The major factor of a good hookah session is a properly packed bowl! One that isn't done just right can result in a slow starter, a fast burner, or an outright over cooked bowl. In order to not waste your shisha (the tobacco used for hookahs) follow these simple steps.
1. Take your bowl and give it a proper washing
a. Use moderately warm water, some dish soap, and a brush (tooth brushes work if you’re not at all fancy)
b. Rinse well with warm water till the bowl is clean of any residue, debris, or soap.
2. Sort out your Shisha
a. For this step I like to use either a sheet of saran wrap or wax paper to help keep any surface clean of any juices that could potentially stain!
b. Next take a sizeable amount of your shisha for your bowl and place it on the wax paper.
c. Sort through the mess and try to pull out any stems (don’t go over zealous in this, just try to remove the major stems).
3. Cook your coal
a. Depending on what type of coal you use you want to get a head start on getting it hot and ready for your bowl. If your coal is a quick start or one that is coated in black powder, you can skip this step and do it around the time you start to cover your bowl with foil.
i. WARNING! THESE COALS GET HOT! Don’t place them someplace ridiculous where a careless person can knock it off onto a flammable surface! Also try not to leave the coal unattended, always keep it in eye sight or have someone watch it so nothing dangerous happens.
1. Stove Range
2. Torch Lighter
3. Hookah Coal Range
4. Pack your bowl
a. Now take your sorted pile of shisha and place it inside of your bowl, make sure that there is at least a gap from the top of the shisha from the foil. This helps prevent the shisha from burning when your session starts getting long, if the foil touches it’ll burn it right from the get go which will result in a harsh foul tasting smoke.
5. Cover your bowl with foil
a. Take a square of tin foil (preferably any tin foil that doesn’t have anything special added to it) and place it over the top of the bowl, folding the edges down (try to minimize the amount of creases and crinkles in the foil, your shooting for air tight) till you have a taught surface.
6. Puncture the foil
a. Take your shisha tamp and position it in the utmost center of the foil and gently press down till the prongs puncture the foil (you want to try and prevent the foil from pressing downwards).
i. If you don’t have a shisha tamp (shown in picture) you can improvise with this step by using a thin sharp poker: Safety Pin, Straight Pin, Sewing Needle, Earring needle, etc.
b. Method b. for this step is taking your sharp prong and creating an outward pattern from the center. Be creative but DON’T OVER DO IT! Sometimes if your hookah bowl breathes too much you’ll get little to no smoke, on the reverse if it doesn’t get enough air it’ll cook the shisha and you’ll burn your bowl faster, so try to find an even balance with trial and error.
7. Place the Bowl on your hookah and a piece of hot coal on top
a. This next step is pretty self explanatory. When choosing a piece of coal try not to use one that is too big or too small, again this goes by trial and error. Start off with 1 piece of coal.
8. Prime the hookah
a. This step is a long one; depending on if you did things right, or even if your hookah is a stout or tall one, priming your hookah is hard to estimate. One brave soul (usually the one who packs the bowl) must take a hookah hose and start taking long, even pulls to start cooking the shisha.
i. This stage isn’t a pleasant one most of the time as you get weak airy pulls that don’t taste all that great.
b. As the pulls become thicker move the coal slowly from the center to the outer edges to evenly cook the shisha
a. Once you have taken all these steps you can be sure to enjoy a nice long hookah session with thick milky white tasty smoke!
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