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Kaijbag

No taste?

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Hi, I don't know why.. Every time I set up my pipe when I have a smoke I can never get a good enough taste? Its always really smokey! Has anyone got any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

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Hi, I don't know why.. Every time I set up my pipe when I have a smoke I can never get a good enough taste? Its always really smokey! Has anyone got any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

There are plenty of things which can cause this but to truly help we need a bit more info. What kind of tobacco are you using and how are you packing it? What coals do you use, how many and where do you place them? It'd be helpful to see some pictures of your method. 

 

Anyway, you should always go through the Hookah Troubleshooting Procedure:

  • Check all of your grommets and purge valve to ensure they have a tight seal. Try performing a test by setting it up except for a bowl, plug up the top(where the bowl goes) with your finger and take a hit from the hose. If you can get any air then you have a leak. If your finger starts to get sucked into the pipe you are perfect.
  • Check water level(not probably an issue in this case though), you want the water to be around 1 inch above the bottom of the down stem. 
  • Make sure your tobacco is properly mixed up and isn't expired. Shisha doesn't last forever and will eventually dry up, making it lose flavor and burn faster. If your tobacco is getting dry add some vegetable glycerin(available at local craft supply shops)
  • Make sure your coals are fully heated before putting them on the bowl and place them near the edges of the bowl. Having them in the center will help with flavor but will also burn the shisha faster. Try to find the perfect amount of coals you need, this can change based on what coals you use though.

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There are a few other things that Chernobyl missed that could also be the issue you are experiencing.

 

1. What brand are you smoking? Some brands may deliver clouds and very little flavor and some may deliver very small clouds and tons of flavor. The brand (and how long it is has been on the shelf) matters when trying to balance your session.

2. Chern mentioned it, but heat could be the issue. This blends with my number one here. You could be pushing entirely too much heat onto the bowl for that particular brand to cope and you are burning off the glycerin/molassal/honey rapidly.

3. How are you packing your bowl, and what bowl are you using?

  • Your pack: The pack is a crucial component that will make or break a session. As an example you would want to pack AF fluffy to about the rim with low to moderate heat, Haze to the rim or above the rim (if below you can make it a bit dense) and throw about 3 naturals or 3 quicklight halves on it, Starbuzz fluff it and don't touch the foil, Fumari same as Starbuzz, Tangiers you want it as dense as the packaging and you want to be using a Phunnel bowl for it, the list goes on.
  • What bowl: The bowl you are using is also really important. If you are using a mod bowl you may as well just ditch it, you may be able to smoke from it but the session will not be as good as it could be. Some brands like to be smoked from certain bowls, what works well in a phunnel may not work in an Egyptian and vice versa. If you notice that when you are cleaning after your sessions you see the molassal in your base water or leaking down the sides of your bowl you have either overpacked or have smoked the brand in a bowl that does not work well with it. For wetter brands aim for a Phunnel or even a Vortex, many will work in an egyptian if you manage your heat and pack it correctly. For drier brands Egyptians do wonders, Nak from a nice egyptian bowl is an experience to remember. For their relative ease and use and coverage of the more popular modern brands of Shisha, he is a guide that I really like for packing phunnel bowls: http://imgur.com/a/nRann

Hope this helps man!

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Thanks for that guys. To be honest I'm not the greatest at this, my love for it started when I went to Egypt a few years ago! I can never replicate the same taste as what I had there.

I'm using Soex coals & molasses, AL Fakher molasses also. I also have a couple of various packs of Molasses that I picked up from Turkey and Egypt recently.

I have a small shisha setup (pipe, bowl ect) this is down to my usual one falling and smashing.

Do you think that the small pipe is the problem? Or do you think it's something that I'm doing?

Without sounding really sad, I have watched a step-by-step guide and it's still not produced lovely flavours.

ALL I WANT IS A GOOOOOD SMOKE!

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Thanks for that guys. To be honest I'm not the greatest at this, my love for it started when I went to Egypt a few years ago! I can never replicate the same taste as what I had there.

I'm using Soex coals & molasses, AL Fakher molasses also. I also have a couple of various packs of Molasses that I picked up from Turkey and Egypt recently.

I have a small shisha setup (pipe, bowl ect) this is down to my usual one falling and smashing.

Do you think that the small pipe is the problem? Or do you think it's something that I'm doing?

Without sounding really sad, I have watched a step-by-step guide and it's still not produced lovely flavours.

