By Rob Pecoraro (@dudewheresmyhookah)
Hello Fumari fans, and welcome to another edition of your favorite blog! Our topic of today’s post is one long in the making that is even centric to humanity as a whole; mixing! While we all have our favorite hookah tobacco flavors, there is without a doubt that at one point or another, we’ve all cheated on that flavor by trying something new or altering the taste by adding in another flavor entirely. Even the most die-hard of double apple smokers are guilty, which is saying something. However, most importantly mixing flavors is an art form, and with any art comes practice and repetition which is what we hope to give you the tools for today.
While typically we all start with layering our hookah tobacco when we begin mixing, we’re here to say blending is the best way to understand mixing and get an outstanding flavor on your first try. With a blended mix you ensure each flavor is no longer their own entities but one comprehensive flavor, and what you start tasting at the beginning is still what you taste at the end, especially compared to other ways of mixing. Another positive with blending your flavors is that the molasses and glycerin are always equal which promotes a prolonged session and heat management. Generally speaking, blending is the all-around way to go.
The easiest way to start a blend is by layering each flavor of your choice in the bowl. Layering negates any wasted tobacco you may have after packing without doing this step as you’ve already seen firsthand where you will be once you are repacking the now blended flavors. Starting with layers also allows you to really fine-tune how much of each flavor you’d like in the mix as you can begin to smell the finished product before you even get to that stage.
After you’ve nailed how much of each flavor your mix calls for and you can tell that the packing level will be perfect, dump the bowl out and start mixing. For this portion, a Fumari Hookah Mat will be your best friend as you want a clean and non-porous surface to mix the flavors together as thoroughly as possible. At this point some will even use scissors or knife and lightly go over the mass of leaves to ensure every leaf is even, but it should be noted that this is considered extra credit as you don’t need to do this although it will add some showmanship for those watching so don’t be afraid to add some flair as well. Finally add your now synchronized flavor to the bowl, repack to your desired height, and get to smoking!
TIP: One of my personal favorite blends is best achieved this way which I call Sea-Esta. This is a mix of Island Papaya roughly 35%, Double Apple 20%, and 45% of Caribbean Colada. Usually, I’ll start with the Double Apple at the bottom of the bowl as it’s easy to overpower the mix with and you just need a pinch, then layer the Papaya and Colada side by side as they are close enough in amounts that it’s easy to tell when you have just slightly more of the creamy overtone coming forth. However, once they are all on the hookah mat and thoroughly mixed everything blends for a truly perfect flavor that you can have a siesta with at any time of day.
2. Sectioning (Side-By-Side)
As much as we love getting our hands dirty and immersing ourselves in our blended mixes, sometimes it can be a better option to go with a simple sectioned mix and let the flavors shine forth on their own. This comes in handy especially when you want to have all the little nuances every flavor has still come into play but only be further complemented by another flavor or two in the same session.
The key to a good sectioned mix is to understand the flavor strength of each hookah tobacco prior to diving in. Say you have never had our Lemon Mint flavor, but you love French Vanilla and have a craving for a nice lemon cake mix - trust us, we’ve been there. You start with a large majority of Lemon Mint to a measly 20% of the vanilla which becomes washed out in a matter of a few minutes due to how bold Lemon Mint is. Repack time.
Once you have some flavors you are familiar with and have even become favorites, you can really begin to hone in on what a sectioned mix calls for. Keeping with our lemon cake mix example you now know that Lemon Mint can be quite bold, both on the lemon and on the mint whereas French Vanilla is more of a subdued profile in comparison. This time going with a little more than half of the French Vanilla to the Lemon Mint finally comes across as what you set out craving in the first place!
Sectioned mixes certainly give you a little more versatility in the fusion aspect as compared to blends as the heat ultimately becomes your emulsifier and is doing what your hands were doing when blending in our last section. In a blend the flavor is one, wherewith a sectioned mix all of the great parts that define the set of flavors you are using all come together to form what a blend will do while still being their entities entirely as you will learn once you compare the two.
Lastly before we end today’s post, we urge you to use either example of the mixes we demonstrated and see which type of technique you like more. As much as we may favor one over the other in certain scenarios, hookah IS always up to the end-user to figure out for themselves.
Continue to the next part in this mini-series where we take more technical aspects of mixing head-on and really set your mixing game on fire!