This is a crash course for beginners, a turnkey guide to use a hookah. We discuss the anatomy of a hookah, how it functions, and what you must do to set it up for a satisfying session of flavorful smoke.
The Essential Components of a Hookah
The foundation of a hookah is its base. Usually made from glass, a base sits at the bottom and is the water chamber. Into the base goes the stem. The bulky portion of the stem housing the hose port and the purge valve is known as its heart. This is the connector for the stem and the base.
As you move up the stem, there is the neck where you place the tray and atop goes the bowl. The tray is a placeholder for charcoal. The bowl houses the shisha tobacco. The other essential components are hookah hose, three grommets, shisha tobacco, charcoal pieces, aluminum foil or heat management device, a pair of tongs, and a poker.
How to Assemble a Hookah?
Ensure the components are clean before you start. Fill the base with some water and set it on a table. Take the largest grommet from the set of three and plug it into the lower end of the stem. Insert the stem into the base. Slide the tray down the top of the stem to its neck. Pack the bowl with your favorite shisha tobacco, wrap it with aluminum foil and place it atop the stem. Poke tiny holes in the foil, in the pattern of concentric circles. You may use a heat management device atop the bowl instead of a foil.
Insert the hose into the port in the heart of the stem. Heat a few pieces of charcoal using a lighter or burner. Take the pair of tongs to transfer the red hot charcoal pieces onto the aluminum foil or in the heat management device. Use two to three pieces depending on the heat requirement. The two or three charcoal pieces must be equidistantly placed. Let the charcoal pieces heat the shisha tobacco inside the bowl. Start drawing a few short puffs to check the smoke.
How does a Hookah Function?
Once assembled, the charcoal pieces atop the bowl heat the shisha tobacco inside and generate flavorful smoke. This smoke passes down through the stem into the water of the base where it gets filtered and cooled. You draw puffs through the hose mouthpiece and inhale flavorful smoke. If required, you blow air into the hose to get rid of hot smoke through the purge valve in the heart of the stem. If your hookah stem has a diffuser, it will create a bubbling effect when you draw the puffs.
The water inside the base should cover around half an inch of the down-stem. If there is a diffuser, then it should be fully submerged in the water. The shisha tobacco should be optimally packed, around twenty to thirty grams in a standard bowl for one session. Use two to three standard pieces of charcoal at the start.