Neither tobacco nor charcoal has an expiry date. Theoretically, you can store and use tobacco and charcoal for years, probably a lifetime. However, the reality is a little more complex and there are quite a few variables at play.
Shisha Tobacco and Charcoal Can Turn Stale
Shisha tobacco is more than just the dried and cured leaves of Nicotiana plants. Manufacturers of shisha tobacco flavors use molasses, glycerin, and honey, extracts of chosen ingredients, additives, and preservatives. Many of these components have an expiry date.
Hence, shisha tobacco flavors tend to have an expiry date of two years. The shelf life is for sealed shisha tobacco. Once you unseal a pack, the shisha tobacco flavors remain good and usable for up to six months. The exact shelf life after a pack is unsealed depends on the storage method.
Likewise, hookah charcoal can have an expiry date, depending on the ingredients in it. Organic charcoal, such as those made from coconut shells, does not have any expiry date. You can use it for years if the storage method is perfect. Quick-light charcoal and other variants may have a shelf life subject to the chemicals and other materials used in the product.
Always check the label of shisha tobacco flavors and hookah charcoal to find out what a manufacturer says. It is better to abide by the manufacturer’s guidelines than guessing the shelf life of a product.
How to Store Shisha Tobacco?
Shisha tobacco flavors smell awesome when you open a pack for the first time. The fragrance or the intensity of the smell reduces in due course. You will not experience the same aroma when you open the pack for the fifth time. Ideally, your shisha tobacco flavor should smell and taste the same even after six months. The state and quality of your shisha tobacco depend on the storage method.
1. Airtight Container with an Impeccable Seal
Shisha tobacco stays fresh and in its original condition if you use an airtight container. Ordinary jars, boxes, cans, and any other package will not work. The container must have an impeccably airtight seal. Also, it must be a re-sealable container because you will need frequent access to the shisha tobacco.
It is not necessary to buy a special expensive airtight container. A zip-lock bag or pouch shall suffice. Do not store shisha tobacco in the same can, jar, tub, or package of the manufacturer. The original packaging you receive is not ideal for storage unless a brand explicitly tells you that their container has an airtight seal.
2. Avoid Sunlight, Heat, Water, and Humidity
Shisha tobacco will turn stale if it is exposed to air, sunlight, heat, and water. The molasses, glycerin, and honey will dry up when shisha tobacco is subjected to heat and air. Humidity will damage the tobacco and the flavors. The tobacco will turn hard, brittle, and perhaps too rigid to be used.
In the absence of an airtight container, shisha tobacco will lose its aroma, flavor, and texture. Air with its relative humidity, heat, and sunlight will quicken the staling process. Likewise, extreme temperature fluctuation will also damage shisha tobacco flavors.
3. A Clean and Dark Place at Room Temperature
Shisha tobacco stays best at room temperature. If you are in the tropics or subtropics, you may choose a clean and dark storage cabinet, drawer, or covered shelf. A closed cabinet is cooler than the ambient temperature in hot and humid climates.
If you live in the frigid or temperate zone, a clean and closed cabinet will still be suitable, as the space tends to be warmer than the ambient chill. Do not expose your shisha tobacco to climate control systems at home or anywhere else. Temperature fluctuations are not ideal for hookah tobacco storage.
How to Store Hookah Charcoal?
Hookah charcoal is easier to store than shisha tobacco. You need an airtight container. Temperature fluctuation does not pose much of a challenge. Hookah charcoal is not as vulnerable to drying as shisha tobacco. However, you should still prevent exposing charcoal to humidity or moisture. Definitely avoid exposing or subjecting charcoal to water.
What to Do with Stale Shisha Tobacco and Hookah Charcoal?
Stale shisha tobacco or hookah charcoal is not hazardous. The tobacco flavors will be a paler version of the original aroma, taste, and texture. Stale hookah charcoal will not light up properly or burn poorly. The pieces may not heat the shisha tobacco sufficiently to generate the expected clouds.