Buying a hookah for the first time can be as exciting as overwhelming for many beginners. Dozens of brands offer a diverse bouquet of hookahs, from traditional Egyptian styles to modern variants with diffusers and LEDs. Plus, there are hundreds of shisha tobacco flavors made by scores of companies throughout the world. Hence, you need to simplify the entire process.
What Do You Need For Your First Hookah?
A standard hookah kit nowadays includes a glass base, stainless steel stem, clay bowl, tray, silicone hose, grommets or seals, tongs, and cleaning brushes. However, not all companies make stems or pipes with stainless steel and hoses with silicone.
The Hookah Kit
Ideally, you should choose a steel pipe or stem and silicone hose. Steel is easier to clean and the shisha tobacco flavors can be washed off. Otherwise, your hookah stem will allow residual buildup. Also, there will be traces of the different flavors you will smoke in due course.
A silicone hose is better than those with metal coils inside. Silicone is washable. Like the stem or pipe, the hose needs to be washed to get rid of all residual buildup, including traces of flavors. Furthermore, you should try not to get a regular clay bowl but a glazed phunnel.
A clay bowl is not necessarily washable because the material is not glazed and is thus porous. An unwashed clay bowl will allow residual buildup and the flavors will leave traces. A glazed phunnel bowl is washable. Also, a phunnel does not have the holes at the base. A regular clay bowl with holes at the base allows the juices from shisha tobacco flavors to flow into the stem.
To sum it up, here’s what you need for your first hookah:
- A glass base, or vase.
- A steel stem, or pipe.
- A glazed phunnel bowl.
- A silicone hose.
- A tray.
- Three grommets.
- A pair of tongs.
- Two cleaning brushes.
Most hookah kits include all these essential parts.
Charcoal and Heat Management
You need charcoal for heat and aluminum foil or a device to manage the pieces. Broadly, you will find two types of charcoal: all-natural and synthetic. The synthetic charcoal generally contains a chemical accelerant or catalyst to facilitate instant lighting. You can use a cigarette lighter to ignite such charcoal pieces. However, these are unhealthy, and impart odor & flavor.
All-natural charcoal is usually made from crushed coconut shells. These pieces do not have a chemical catalyst. Thus, you will enjoy the true flavors, textures, and odors of your selected shisha tobaccos, not some chemical burning and altering the smoke. However, natural charcoal pieces are costlier and difficult to light. You need a gas burner or hookah charcoal lighter.
Heat management is an integral part of your hookah sessions. You can use heavy-duty aluminum foil to wrap the hookah bowl. Or, you can get a heat management device. Some heat management devices still need an aluminum foil, whereas many styles don’t. Heat management devices cost more than aluminum foil, but they are reusable, and hence a one time investment.
Also, heat management devices protect the charcoal pieces from breeze and temperature fluctuations. Besides, hot charcoal pieces may fall off the wrapped aluminum foils. A walled heat management device with a lid to close and adjustable vents is a much safer alternative.
Furthermore, you need to add and remove charcoal pieces as and when necessary, depending on the quantum of heat generated inside the hookah bowl. If you don’t have enough smoke, you must add a charcoal piece. If the smoke is too hot, remove a charcoal piece & put it on the tray.
Shisha Tobacco Flavors
All shisha tobacco flavors can be classified into two broad categories: herbal or nicotine-free and with-nicotine. Both types of shisha tobacco have numerous flavors. The flavors are usually fruity, savory, minty, sweet, or a combination of these. Also, you can choose dark or blonde leaf tobacco. Dark leaves have more nicotine than blonde or gold leaf tobacco flavors.
How To Select Your First Hookah
Now that you know everything you need for your first hookah, you have to decide the type, style, and other attributes to buy one. Begin with a budget, choose a size based on how much shisha tobacco you intend to smoke at a time, and select a branded but reasonably priced hookah.
A small to medium hookah is suitable for beginners. You may not be able to choose a size for your bowl and hose if you buy a kit. Most kits include these components based on the overall size of the hookah. As a beginner, it is better to buy an all-inclusive kit to ensure compatibility.