When it comes to hookah smoking, we all learn from each other. This is only natural due to the social context of this cultural tradition. Different smokers have different preferences or advice on how to prepare a hookah, and while for the most part there isn’t one best practice, there are certainly some common mistakes that get passed along. The good news is that these mistakes are avoidable, and this blog is here to tell you what they are so you can save a lot of dollars and headaches down the road.
MISTAKE #1: THINKING ICE IN THE BASE PROVIDES A SMOOTHER SESSION
It's a common misconception that ice makes your session smoother due to the water being very chilled. While this might feel more “smooth” what is really going on is the ice is masking the potentially burning/burnt flavor. It also removes a lot of the good flavor from your session. Using a lot of ice is more of a crutch than anything else and a well-packed bowl with proper heat management will provide a smooth, cloudy session that is full of flavor.
MISTAKE #2: STARTING WITH DARK LEAF TOBACCO
Dark leaf tobacco is generally known for its higher nicotine content. If you happen to be new to hookah, it's probably in your best interest to start with a blonde leaf tobacco with a lower nicotine level. Sure some people have a higher tolerance, but fair warning: speaking from experience dark leaf can kick your butt the first time you try it. Hookah is something that is meant to be enjoyable and relaxing, so we recommend slowly acclimating yourself to smoking, and working your way up to dark leaf tobacco over time - if you’re interested in smoking something stronger.
MISTAKE #3: UNSAFELY PREHEATING YOUR LOTUS
People have been preheating their Kaloud Lotus devices since they came to market. This is a very easy way to ruin your Kaloud Lotus or even scorch the tobacco in your bowl! If you end up leaving it on your heating element (burner) too long you could melt it and then that’s 50 bucks wasted! We know you want to begin smoking as soon as you’ve finished packing the bowl but good things in life are worth waiting for. If you do pre-heat it, only do so to slightly warm your lotus.
MISTAKE #4: CARRYING THE PIPE BY THE STEM
Always (ALWAYS ALWAYS) carry the pipe by the base. Carrying your pipe by the stem may seem more convenient but it is actually an easy way to end up with a shattered base. The water is heavier than you might think and for a majority of pipes, the only thing keeping the pipe and base connected is a rubber grommet. The last thing you want is a packed bowl with coals on top ready to go…and no base!
MISTAKE #5: ASSUMING A BIGGER HOOKAH = BIGGER CLOUDS
A bigger pipe doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get larger clouds. As much as we don’t want to sound like a broken record, the way you pack your bowl and how you heat manage is going to give you those large fluffy clouds. It’s not down to the size of your pipe. You are capable of achieving the same cloud output from a smaller pipe.
MISTAKE #6: OVERLOADING YOUR BOWL WITH COALS
Everyone likes big puffy clouds right? There are proper and improper ways to achieve this. Overloading your bowl with heat is going to cause your bowl to smoke very hot, potentially scorch your bowl, and shorten your smoking duration. If the bowl is well packed and the heat is managed properly then big clouds and great flavor will follow suit. Do you know what's not a mistake though? Checking out our blog on how to prevent your bowl from getting too hot which you can find right here.
MISTAKE #7: USING IMPROPERLY LIT COALS
Half-lit coals are a big no-no when it comes to smoking hookah. One reason is that half-lit coals don't create enough heat to start a bowl and they taste terrible when smoked. Even more serious, if your coals are not fully lit then there is a good chance you’re inhaling unnecessary CO2 when smoking. So make sure your coals are fully lit! You’ll know they’re done when they’re glowing red. On the opposite side of the same coin, you can also overlight your coals. By doing this you will cause them to shrink and they will not last as long as they would’ve if they were removed from the heat at the right time. Make sure you’re always keeping track of your coals and if you have any more questions on this topic be sure to head over to our coal lighting blog as it's jam-packed with info and who knows—you might learn something!
MISTAKE #8: SMOKING OTHER SUBSTANCES FROM YOUR HOOKAH PIPE
Occasionally, some might suggest adding other “substances” to your bowl but they can stain your pipe, bowl, and hoses making it very difficult to get the smell out. If you enjoy those activities, there is no judgment, but it is better for the cleanliness of your hookah pipes to partake with the proper equipment or having a separate hookah setup for “other kinds” of sessions.
MISTAKE #9: FILLING YOUR BASE WITH ALCOHOL
While on the topic of using other substances in your pipe, we should also address your base. The best liquid to fill your base with is water. Some might try to convince you to use alcohol for example. Inhaling these fumes can however pose a danger to your health. It can also ruin the integrity of your pipe and make it much more difficult to clean. If you’d like to try something a bit different, try using tea or mint leaves!
MISTAKE #10: THINKING HIGHER PRICE = BETTER QUALITY
The price you pay doesn’t always reflect the quality of the product you’re getting! You wouldn’t buy a car just because it's expensive, and your pipes and accessories are no different in this regard. Do your research, make sure the product is made with quality in mind. While the “best” hookahs, bowls, hoses, and accessories are subjective to a degree there are products that are better than others for what you want out of your hookah session. Be sure that you’re buying something that is going to last or else you’re going to end up with a bunch of products that you won’t enjoy or be able to use in a few months' time.
And that’s all! We hope that we were able to enlighten you on some hookah mistakes that you might encounter along your hookah journey! It doesn’t matter if you’re doing these as a beginner or as a veteran smoker--common misconceptions are common for a reason! Be sure to check out our other blogs on hookah tips and tricks to strengthen your knowledge and be the best hookah enthusiast you can be. Until next time, smoke on!