There are many different ways to prepare shisha. It is the type of hobby that has many personal touches and countless biases and opinions. Different hookah pipes need different preparation, while the same could be said about shisha tobacco. There are countless different bowls to use these days, and as hookah has evolved, so has the methodology.

Today, I will discuss the different methods of preparing hookah and managing the warm up process. Hookah tobacco is usually heated indirectly, whether it be through a device such as the Kaloud Lotus, or using aluminum foil, the heat needs to build and be trapped. Drawing air over the tobacco will help some, but time is crucial to a properly heated bowl. A helpful strategy is to place two to three coals on your bowl, and let it sit for 10 minutes without doing anything. Then reverse the direction of the coals and leave it for a few more minutes. By doing this, you heat the tobacco indirectly, which reduces scorching and also saves your lungs from labored work, which is the last thing you want to do before smoking tobacco. During your hookah session, be sure to take note of any burning smells coming from your bowl. If you smell this, it is time to either take some heat off the bowl, or rotate the coals to different positions. Every cut and brand is different, so it takes practice.

Now that we have some basic skills down on heat management, let us turn to what to fill the base up with. Most narguile enthusiasts will argue that anything other than plain water is a travesty to put into your shisha pipe. In my opinion, there are certain exceptions that one should take note of. Particularly, I have found one shisha flavor to work really well with milk in the vase. Cinnamon roll is a flavor that smooths out and tastes amazing with some milk in the vase. When adding milk, be sure to pour slowly, and only add ⅙ to ⅛ of the vase up with milk, or it will bubble too much. Other than milk, there are people who love a similar mix of rose water in the vase, but few floral flavors are worthy of this enhancement, and I have smoked none of them. If you like floral flavors however, I highly recommend trying to add a little rose water to your vase. While it can be delicious to add these flavors to the water, it also creates a mess. It is very important to clean your hookah immediately or shortly after such sessions. Milk will spoil and sour, and unless you want hookah cheese flavors, you better wash your stem, your hose, all your grommets, and the vase thoroughly. So all that being said, it is 9/10 times unnecessary to add anything but water.

All in all, there are many different flavor enhancements you can apply to hookah, but be sure you are not diminishing the overall experience. Some things are best left untouched. Creativity is a very important aspect to shisha, as it fuels new ideas, and you never know when someone’s silly idea evolves into a whole new hookah invention. The moral of today’s blog post it- HAVE FUN!


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