It only seems that hookah is a complicated, complex “rocket” science, requiring loads of knowledge and experience. Although it is partially true, because most of the hookah skills we get from our own experiments and practice, by trials and failures.
I hope that I can save you from common hookah mistakes (shisha myths as well) that many water pipe beginners usually make so you won’t waste your time, nerves, and money (quite important in Cyprus due to the high tax rates on shisha tobacco) so you’ll be able to enjoy your hookah and not struggle to make it work.
Stick Around and Let’s Do this!
Mistake 1: Not controlling the process of igniting hookah charcoals
Never heat up the charcoals on induction stoves or glass cooktops. Usage of aluminum foil, paper clips, or any similar accessories will only screw things up – they will either stick to the stove surface or leave nasty traces on it. At the moment, big brain mankind has not yet invented anything better than a compact electric heating burner (lighter) but it doesn’t last long (up to 1 year usually). Please use it with caution!
Mistake 2: Not replacing hookah hose
When all the flavors feel the same to you, there is a chance that the hose might cause the problem. Silicone tends to get soaked with smells from smoke to smoke, and this happens so smoothly that it is impossible to determine the exact moment when the flavor of the product begins to be drowned out by a bright “mix” in your hose. This process depends on how often you are using it. Changing the hose at least once a year is optimal. You just have to accept the fact that the hookah hose is a consumable supply.
Mistake 3: Forgetting about safety precautions
No one likes boring lectures about safety, and it is a huge mistake because Safety is Everything! Following safety precautions when smoking a hookah is a necessity and with only a few simple rules you can save not only your fancy carpet or curtains but also your mental health. Try to avoid using and do not even waste your time on quick self-lighting (igniting) charcoal.
The special hookah bowl protective shields or wind covers should not be neglected. Of course, you shouldn’t count on them if you leave your water pipe unattended, but if it falls in front of you, there’s a great chance that scorching hot charcoal cubes will stay in place.
Do not leave hookah charcoal out of your sight if you are away from smoking for a long time. It is best not to leave the hookah unattended at all, as molasses can get onto the silicone grommet and the bowl can slip off it. Children, animals, gusts of wind, and any random movement may contribute to the bowl or the whole water pipe itself falling down. You should also keep a pair of tongs with you at all times, in case you need to pick up hot charcoal quickly.
If you need to be away for a while, then place the hookah bowl in the sink without removing the coals, so as not to interrupt the heating processes.
Mistake 4: Neglecting the appropriate care and wash of the hookah, bowls, glass vases
Obviously, the hookah needs to be cleaned. It is also important to thoroughly clean all the connectors and connection ports, clean the vase of plaque and odor, rinse the hose, and keep your hookah dry when stored or not in use. DON’T WASH YOUR GLASS VASES WITH HOT WATER! Read our cleaning guide for further information here.
Mistake 5: Extremely long smoking hookah sessions
We understand that hookah smoking costs a pretty penny especially in Cyprus and many people want to save money on it, but smoking hookah for two hours is a questionable pleasure. In most cases, a properly packed hookah bowl gives us the best session in 40-60 minutes of smoking. And after a long time of smoking in aggressive heat, the bowl can almost begin to smolder, which provides an unforgettable taste of bitterness and unnecessary harm to health.
Mistake 6: To Smoke using an air leaking hookah
If you notice that the hookah is unpleasant to smoke or there are weak smoke clouds, it could have an air leak. If it’s difficult or impossible to inhale, you’re good to go – your hookah is fine and doesn’t “sip” (there is no air leak in it). Otherwise, when you make a draw, you will immediately feel that there is an air leak somewhere – seek and eliminate it.
Mistake 7: To be afraid of shisha tobacco overheating
As practice shows, the less experience a hookah smoker (user) has, the more he (she) is worried about the heat. In the context of getting maximum flavor and comprehensively discovering the shisha product profile, especially the tobacco leaf features, there are a lot of products out there that smoke badly because of underheating (lack of charcoal heat). Some hookah tobaccos can even cause a sore throat feeling while smoking if they are not heated up well. Bigger cut shisha tobaccos, especially with higher sugar content, often require a steady warm-up, and then they smoke softer, without additional pressure on the throat.
The ONLY case when you have to be very careful with overheating is using cheap tobacco and some tea-based or other herbal smoking mixes. Very often they are not heat resistant enough.
It is important to remember that there are no universal formulas and hints for heat management. It is essential to experiment and develop an intuitive awareness. Experience comes with practice.
Mistake 8: Pouring too much water into the glass vase (hookah flask)
As you might know, water in a hookah acts as a filter and smoke cooler, but if you fill the whole glass vase with water, you don’t leave enough space for filtered smoke. If more water is poured, it will be almost impossible to inhale and the smoke will stagnate and become bitter.
Mistake 9: Starting your hookah journey with heavy (dark leaf) shisha tobaccos
If you are new to hookah, it is best to start with light or medium strength shisha tobaccos mixes. It is not a good idea to start smoking the Tangiers, Azure Dark, Fumari Dark Leaf, Darkside straight away. Brands like Afzal Authentic Molasses, Fumari Blonde, or Aloha Exclusive Tobacco are great for all levels of hookah beginners.
Useful Tips for Hookah Beginners:
This leads to inhaling carbon dioxide excess from smoking shisha which we don’t really want.
It melts very easily (especially one made of aluminum).
An important purpose of purging is a reduction in the temperature of the hookah bowl. This is often unnecessary and even can be bad for the quality of your smoke.
Well, size affects really smoke temperature, since larger hookahs provide a longer distance for smoke to travel before reaching your hose. The way you pack your shisha tobacco and its amount, hookah bowl type, amount of charcoal heat and heat management affect the quality of your smoke directly!
As mentioned above, the water in a hookah is designed to filter the smoke and mitigate its harmful effects. If alcohol is poured into the water instead of water, at best, you will get a headache; at worst, you will get intoxicated by the alcohol vapors. Milk contains approximately 3% total fat and may cause serious issues with your hookah (bacteria, mold, fungus, etc.) Please be sure to thoroughly wash your whole shisha setup!