cleaning it, be that only pouring water to it or with a brush, you raise the risk of damaging it. The best way to clean it, if you lack a brush, is to pour boiling water carefully inside it, and letting it go down. This way it will clean whatever remains there is to a high level. Boiling water also gets rid of the possible bacteria that might get stuck due to not cleaning it very often.
The vase of the hookah is probably the beautiful part of the hookah. Its main role is to keep the water “running”. If you’re wondering why the hookah needs water in the first place, here’s the answer. The water is used to cool down and smooth out the smoke. When you start inhaling from the hose, moist particles get attached to the smoke. Even though the water ends up filtering a tiny amount of the nicotine, it’s not used for filtering.
Many people fill it with ice so the smoke comes even more cooler and it gives you a great sense of the flavor. Also, the vase of the hookah is used to give it a unique view. This part of the hookah is rather easier to clean, you just have to pour water inside and pour it out 2-3 times and you’re good to go.
If you want the vase to be extra clean, pour some hot water into it and leave it there for about 30 minutes. After that, just pour it out and the smell left from the flavor will no longer be present.
The hose is where all the smoke is inhaled. There are tons of sizes, materials, and designs. Some of the users have their name written on it, and it gives it a very special view. The design varies from the simple one-colored ones, up to the most complicated ones that contain two parts to join together. The most special one is the one that has the part of the ice implemented. Basically, you fill the water part with water and let it freeze. The smoke comes out at the coolest temperature possible, and it’s perfect for summer!
A lot of users decide to take special care of the hose because, after all, you inhale directly from it. Cleaning the hose can be tricky sometimes, but with proper care, it’s relatively easy. You have to wash it with water by pouring it inside and holding the other end somewhere the water can go out. Two or three pourings and it will be all right.
How to set up a hookah?
Now that we’ve covered the whole part of what hookah is, let’s go into details on how to use a hookah.
First of all, you have to fill the base with water – cold possibly. Better yet, add a few ice cubes inside. This will give you a refreshing smoke session and make the experience way better. Be careful to fill it up just enough so the tube gets covered and you can easily inhale without any trouble. This is crucial because if you fill it too much you’ll have difficulty inhaling it. Also, if you fill don’t fill it enough you’ll “disable” the filtering of the smoke through water.
Next, you’ll have to fill up the tobacco burner with your desired flavor. Personally, I’m a massive fan of Love66 – but feel free to experiment. If you’re still using aluminum foil, you’ll have to be a bit more careful. In this case, you’ll have to leave some space between the aluminum foil and the flavor. On the other hand, if you use a coal-metal holder, you can easily add more flavor without the worry of it burning up.
Next up, insert the hose in the right place, the lit coals on the top of the tobacco burner, and start inhaling carefully. After 2-3 minutes you should start making clouds.
What do you smoke in a hookah?
Usually, the flavored tobacco one uses for hookah comes with a mixture of cane fibers, molasses, sugars, and additives used to give it flavor. There are though two types of hookah tobacco: with and without nicotine. It’s purely up to the person which one they choose. While the nicotine can make you addicted to some level, the non-nicotine tastes just as good but the clouds are just not as “fluffy” as with the nicotine.
There are hundreds of flavors you can choose from, from tons of companies that produce hookah tobacco. The most popular hookah tobacco companies are:
- Social Smoke.
The flavors are pretty much countless – you can choose from fruit like Melon, Strawberry, or more complex ones like Love66, Mi Amor, etc. Once you start smoking on a regular basis, you’ll get bored from the same flavors and start mixing. My suggestion: Love66, MangoTango, and Blue ice.
You can use a little bit of cannabis or hash if you’re looking to get high with a hookah. Depending on the user, it might have a better effect than on a joint or no effect at all. In order to add cannabis to hookah, all you have to do is to add ground cannabis on top of the flavor and start inhaling.
How to use a hookah?
Considering you’ve set up the hookah just as advised above, you’re ready to use it.
And using the hookah is really the best and easiest part of the whole process. So you’ve lit up the coal, set up the hookah – now what? Well, start inhaling, you.
You have to start inhaling more aggressively as you light it up – that’s kind of hard for beginners. You’ll have to make sure that the coals are not clustered in one place but rather scattered on the metal coal holder. Possibly (what I do) have a piece of paper and, while inhaling, blow air on the coal. This will light them up more and make it easier for you to light it up.
After 2-3 minutes, you’ll notice that the hookah is all ready for you to enjoy. Nothing can go wrong, right? Wrong.
One of the most common mistakes when starting to smoke hookah is burning up the tobacco. I’ve been smoking for 7 years and believe me on this – there’s a trick. What I do, and tell others to do too, is blow a little before inhaling. This way, the tobacco gets some air and the session lasts longer and better.
And please, oh please, use a mouthpiece. They’re the cheapest equipment of hookah and they’re (possibly) a life-saver. Every time I didn’t use one, I got like 2-3 mouth ulcers. Believe me – you’ll want a mouthpiece.
There’s a rule of thumb when you’re smoking with a group of people that the hose can never rest. Not smoking? Pass it to the left. Don’t be a hogger – nobody loves a hogger.