How to Set-up your Hookah Pipe
Preparing your pipe
Its best to clean your pipe straight after using it, that way the smoke-steam in the metal part of the pipe doesn't have time to dry which makes it easier to clean. Plus the last thing you want to be doing when your looking forward to a smoke with your friends is having to clean your pipe. A dry pipe and hose gives a better smoke. Make sure your pipe is clean or you'll start to get a horrible taste with each smoking session. Use soft brushes to clean the pipe and base bottle.
Fill the glass base so approximately 1 inch of the metal tube is submerged below the water line. The area left above this is where the smoke will mix with air and cool further. Too much water makes it hard to suck the smoke through and leaves little space left for the smoke to mix with air resulting in much stronger smoke. Attach the pipe onto the bottle as above. The metal pipe is not to be confused with the hose, see image above.
To enhance the flavour of the smoke, try mixing cola, lemon juice, orange juice when using the same flavoured tobacco., or some other flavours into the water in your glass base.
Preparing the molasses
Often the juice in the tobacco based molasses can sink to the bottom, give it a good mix before you take any out to put in the clay bowl. That way your not using dry tobacco from the top of the pack. When you open a large pack of tobacco we recommend putting it in an air tight container to prevent it drying out, the tub will also make it easier when you mix it.
If you're new to using a hookah shisha pipe try a small amount of tobacco first to practice getting it right. Place the tobacco into the clay bowl. We recommend about 8-10g of tobacco per smoke if you have a large pipe. Break up the tobacco rather than putting it in and covering the holes in the clay bowl fully.
For beginners we recommend trying tobacco free molasses until your familiar with setting up. Its easy to burn the molasses, whilst a good smoke is heavenly burning the molasses will make you cough like you would with cigarettes. The two most popular tobacco free molasses on the market today are SOEX and High Life Herbal. Ensure the tobacco is not compacted or the air will not pass through and will make the smoke strong and give a burnt flavour to your smoke. Place the charcoal tray on the pipe, the grommet in clay bowl then the clay bowl onto the pipe.
Take a small piece of aluminium foil, big enough to cover the opening of the bowl. Wrap the foil over the top so that the surface is tight. Use a toothpick to punch 5-6 holes in the foil. You may want to suck on the mouth piece to see if enough air flows through the pipe. If its an effort to draw air you may want to make some more hole or ensure the tobacco is not too tightly packed. Try to make one of the holes go right through into one of the the holes in the bowl.
Lighting the charcoal
Quick Light - Light the charcoal and wait about 1 minute after it has stopped sparkling before placing it on the foil if you are using self igniting charcoal on the foil. If you place the charcoal on too early you’ll be smoking the charcoal fumes before you get any flavour, wait until it has stopped sparkling or smoking.
Natural Charcoal - Natural charcoal is preferred by experienced shisha smokers as it contains no chemicals which may taint the flavour of the smoke. Natural charcoal takes longer to light but its worth the wait. You can light it on your cooker or using a torch lighter. Wait until it is glowing before placing it on the pipe.
When you first start smoking your hookah, try placing the charcoal on the outside of the bowl and working it around the edges of the bowl. The centre of the bowl should be the last place your charcoal is placed.
Use a large wind cover to prevent the charcoal falling off in case someone knocks your pipe. A wind cover also preserves charcoal by keeping the heat from escaping.
Place the hose grommet in the hole then attach the hose to the pipe. The hookah is now ready to smoke - we advise sucking gently to start with so the tobacco or molasses heats gently, sucking too hard will result in the top molasses burning which will taint the rest of if with a charred taste. Long gentle draws will help the heat pass through the tobacco.
Don’t forget to take in some normal air every now and then to make smoking enjoyable, too much of anything can be sickly. For best effect we recommend smoking with friends, after all the best ingredient to any gathering is good friends.
My hookah doesn't seem to be smoking right. What do I do?
1. Check your bowl. The most common mistake is packing the shisha too tightly. Make sure that you break the shisha apart and lightly sprinkle it into the bowl to the top. Don't fill it past the top because you'll be packing the shisha when you cover it with a metal screen or foil.
2. Check your charcoal. If the charcoal is covered with ash, there may not be enough heat getting to the shisha. Use your tongs to tap the charcoal ash off into your hookah tray and place the charcoal back on your pipe.
3. Check your gaskets. Make sure that all of the components of the hookah are fitting nicely together. A snug fit will make the smoke flow more efficiently. You may check for a burnt gasket. Some hookahs expose the gasket and are easily burnt by charcoal that is moved around in the tray.
4 . Check your hoses. If you have multiple hoses, make sure that all ends are plugged properly. For example, if you have two or three hoses on your hookah and there is only one person smoking, you'll need to remove the hoses and use rubber stoppers or tape to block the hose holes.
Cleaning Your Hookah Pipe
Make sure your pipe is clean or you'll start to get a horrible taste with each smoking session. Use a soft bristle brush to clean the pipe and base bottle.
Its best to clean your pipe straight after using it, that way the smoke in the pipe doesn't have time to dry. Plus the last thing you want to be doing when you’re looking forward to a smoke with your friends is spend time cleaning your pipe. A dry pipe and hose gives a better smoke
Cleaning the pipe (metal pipe stem)
Cleaning after each smoke
Use a brush with a dense array of bristles at one end as they clean better than the regular brush’s with a thin array of bristles along the whole length of the brush.
Run hot water through the metal stem, wet the brush and push it into one end of the pipe stem. Move the brush back and forth working 6-10 inches of the pipe at a time until full length of the pipe is done. If the pipe is longer than the brush you can insert the brush at the other end and clean the rest of the pipe. Run more hot water through the pipe again and repeat with the brush if needed.
Cleaning every 5-6 smokes
Remove the exhaust valve and ball bearing. Run water though the valve and clean the hole using a cotton bud.
Every couple of months
You can soak the pipe stem in the bath with soda crystals every couple of months and then clean it with a brush to give a burst of freshness and bring the shine back to the metal.
Cleaning the base bottle
Every 5-6 smoke drop 1 tea spoon of washing powder or soda crystals into the base bottle and fill to the top with hot water. Leave for 20 minutes then clean using a bottle cleaning brush. Rinse with water until clean. If you don't wash your bottle at least every month or two it'll collect dirt and mold.
Washing your hose
Not all hoses are washable. Leather hoses tend to be washable to a degree but are usually made with a steel coil which will start to rust after the first month. Look for a washable guarantee from the manufacturer. Modern hoses are sometimes made with rust proof material but can still feel authentically eastern.
None leather hoses -
Washable - Not recommended but can be rinsed out with cold water, this is not recommended more than few times as the water will damage the material
Life Span - 3-4 months if used once or twice a week
Leather hoses -
Washable - Yes, only use cold water, rinse out as little as possible as the coil will start to rust after the first wash.
Lifespan - 6-10 months if you smoke once a week
Washable hoses -
Washable - Yes, rinse with cold water
Lifespan - 1-2 years or longer of you look after your hose
Make sure the charcoal your using is not crumbly before lighting it or you'll have trouble transferring it from the charcoal pan to the pipe.
Light the charcoal outside or in the kitchen. This will prevent your living room from filling up with unwanted charcoal smoke if your using quick light charcoal. This will also protect your carpet in the unlikely event some sparks fall onto the carpet.
Ensure the shisha pipe is stable before placing the charcoal. It’s a good idea to place the pipe on a hard flat surface such as a large tile available from any DIY store. If you have expensive carpets you may want to place a thick cotton sheet around the smoking area in case you knock the pipe over.
Information provided by www.ShishaInfo.com