Last time in this series we went over the most common reasons you might not be getting smoke from your hookah. Now that you have learned the basics for getting your hookah smoking you may find that the smoke is a little harsh. If you are really screwing something up it may feel like you are breathing hot gravel. Let’s do something about that.
Too Much Heat!
The most common problem I have found with harsh sessions is an over abundance of heat, which means you’re scorching your tobacco. There are a few different factors to consider here.
- What bowl are you using? Larger bowls need more heat and smaller bowls need less. Seems simple enough. But what material is your bowl made out of? How deep is it? How wide is it? All of this changes the heat you need by just a little bit. Glass bowls heat up faster but don’t hold heat for as long as solid Egyptian clay. Molded ceramic takes a while to heat up and doesn’t hold much heat. Metal holds heat and heats up very quickly. You are going to need to experiment with each bowl to find the right amount of charcoal needed to get proper heat. Start with about 1/3 of the total foil covered in charcoal and then adjust from there. Harsh smoke? Take some heat off. If you aren’t getting good smoke, add a little more charcoal or add a windcover.
- Are you using a wind cover? Wind covers are great for protecting your coals from high winds but they have a much more common and useful purpose. They concentrate heat. If you have two pieces of coconut coal and a wind cover on a small Egyptian bowl you are likely overheating you tobacco. Just taking the wind cover off will help. Many people think that you are supposed to use it all the time. I use it in every session but it comes on and off as I need more or less heat.
- What kind of tobacco are you smoking? Every brand has different heat requirements and even different flavors in the same brand will have varying optimal smoking temperatures. Modern style tobacco can be pretty easy to overheat and burn. Hookah-Hookah is notorious for being easy to burn and require very little heat to smoke properly. Nakhla is a heat sponge. It can smoke well with average charcoal but can take a whole bunch of heat before it burns. Classic tobacco, like jurak, needs nearly twice as much coal than you would usually use to even smoke properly.
You packed too much tobacco into your bowl.
If your bowl is packed too high the tobacco might touch the foil and then it will burn. To smoke hookah properly, the tobacco should only be broiled through indirect heat. If you reduced still can’t get smooth smoke after reducing the heat you should try packing a little lower in the bowl.
You may need better foil.
Standard foil that you get at the super market is can be too thin and will allow too much heat to get to the tobacco too quickly. I suggest sticking with heavy duty foil. It’s thicker and moderates the heat better. If you don’t have access to HD foil you can double up on regular foil and achieve much the same effect. It’s a little more costly but the cost increase is pretty low.
Smoke better tobacco.
Junk tobacco smokes like junk tobacco. Try switching it out for something tried and true like Nakhla. There is a reason that it is the most smoked hookah tobacco on the planet.
These are four of the simplest reasons that you may be getting harsh smoke. Of course, per usual, I’ll probably think of some more later and update with a continuation of this post. If you have any other solutions leave a comment and let me know. If you are still getting harsh smoke sign up for the forums and we’ll try to help you out.