Elements of a Hookah

I got  a hookah for myself a couple of days back. Till then, I have always made a hookah on a trial-and-error basis. So, thought let me go by a recipe booklet (if there is any).

One website selling sheesha’s says this.

A hookah or shisha, is usually made of five components, four of which are essential for its operation.

Hookahs components details include Hookah bowl - Hookah plate - Hookah hose - Hookah water jarThe Hookah bowl
Also known as the head of the hookah, the bowl is a container, usually made out of clay or marble, that holds the coal and tobacco during the smoking session. The bowl is loaded with tobacco then covered in a small piece of perforated tin foil or a glass or metal screen. Lit coals are then placed on top, which allows the tobacco to heat to the proper temperature.

Hookah Hose
The hose is a slender tube that allows the smoke to be drawn. The end is typically fitted with a metal, wooden, or plastic mouthpiece, and come in various shapes, sizes and colors.

Body, gasket and valve
The body of the hookah is a hollow tube with a gasket at its bottom. On some occasions the body will contain a container at the top for ice in order to cool the smoke. The gasket itself has at least one opening for the hose, but it can have more openings, thus making a multi-hosed hookah. It may also have an additional opening with a valve for clearing the smoke from the water jar rather than through the hose. The gasket seals the connection of the body of the hookah with the water jar.

Water jar
Placed at the bottom of the hookah, the water jar is a container through which the smoke from the tobacco passes before it reaches the hose. By passing through water, the smoke gains moisture and is lowered in temperature. The level of the water has to be higher than the lowest point of the body’s tube in order for the smoke to pass through it. Liquids other than water may be used, such as spirit and/or fruit juice, mint leaves with lemon slices, and in many cases, ice may be put in the bottom of the jar to dramatically lower the temperature, making for a smoother smoke.

The plate (ash tray) is usually just below the bowl and is used for “dead” coals from previous smoking sessions.

Grommets in a hookah are usually placed between the bowl and the body, the body’s gasket and the water jar and between the body and the hose. The reason for the usage of grommets although not essential (the use of paper or tape has become common) will help to seal the joints between the parts, therefore decreasing the amount of air coming in and maximizing the smoke breathed in.


The jar at the bottom of the hookah is filled with water sufficient to submerge a few centimetres of the body tube, which is sealed tightly to it. Tobacco is placed inside the bowl at the top of the hookah and a burning charcoal is placed on top of the tobacco. Some cultures cover the bowl with perforated tin foil to separate the coal and the tobacco, which minimizes inhalation of coal ash with the smoke.

When one inhales via the hose, air is pulled through the coal and into the bowl. The air, hot from the charcoal, roasts the tobacco, producing smoke. This smoke passes down through the body tube, which extends into the water in the jar. It bubbles up through the water, losing heat, and fills the top part of the jar, to which the hose is attached. When a smoker inhales from the hose, smoke passes into the lungs, and the change in pressure in the jar pulls more air through the charcoal, continuing the process.

So what do you do when the sheesha is not functioning? As it always happens with me… Smoke is either too little to not give any kick or too much to hurt your throat. This is what the Hookah Company has to say

1. Check your bowl. The most common mistake is packing the shisha too tightly. Make sure that you break the shisha apart and lightly sprinkle it into the bowl to the top. Don’t fill it past the top because you’ll be packing the shisha when you cover it with a metal screen or foil.
2. Check your charcoal. If the charcoal is covered with ash, there may not be enough heat getting to the shisha. Use your tongs to tap the charcoal ash off into your hookah tray and place the red charcoal back on your head.
3. Check your gaskets. Make sure that all of the components of the hookah are fitting nicely together. A snug fit will make the smoke flow more efficiently. You may check for a burnt gasket. Some hookahs expose the gasket and are easily burnt by charcoal that is moved around in the tray.
4 . Check your hoses. If you have multiple hoses, make sure that all ends are plugged properly. For example, if you have two or three hoses on your hookah and there is only one person smoking, you’ll need to remove the hoses and use rubber stoppers or tape to block the hose holes.

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So what’s this blog about?

Another attempt? Well yes. Attempting to figure out another sustainable model (there are some other attempts going on parallel-ly). Well, we have a lot of questions in mind. we read up stuff, we do some research to find answers to these questions. This is an attempt to publish that little 15-20 minute research.

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