How to Setup a Shisha Pipe
Shisha, Sheesha, Hookahs, Nargile, Water pipes, Hubble Bubble or Chicha. They’re all the same thing. They are traditional Middle Eastern smoking devices that have become popular across the globe. Taking a casual drag of hookah is one thing, but what if you’ve purchased your own Shisha and need some help setting it up? You’ve come to the right place if you’re lost and don’t know what to do.
1. Preparing your pipe
Make sure your pipe is clean and dry before using it. Start off by filling the glass base with water so that approximately 1 inch (60%-70% of the base) of the metal tube is submerged below the water line. The area left above this is where the smoke will mix with air and cool further. Too much water makes it hard to suck the smoke through and leaves little space left for the smoke to mix with air resulting in much stronger smoke.
Attach the Pipe(Stem) onto the glass water bottle base, place the rubber hose grommet in the hole then attach the hose to the pipe as shown in the image above:
2. Preparing the molasses
If you’re new to using a Shisha pipe, start off by trying a small amount of Molasses first to practice getting it right. Place the Molasses into the clay bowl. We recommend about 8g of Molasses per smoke. Break up the Molasses rather than putting it in to ensure the molasses are not compacted otherwise the air will not pass through and will make the smoke strong and give a burnt flavour.
TIP: Using a cocktail stick, try to make a hole the size of a pencil in the middle so that you can see the central hole in the base. This will allow for better airflow and better smoking experience.
Place the metal charcoal tray on the pipe, the rubber grommet in clay bowl then finally the clay bowl onto the pipe to ensure an air tight seal (see diagram below).
Take a small piece of aluminium foil, big enough to cover the opening of the bowl. Wrap the foil over the top so that the surface is tight. Use a toothpick to punch 5-6 holes in the foil. You may want to suck on the mouth piece to see if enough air flows through the pipe. If its an effort to draw air you may want to make some more hole or ensure the Molasse is not too tightly packed. Try to make one of the holes go right through into one of the the holes in the bowl.
TIP: Blow into the mouth piece to clear any molasses that may cover the central hole(s).
3. Lighting the charcoal
If you are using Self Igniting coal (e.g. Swift Lights) then light the charcoal and wait about 1 minute after it has stopped sparkling before placing it on the foil using the tongs provided. If you are using Natural Charcoal, light it somewhere safe (like your cooker) and wait until it is glowing before placing it on the foil. PLEASE NOTE: If you place the charcoal on the foil too early you’ll be smoking the charcoal fumes before you get any flavour.
TIP: Try placing the charcoal on the outside of the bowl and working it around the edges of the bowl. The centre of the bowl should be the last place your charcoal is placed.
If you have a Windcover, use it to prevent the charcoal falling off in case someone knocks your pipe. A wind cover also preserves charcoal by keeping the heat from escaping. (See image below).
Congratulations, your Shisha pipe is now ready to smoke! Suck on the hose (with a mouth tip on the end of the hose if necessary) to draw smoke. we advise sucking gently to start with so the molasses heats gently, sucking too hard will result in the top molasses burning which will taint the rest of if with a charred taste. Long gentle draws will help the heat pass through the Molasse.
Finally, add some friends and enjoy!
- Always use tongs or another appropriate utensil when handling hot charcoal
- Make sure the charcoal your using is not crumbly before lighting it or you’ll have trouble transferring it from the charcoal pan to the pipe.
- Light the charcoal outside or in the kitchen. If smoking indoors, this will prevent your ‘smoking’ room from filling up with unwanted charcoal smoke. This will also protect your carpet in the unlikely event some sparks fall onto the carpet.
- Ensure the hookah pipe is stable before placing the charcoal. It’s a good idea to place the pipe on a hard flat surface such as a large tile available from any DIY store. If you have expensive carpets you may want to place a thick cotton sheet around the smoking area in case you knock the pipe over.
- Use a large wind cover to prevent the charcoal falling off if you’re used to using a large quantity of Molasse or round natural charcoal.