Answering Your Shisha / Hookah Questions

Jul 05 , 2022

Answering Your Shisha / Hookah Questions

Hookah is older than cigarettes. In fact, water pipes have a history of more than 2,000 years, albeit hookahs aren’t that ancient. The west hasn’t been familiar with hookah or shisha for ages, so most people have numerous questions. Here’s our attempt to answer some of your queries.

What Is Hookah?

Hookah is a water pipe. The apparatus has many parts and water serves as the cooling and filtering medium. Here are the components that make a modern hookah:

  • A glass base
  • A stem or pipe
  • A clay bowl
  • A silicone hose
  • A metallic tray
  • A pair of tongs
  • A purge valve
  • Three grommets
  • Plastic mouth tips
  • Tobacco flavors
  • Hookah charcoal
  • Lighter or burner
  • Aluminum foils
  • Heat management device

A hookah kit doesn’t include shisha tobacco flavors, charcoal, lighter or burner, aluminum foil, or heat management device. Also, most kits don’t have mouth tips that are usually disposable. But many kits have cleaning brushes. 

What Is Shisha?

Shisha is an alternative word used for hookah. These two terms have origin stories, the reason why they are used interchangeably. Hookah used to refer to smoking pipes. Shisha is literally a word for glass, which is what the base is made of. So, hookah and shisha mean the same thing.

What Is the History of Hookah?

Hookah originated in either India or Persia, present-day Iran. However, there are origin stories in Africa and other parts of the Middle East. But no reliable record exists other than its roots in Iran or Persia and India. 

Hookah was designed as a smoking tool using a pipe and water as the filtering medium for the royalty, notably the Mughal Emperor of India, Akbar. Incidentally, Akbar’s physician credited with developing the hookah was Persian, so something like hookah was in use there, too. 

What Is Hookah or Shisha Made Of?

Hookah bases are usually made of glass, while the bowls are clay, which could be earthenware or stoneware. The stems are generally metal or alloy. The hose is silicone nowadays. The seals or grommets are plastic or rubber. Hookah or shisha tobacco is a blend of many ingredients. 

How Is Shisha Different from Cigarettes?

Cigarettes contain tobacco mixed with hundreds of chemicals. Hookah or shisha tobacco does not have these chemicals and other undisclosed substances. Also, cigarettes and cigars involve burning the tobacco. Hookah or shisha doesn’t burn the tobacco but heats it through convection. 

What Is Hookah Tobacco?

Shisha or hookah tobacco uses dried, cured, and processed leaves of the nicotiana plant mixed with glycerin, molasses, and honey, in some cases. Hookah tobacco is either dark leaf or blonde leaf. Dark leaf is bolder than blonde or orange variants, but both come in various flavors. 

What Is Shisha Flavor?

Shisha flavor is the additive infused into the hookah tobacco. The flavors can be fruits, spices, herbs, and other delicious edibles. Shisha tobacco may have one or more flavors. The latter is a category of blends, which you can also make by mixing different flavors in the hookah bowl.  

What Is Herbal Tobacco?

Herbal tobacco doesn’t use leaves from the nicotiana plant. Instead, tea leaves or other herbs are used as the source of the leaves. Subsequently, the leaves are processed and flavored to make the final shisha flavors. 

Does Shisha Tobacco Contain Nicotine?

Shisha tobacco contains nicotine unless a particular pack says that it doesn’t. Generally, orange or blonde leaf tobacco contains less nicotine than the dark leaf variants. Having said that, most shisha flavors don’t have any added or infused nicotine, which isn’t uncommon for cigarettes. 

How Does Smoking Shisha Feel Like?

Smoking shisha is delightfully flavorful. The clouds of smoke are fuller and richer with a distinct texture, especially compared to cigarettes and cigars. Also, there’s much less nicotine. But all shisha flavors containing nicotine provide a subtle high or kick, albeit not anything harsh. 

What Is a Shisha or Hookah Pen?

Shisha pen is a portable hookah, almost like vapes or e-cigarettes. While the pens are marketed as mini hookahs, they aren’t the same as the original and whole apparatus. Go for a traditional shisha or hookah with the full apparatus if you want an authentic experience. 

How Much Shisha Do I Put in a Hookah Bowl?

The quantity of shisha tobacco in a bowl depends on the former’s strength and the latter’s size. Always fill a hookah bowl with sufficient air pockets so that the heat can dissipate evenly. Also, don’t fill a hookah bowl up to the rim, regardless of the shisha tobacco or flavor.  

How Much Water Do I Put in a Hookah Base?

Fill the hookah base with water up to the level where the down stem of the pipe is submerged around an inch. If your hookah stem has a diffuser, ensure this part is completely under water inside the glass base. Don’t overfill a hookah base. Also, replenish the water when necessary. 

Can Shisha Tobacco Flavors Go Bad?

Shisha tobacco flavors don’t expire per se. However, the tobacco will dry if it is exposed to air. Exposure to heat may aggravate the deterioration. Also, shisha tobacco flavors will lose the potency and the deliciousness and texture after a certain time, which is usually several months.