ALL I WANT IS A GOOOOOD SMOKE!

 

Small pipes can work just fine, but there is a fine line on what is "too small". If the base is very small and you have very little room for the smoke to form above the water in the base you will not get as large of a kick of flavor. AF smoke varies depending on the particular recipe, with some flavors not carrying a very strong and in your face flavor. Soex I have never personally had, but I know that in general it is a middle of the road brand that has great clouds but lacks on flavor for the most part.

 

But from your last post what it really sounds like is that you are just starting out setting up your hookah. I think I can speak for many people here in saying that there is a period of time where you will just make mistakes and not matter how well you follow a guide somehow it will not turn out exactly like you see or have heard. Personally it took me a while to start having excellent sessions across the brands I smoke (AF, Haze, Fumari, Nak). Take your time and do not rush to get it 100% the first time or even the twentieth time.

 

If you would like to would you be able to take pictures of your setup (pipe itself, base, bowl, the pack you are using along with the brand you are packing) and we may be able to pinpoint issues for you that you may be missing!

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Agreed.  Without pictures or a more detailed description, it's hard to diagnose.

 

You mentioned it is getting "smoky" but there's no flavor.  When you say that, does it taste burnt?  Or does it just taste like nothing?  If it's burnt, try an extra layer of foil on your bowl or high density foil instead, and make sure your tobacco isn't touching the foil.

 

If it tastes like nothing, more than likely it's a result of tobacco that has either gone bad (it does expire), you aren't stirring up your tobacco all that well (especially if you're using AF, your tobacco should be very wet and juicy - plucking from the top will have pretty dry, flavorless results), or the flavor itself isn't very strong.  As mentioned above, some flavors just don't have a strong flavor to them.

 

Also, I'm assuming you're using a non-washable (leather) hose.  If this is the case, you should limit that hose to one particular flavor or set of flavors, because they will "ghost," meaning flavors from previous smokes will absorb into the hose.  This is great if you have a "mint" leather hose and a "fruit" leather hose, but changing flavors can create a bland (or even very bad) taste, that will affect your smoke.  They're also prone to rust if any water gets in them.  A new hose will give you a larger draw, but, with your small hookah, that may not actually benefit you.

 

The small pipe shouldn't be a problem, unless it's one of those really tiny pumpkin hookahs.  Those usually aren't that good for flavor and usually have a pretty hot smoke.  There are exceptions, but they're pricy.

Lastly, Soex coals have pretty notoriously bad reviews.  A bad coal can cause excess smoke.  If you're using the quicklight versions of them, make sure they're orange around the entire coal before putting them on your bowl.  I'm not going to convince you of the benefits of a natural coconut coal right now, as it seems there are larger issues here, but better coals, while they have more prep time, produce a better smoke.

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Lastly, Soex coals have pretty notoriously bad reviews.  A bad coal can cause excess smoke.  If you're using the quicklight versions of them, make sure they're orange around the entire coal before putting them on your bowl.  I'm not going to convince you of the benefits of a natural coconut coal right now, as it seems there are larger issues here, but better coals, while they have more prep time, produce a better smoke.

Nice catch, I did not see that he said he was using their coals as well. But yeah, Soex in general is spotty in its quality and longevity.

 

Also on the topic of AF we would also need to know which cut you are using. This sounds strange, but if you are using the 50g packages the cut is almost like a paste and is incredibly fine but the larger packages use a much larger choppier cut that is more in line with other tobaccos. If you are packing the much finer cut as you would pack the larger cut you may be running into issues there, I have found that the 50g cut can be packed more like Tangiers (semi dense in a phunnel, but take a toothpick and drives holes from the top of the shisha to the bottom of the bowl in several spots inside the bowl), where as the larger cuts you need to fluff pack mostly. That is not to say that you can't dense pack the larger cut if you have good control, but it may expand too much and burn. AF is very, VERY temperamental about just how much heat you hit it with. Too much heat and the bowl is wasted, too little heat and it does nothing. Though getting AF right can have you smoking for days, my last session with AF Rose lasted just over two hours with one bowl packed up using two coco mazya coals at a time, if I put three the bowl wouldn't have made it even thirty minutes. On the flip side, Nakhla can take the heat of a small sun and still deliver tons of flavor without tasting burnt.

 

On that note, you have made it clear you liked the more "traditional" middle eastern/egyptian flavors when you were over there. Have you considered switching to Nakhla instead of AF or Soex for that taste you liked in Egypt?

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