Setting Up Your Hookah

Hookah set up

  • Fill the glass base about half full of water. Submerge the bottom of the stem about 1 ½” into the water.
  • Place the large black rubber base grommet onto the bottom of the metal stem. Insert the metal stem into the glass base by applying pressure downward while rotating the stem so it fits snugly.
  • Place the circular ashtray on top of the metal hookah stem.
  • Place the rubber bowl grommet (the larger rubber grommet) onto the top of the metal hookah stem. Place the ceramic tobacco bowl on top of the grommet to create an airtight seal. Be sure not to push the bowl onto the stem too hard, as this may split the bowl in two pieces.
  • Insert the hose grommet (the smaller grommet) into the hose port on the metal hookah stem. Place the wooden end of the hose into the rubber hose grommet and secure snugly to create an airtight seal. Do this for all hoses if using a multiple hose hookah.
  • Sprinkle some hookah tobacco into the clay bowl. Be sure not to over pack the bowl, as you want good airflow through the tobacco. Also, it is advisable to keep a small amount of airspace between the top of the tobacco and the underside of the foil, not more than ¼”.
  • Cover the tobacco in the bowl with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side down. Punch holes in the foil w/ a large pushpin or any pointed object.


  • Try to make the hole pattern fit the size of charcoal you’ll be using. Too many holes will result in fresh, unheated air to combine with the hookah smoke resulting in a less thick smoke. A fork can be used to quickly create a 4 x 4 hole pattern.
  • A) Quick-lighting charcoals. Use the charcoal pincers to secure a piece of charcoal while igniting it with a lighter or match. Let the charcoal continue sparking until no chemical igniter is left. Blow on the charcoal until it is red hot and place on top of foil covered bowl.


  • B) Natural charcoals. Natural coals are not quick lighting and therefore require more exposure to heat to get them red hot. Set the charcoal on either a gas or an electric stovetop burner for best results. This takes about 8 to 12 minutes. A blowtorch from any hardware store works well too, but requires constant attention.
  • When the coal has a grey coating, place the coal on top of the foil.
  • The metal charcoal windscreen can be used when smoking outdoors to prevent the wind from blowing hot charcoal or ash. The windscreen can also be used indoors to prevent a hot charcoal from burning the floor.
  • The air exchange valve, or one-way valve, allows the user to clear stale or overly thick smoke form the glass base. This is done by blowing into the hose and pushing the used smoke out through the air exchange valve. The valve is blocked off by a steel ball bearing, which prohibits fresh air from entering the hookah when sucking on the hose.
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Hookah Preparation

hookah-barPreparation. You have now purchased your Hookah and are eager to try it out. Please wash the Hookah thoroughly before using it for the first time. Always wash your hookah thoroughly, to get rid of the old tobacco smell and dirt and never re-use the old water in the vase. Fill the vase with water such that the stem of the hookah is submerged approximately one inch in the water. Some people also put the glass vase in the freezer to cool down for a short time (10 to 15 minutes). Fit the middle section onto the vase. Some hookahs come with a plastic seal that goes in between the vase and the metal argile to keep it from losing smoke or drawing in unwanted air.

Attachment. Place the tray on the argile. The tray is used to place your extra coals on, catch any spillage and as a place to store the hookah tong. Now its time to attach the hose to the Hookah Some hookahs have more than one hose. If you own one of those, either attach them all, or seal the ones that you are not using with a plastic seal (it’s usually supplied with the Hookah). When you are not smoking, always keep your fingers at the end of the hose. This keeps the hose air-tight and allows for better smoke for those who are smoking. Most of the hoses have a plastic part that goes between hookah’s argile and the hose itself. Make sure that this is firmly in place, to keep the end of the hose air tight

Packing the shisha. This is a very important step. When you put the tobacco in the bowl don’t just push it in there. Sprinkle the tobacco in small amounts, to allow air between the tobacco pieces so that the heat from the coal can travel freely through the tobacco. This also allows the tobacco to burn more evenly. Another option is to sprinkle the tobacco in the bowl and then make a small hole in the middle. Place the aluminum foil on top of the bowl. Cut the aluminum foil into squares about 2 inches larger than the bowls diameter. For health reasons the shiny part of the aluminum foil must be face down.

Making holes in the foil. Make holes in the aluminum foil. Use an object with a sharp tip such as pin or toothpick. Start with a small hole in the center and make circles of holes around it. If you want larger amount of smoke in the beginning, you can put one or two deep, larger holes toward the sides of the bowl such that the hole goes through the tobacco. This will let oxygen travel through the tobacco better and help it burn more. The holes are made to let oxygen into the bowl in order to allow the tobacco to burn. So if you put too many holes, the tobacco will burn faster and you might get a burned smell. If you have too few holes, the tobacco won’t burn as well.

Lighting the coals and smoking the hookah. Now we can light the coals and put them on the hookah head. Light the coal and place it on the aluminum foil. It is usually best to place the coal slightly to one side of the bowl, and when this coal is burned, place the new coal on the opposite side. And finally we are ready to Smoke the Hookah. In the beginning the hookah may need a little time to start smoking, so be patient.

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