How to Properly Light and Manage Hookah Coals

May 09 , 2023

How to Properly Light and Manage Hookah Coals

Hookah coals are a vital part of the hookah smoking experience and come in natural and chemically-enhanced varieties. They create heat to burn the hookah tobacco and produce the smoke that is inhaled. The quality, duration, and flavor of the smoke session are influenced by the type of coals used. Unevenly burned hookah charcoal cannot provide the necessary heat to extract the flavors from the hookah shisha. Furthermore, your hookah will not create the volume of smoke you desire. Igniting and managing the coals properly is crucial for an enjoyable smoking experience.

In this Khalil Maamoon article, we will assist you in determining how to properly light and manage your hookah coals and maximize your hookah and shisha adventure.

Natural or Instant-Light Hookah Coals?

Two types of coals are available for hookah smoking: instant-light coals with added chemicals and natural coal. The debate over which type of coal to use continues to divide opinions, but the decision ultimately depends on your personal preference. Understanding the pros and cons of each type of hookah charcoal is crucial for a quality, long-lasting, and flavorful smoke. Natural charcoal, specifically wood hookah charcoal made from bamboo, orange or lemon wood, is the traditional choice for most smokers and adds an extra punch to the flavor. Novice and inexperienced smokers commonly prefer instant-light coals.

How to Light Instant-Light Hookah Coals?

If you're using instant or quick-light hookah charcoal, the lighting process is relatively simple. Using a pair of tongs, firmly grip a piece of charcoal. Light the charcoal using a lighter or matchstick, and as it starts to burn, you'll notice it sparkling. Wait until the whole piece of charcoal is sparkling before turning off the lighter. Allow the coal to become red and then gray before placing it on top of your foil-covered hookah bowl. It can start glowing within seconds with the help of a lighter, which is quicker than using a matchstick.  However, you need to wait for the charcoal to fully burn, which can take over a minute based on its quality. 

How to Light Coconut Hookah Coals?

Coconut hookah charcoals, which are made of compressed coconut husk, are a preferred choice among experienced hookah smokers and hookah lounges. Lighting coconut hookah charcoals requires a bit more effort than instant-light coals, but it is still relatively simple. Using a hookah coal lighter or a gas stove flame, the coals should be allowed to cook for five minutes on high heat before being flipped and cooked for another three to four minutes on the other side. Once they have turned gray all over with a light layer of ash, they are ready to be used in your hookah. Natural charcoal takes around five to ten minutes to burn properly, irrespective of whether you use a gas stove or a charcoal burner.

How to Light Wood Hookah Coals?

Experienced hookah smokers know that wood hookah charcoal made from lemonwood, orange wood, or bamboo can provide subtle flavor enhancement to the smoke. An external lighter is needed to heat the coals for about five minutes on high before flipping them and heating them for a few more minutes. The coals will be ready to use when they turn orange-red and then gray-white. Natural wood hookah coals have the same slow and steady burn as coconut husk coals, but they also enhance the flavor of the smoke, making them a favorite among frequent hookah smokers and aficionados.

Different Ways to Properly Light and Manage Hookah Coals?

There are various methods for lighting and managing hookah charcoal, depending on the type of charcoal used. For quick or instant-light charcoal, a lighter or matchstick can be used. Securely hold the charcoal with tongs and ignite it until it turns red and gray, then place it on the tobacco-packed hookah bowl. For natural charcoal like coconut husk or wood, a gas stove or charcoal burner can be used. Place the charcoal on the flame and wait until it turns red and gray before putting it on the hookah bowl. Charcoal burners and lighters designed for hookah charcoal are available and can effectively manage natural charcoal. Investing in a burner can be a good idea.

Heat Management Device: Managing Your Hookah Coals

A heat management device can be a useful tool for regulating the heat that reaches your shisha during a hookah session. Unlike tin foil, which is commonly used to cover the bowl, a heat management device can provide more precise control over the intensity and distribution of heat. You should still wait until they turn completely white or gray before placing them on the top of the bowl and using your hookah.

We hope you got all the knowledge you needed and are now all set for a hot, flavorful smoking adventure.