How To Set Up a Hookah

Jan 16 , 2022

How To Set Up a Hookah

You can use the standard approach to set up any hookah with subtle tweaks based on its size, style, and other variable factors. This guide should help you to assemble and set up every mini, medium, or large hookah. However, you may need a few modifications per your preferences.

Fill the Base with Adequate Water

Lay out all the essential parts of a hookah on a table. Ensure every component is immaculately clean. Now, begin with the base. Place the glass base of your hookah on a table or flat surface that is reliably stable. Fill the base with tap water up to a height that will submerge at least half an inch of the down stem or pipe. You may use cold water if you want, but it isn’t necessary. 

Insert the down stem and fit it onto the base. Check the level of water. The tip of the down stem should be around half an inch up to an inch submerged. Thus, you can add water or pour out any excess depending on the volume and the position or alignment of the hookah stem’s tip. 

Assemble the Stem, Tray, and Hose

Once you are certain that the water level in the base is optimum, slide the tray down the top of the stem of your hookah, and plug the hose. The hose should fit snugly. At this stage, you may blow some air through the hose to test if there is any leak in the entire hookah setup. Cover the top of the stem with a finger, blow or exhale through the hose, and test the airflow in the system.  

Also, you may test the purge valve at this stage. A fully functional purge valve will let air out if you blow or exhale through the hose while covering the top end of the stem with your finger or hand. Such tests will tell you if anything is wrong or amiss in your hookah setup. 

Assemble a Loaded Hookah Bowl

Loading the hookah bowl with any shisha tobacco flavor needs subtle adjustments based on what you have and how you intend to enjoy the session. However, all shisha tobacco flavors must be packed with sufficient aeration inside the bowl for uniform heat distribution. Otherwise, you will have uneven heat inside the bowl, and some portions of the shisha tobacco will burn. 

Always sprinkle the shisha tobacco inside the bowl. Do not press the tobacco down to fit more in a bowl. You need sufficient air pockets inside the tobacco stuffing for uniform heating. Also, do not fill a hookah bowl up to its rim. Keep a gap between shisha tobacco and the aluminum foil or heat management device. Else, you will have some burnt shisha tobacco in your hookah bowl. 

You may use a fork or any similar tool to aerate the shisha tobacco inside the hookah bowl. Do not dab the shisha tobacco to absorb excess moisture. Let the juices be there with the shisha tobacco to extract the optimum flavors when you light up and start to smoke your hookah. 

Wrap the Bowl and Light the Charcoal

Fit the hookah bowl snugly atop the stem and wrap it with at least two pieces of aluminum foil. Or, you may fold a large piece to have a heavy-duty aluminum foil. Also, you may wrap the aluminum foil before you assemble the bowl atop the hookah stem. In contrast, a heat management device has to be placed atop the bowl after it is fitted onto the hookah stem.

Aluminum foils need a few holes or perforations to let the heat generated by the charcoal pieces dissipate downward to the shisha tobacco. A heat management device is a turnkey solution. If you use foils, poke a few holes in concentric pattern while ensuring that no perforation is too large to allow excessive heat transfer. You need tiny holes, like those made by a needle. 

Aim for at least twelve to twenty holes on the foil depending on the size of your hookah and the bowl. A concentric pattern works best as it ensures even heat distribution inside the bowl, but you can tweak the style based on your preference and the type of shisha flavor you have. 

Light the charcoal, wait until every piece is bright red or orange, thus indicating they are hot enough, and then put the briquettes, cubes, or fingers atop the aluminum foil or inside the heat management device. Don’t put partially lit charcoal atop the foil or heat management device. 

Run a Few Trial Puffs and Start Smoking

Now that your hookah is set up and ready, draw a few puffs and check the volume and quality of the smoke. All hookahs take a while to get going after you place blazing hot charcoal, so assess the flavor, texture, or smoke volume and density before making any changes to your setup.