You are probably familiar with the three most popular types of bowls used with contemporary hookahs: Egyptian, phunnel, and vortex. The traditional Egyptian hookah bowl has its fans, and so does the vortex. But an increasing number of people are now using the shisha phunnel bowl.
As you may know, the shisha phunnel bowl doesn’t have any holes at the bottom. Instead, these bowls have a funnel shaped spire at the center with only one sizable hole. So you cannot pack a phunnel bowl in the same ways that you may rely on for an Egyptian or even a vortex bowl.
Unlike what you may hear from some hookah enthusiasts, you cannot pack any shisha phunnel bowl in an infinite number of ways. You have to pack it using the appropriate method for the type of shisha tobacco you have, including the possibility of blending two or more flavors for a round.
How To Pack a Shisha Phunnel Bowl
Here are the steps to pack a shisha phunnel bowl with your favorite hookah flavor:
- You need the following essentials and tools: a shisha phunnel bowl, hookah tobacco, a fork, a poker, aluminum wraps or a heat management device, charcoal pieces, and a lighter, or a burner if you use natural charcoal.
- Open the hookah tobacco can or jar, hold the shisha phunnel bowl in one hand, and use the fork with the other. You may hold the shisha phunnel bowl above the hookah tobacco pack if you want any spillage to fall into the can.
- Pick small amounts of hookah tobacco with the fork and place the bits and pieces in the shisha phunnel bowl. Spread the tobacco around as you load the bowl so that you don’t pile up a lot at any one spot.
- You may load a shisha phunnel bowl up to half of its capacity if you plan a short session or smoke alone. If you have friends or prefer a longer session, you can load the bowl up to but just below the rim of the center hole.
- Once you load sufficient shisha tobacco with the fork, use the poker to spread it evenly throughout the hookah phunnel bowl. Ensure there are no large gaps. Also, don’t press or tap down the hookah tobacco.
- The spread should be even horizontally and vertically. You cannot have a dense layer at the bottom and lighter packing at the top when you use a shisha phunnel bowl. Also, you cannot have large isolated gaps or pockets of air anywhere.
- As you even out the spread and facilitate optimum aeration, use the fork or poker to get any bits and pieces of hookah tobacco that may be closer to the center hole or along the edge of the phunnel bowl’s rim.
- Review the loaded tobacco to confirm it is evenly spread, sufficiently aerated, and there are no clunky or piled up segments that will prevent heat transfer from the charcoal and throughout the shisha phunnel bowl.
These steps will require one significant change if you intend to use more than one flavor or type of hookah tobacco. You may be familiar with the layered packing method for two or more shisha tobacco flavors that many hookah users prefer. This method doesn’t work for a phunnel bowl.
Layering works for the classic Egyptian bowl and to some extent the vortex variant. But shisha phunnel bowls don’t have holes at the base, so layering will essentially prevent the bottom layer of shisha tobacco flavor from receiving sufficient heat during the initial phase of your session.
If you don’t want a blended flavor profile from the start, the layering option may still be a relevant packing method. However, you should consider blending two or more shisha tobacco flavors in a vertical alignment so that each variety gets exposed to heat from the outset.
Furthermore, a shisha phunnel bowl lets the smoke from the top flow down through the hole, not the hot air passing through multiple horizontal layers before trickling into the hookah stem. Thus, you will always have a better pack if you mishmash or vertically layer two or more flavors.
How To Poke Holes After Wrapping a Shisha Phunnel Bowl
You can wrap a shisha phunnel bowl in the same way you use an aluminum foil for Egyptian or vortex styles. But the holes you poke should be a little different. Of course, this is only relevant for those not using a heat management device.
You should not poke a hole precisely at the center of the wrapped aluminum foil because it will be directly above the phunnel bowl’s spire. Hot air will flow into the hole without interacting much with the packed hookah tobacco, so some clouds of smoke may be flavorless and almost choky.
Poke holes in concentric circles. Start at the edge of the aluminum foil you have wrapped the shisha phunnel bowl with. The holes shouldn’t be too large. The concentric pattern should be consistent. Avoid the little area at the center of the wrap that is atop the phunnel bowl’s hole.