Hookah Blog

How To Set Up A Hookah Step-By-Step

How To Set Up A Hookah Step-By-Step

5th Jan 2020

Written by Alex Leguizamon, video performed by Ilo Manafy

Hello, Fumari fans and future hookah experts! So you’re interested in setting up your hookah as the pros do, right? Let’s go over the basics on how to set up a hookah, and what you’ll need to get started, in this step-by-step guide.



  • Hookah pipe (with base and plate)
  • Hookah tongs
  • Hose
  • Phunnel bowl (Fumari Rook)
  • Fumari Tobacco
  • Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil (or a heat management device like the Kaloud Lotus I+)
  • Fumari poker or toothpick
  • Coconut charcoal (Fuoco Coconut Hookah Coal)
  • Fumari Burner

You can find a majority of these items on our website!

Step 1. Setting up the pipe

Setting up your pipe is the first step towards enjoying your first hookah bowl. Just make sure everything is clean and ready to use!

First, fill your base with room temperature water. You can use slightly chilled water if you prefer but very cold water will dilute the flavor of your bowl. 1 inch above the downstem is the general guideline towards getting the right water level but every hookah is different and it depends on your preference as well. If you like a more wide-open draw you would want to put the water closer to the bottom of the downstem but if you prefer a more restricted draw you will want to put the water higher. This all comes down to personal preference, but make sure the water level is at least a bit above the downstem.

Setting up the Pipe

Next, attach your stem to your base. You want the seal to be airtight so use a grommet that will be a good fit for your stem. Usually, your hookah will come with one or you can purchase a grommet on the site of your liking. Finally, attach the hose that came with your hookah or one of your liking with a hose grommet. Your hookah is set up and ready to rumble! Now let’s move on to the next step - the bowl.

attach your stem to your base


  • Use clean hookah
  • Water level preference
  • Attach stem
  • Attach hose

Step 2. Packing the bowl

Preparing the bowl is one of the most important steps in your journey to a great hookah bowl. For our demonstration, we’ll be using Fumari tobacco and our very own Rook bowl. Begin by opening up your Fumari pouch and stirring up the tobacco so that the juices can be evenly distributed.

Note: It’s a common misconception that you need to dry out the tobacco with a paper towel or squeeze out the juices. Don’t do this! What you’re doing is removing the juices that contain the flavor.

Don't dry out hookah tobacco

Next, grab your Fumari Rook bowl. We’re ready to begin packing. Use your fingers (or a fork) to grab the tobacco out of the pouch and then lightly sprinkle it into the bowl evenly to the rim. You can use your hole poker or fingers to very lightly pat down any tobacco that went over the rim. Aim to make it about 1-2 mm below the rim to avoid burning it during your session. Afterward, clean up your pack and make sure the tobacco is evenly distributed across the bowl. Fumari performs best with this style of pack as it allows airflow to the tobacco and provides an even cook through the bowl throughout.

Pack your hookah bowl

Now we’re ready to foil our bowl (if you’re using a Kaloud Lotus 1+ you can skip this step). You’re going to want to use two layers of Heavy Duty foil. The reasoning behind using two layers is to avoid scorching/burning the top layer of tobacco. Be sure to put your foil on drum-tight and avoid crinkling it. Once your foil is on nice and tight grab your hole poker (if you don’t have one you can use a toothpick), poke 3 circles of holes and aim to make them 2-3 mm apart with one hole over the spire to provide extra airflow.

Poke holes in hookah foil

If you’re using a Kaloud Lotus I+ then you don’t need to foil your bowl. Place it on top of the bowl and you’re ready to move on!


  • Stir up tobacco
  • Use your fingers to grab the tobacco and lightly sprinkle it into the bowl
  • Very gently pat it down/organize the tobacco in the bowl to create a clean pack with your fingers or hole poker.
  • This style pack provides airflow to the tobacco and an even cook.
  • Use 2 layers of foil. Poke holes 2-3 mm apart.
  • If you’re using a lotus simply place it on top.

Step 3. Lighting your coals

The next step is lighting your coals. Take your desired amount of coals and place them on your burner. The amount of coals you will need will depend on if you’re using foil or the Kaloud Lotus 1+. For foil aim to use 4 pieces of Fuoco cubes and for the Kaloud Lotus I+ you will use anywhere between 3-4 pieces depending on how hot you prefer to smoke. Turn the burner to the highest temperature and wait for them to be halfway lit. Once they’re halfway done they’re ready to flip.

Place coals on top of hookah bowl

Note: Make sure your coals are fully lit before you take them off the burner.

Step 4. Smoking

We’re finally ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy our hard work! If you’re using foil you’ll want to place your well-lit coals on the foil partially hanging off the bowl to start. You do this to avoid burning the bowl with too much heat at the beginning. You should rotate your coals periodically because the bottom of the coals will blackout in which case you should ash them on your tray and flip them. When rotating your coals put them about 1 coal placement away from where they previously were. As the session progresses you should slowly move the coals more towards the center of the bowl to keep a consistent heat on the bowl. If you sense that your bowl is becoming harsh or hot you should reduce the amount of heat by moving the coals slightly further away from the center of your bowl.

If you’re using a Kaloud Lotus, place your coals inside of the device, put your cap on, and wait 3-5 minutes for it to heat up. After that, you will be ready to enjoy your session! Adjust the cap as necessary to properly heat manage your bowl.

Note: If you would like to know more about this device that can make your session easier be sure to check out our blog on the Kaloud Lotus I+!


  • Foil: Start with coals partially hanging off the bowl.
  • Ash and flip as necessary usually in 5-10 minute intervals and put them about 1 coal spacing away when you put them back on.
  • Slowly move the coals fully onto the bowl to keep consistent heat
  • Inversely remove heat by moving coals away from center of the bowl.
  • Lotus: Put coals inside of hmd, wait 3-5 minutes and begin smoking.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our tips to help master your next hookah session!

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