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The Hookah - Its History, Manufacture & Enjoyment

What is a Hookah?
A Hookah, also known as an, arguileh, or nargileh, is an ancient water pipe used to smoke flavored tobacco.

Hookah History
The nargile (Hookah, huka, hooka) first became popular in the primitive form of a coconut shell in India and soon became one of the oldest and most popular traditions in Turkey. There is no discrimination when it comes to smoking the hookah, as men and women equally partake and enjoy its aromatic offering. Before reaching the rest of the world, hookah popularity spread to Iran, which is widely recognized as the launch pad to global popularity. Even though Iran was the first stop in global stardom, it was in Turkey where design and tradition truly took the form of the cultural characteristic of the region, and has remained relatively unchanged for generations. Even though the hookah entered popular culture over 500 years ago, it still remains a social mainstay for much of the world. It soon became clear there was a social educate to working the hookah, from passing the hose, to lighting the coals, to changing the tobacco. But don't worry, hookah smokers are generally patient, thoughtful people who are more than willing to help you learn. Between the surreal calm and subtle customs surrounding the elaborate and often painstakingly designed hookah, its tradition soon became ingrained in Turkish culture, providing pleasure to millions. Today, you can find people enjoying hookahs in homes, restaurants and cafes around the world. In New York, there are seven lounges named after the word Nargilah! In addition to its pleasant scent and calming effects, non-smokers also find great fun in hookah smoking, as the tobacco is not burned but heated to extract it's aroma and flavor. Moreover, even cigarette smokers replace their favorite brand for the enjoyment of a good hookah. It's really that good!

How Does it Work?
We get this question often, so to help the new hookah enthusiast better understand how it all works, we have provided this crash course on hookah anatomy. The main body of the hookah is made of a pipe that runs from the top, where the clay bowl attaches, all the way to the glass base. Surrounding the pipe is hand worked decorative metal. There is a port for inserting a hose, and on the other side, there is a one way bleeder valve. Each port has a passage into the glass base. There are hookahs made that have multiple hose junctions, and come in 2, 3, 4 and 6 hose versions. When you smoke a hookah, the tobacco is placed into the clay bowl on the top, and is heated with a coal. The coal does not actually burn the tobacco, as is the case with a pipe, or a cigarette, it dries and evaporates the shisha tobacco for a smoother, milder smoke. By drawing on the hose, the air pressure inside the glass base is lowered and thus, air is pulled in from the only available source, the top of the pipe. The air flow heats the coal, which heats the shisha tobacco, pulling the smoke down a tube into the water contained in the base. The smoke passing through the water, is filtered, and cools, smoothing out the smoke before it enters the glass base where it is then rushed through the hose to the smoker. The bleeder valve acts as a one way passage for air, and is used to blow the smoke that collects in the glass base out of the hookah. The reason for doing this, is usually the result of smoke that is too thick, stale, or it's just time to change the tobacco to a different flavor. Always clear the base of smoke if the tobacco is starting to burn or become harsh.

Hookah Care
Washing your hookah after every use is highly recommended, especially when changing flavors. Some flavors are stronger than others and there remains of flavor might still be in the hookah if not cleaned. Brush the insides of the metal mid-section with a cleaning kit brush. Also, wash the glass base after each use with warm water. Discard any water after each use. Do not run water through the hose. Simply blow into your hose after each use to get rid of residue build up. To clean the outside, Brasso does a great job polishing up the brass parts of the Hookah. Chrome or aluminum non abrasive cleaners will do the job on the aluminum parts. The glass base should be polished up with Windex on the outside and wiped clean with a dry towel, or a newspaper (works perfectly). Keeping up with this cleaning schedule every two weeks or so, will keep your precious Hookah in the best smoking condition and looking as good as ever!

Hookah Parts Top to Bottom
CHARCOAL SCREEN: Separates the charcoal from the tobacco.
CLAY BOWL: Holds the shisha.
BOWL GROMMET: Seals the bowl.
TRAY: Catches falling ashes.
SHAFT: Enables the smoke to pass from the bowl to the base.
HOSE GROMMET: Seals the hose.
HOSE: Enables you to draw the smoke from the hookah.
AIR VALVE: Enables smoke release when the base fills to capacity.
BASE GROMMET: Seals the shaft to base.
GLASS BASE: The smoke chamber, which should be filled 1 to 2 inches with water to filter the smoke.

Calabash
Hookah Care
Washing your hookah after every use is highly recommended, especially when changing flavors. Some flavors are stronger than others and there remains of flavor might still be in the hookah if not cleaned. Brush the insides of the metal mid-section with a cleaning kit brush. Also, wash the glass base after each use with warm water. Discard any water after each use. Do not run water through the hose. Simply blow into your hose after each use to get rid of residue build up. To clean the outside, Brasso does a great job polishing up the brass parts of the Hookah. Chrome or aluminum non abrasive cleaners will do the job on the aluminum parts. The glass base should be polished up with Windex on the outside and wiped clean with a dry towel, or a newspaper (works perfectly). Keeping up with this cleaning schedule every two weeks or so, will keep your precious Hookah in the best smoking condition and looking as good as ever!

Hookah Setup Instructions
  • Please make sure that you have a Stem, Base, Snap On Tray, set of Tongs, Bowl with Bowl Grommets, and Hose with Hose Grommets.
  • Now fill up your Base with water, making sure that the water level reaches the bottom of the bottle neck.
  • Moisten the Base Grommet using a small amount of water.
  • Insert your Shaft into the Base in a clockwise fashion.
  • Place the Snap On Tray over the top of the Shaft, securing it in place.
  • Place the Bowl grommet over the top of the Shaft.
  • In order to setup your Bowl, it is recommended that you have the following materials available: Flavored Tobacco, Tongs, Metal Bowl Screen/Tin Foil.
  • Break up the Flavored Tobacco in order to experience a smoother smoke.
  • Loosely sprinkle Flavored Tobacco into the Bowl, making sure that you do not fill it above the top of the Bowl.
  • Secure the Metal Bowl Screen on top of the Bowl, or wrap some tin foil around the top of the Bowl.
  • Please make sure that you poke small holes into the Tin Foil if you are not using a Metal Bowl Screen.
  • Place the completed Bowl on top of the Shaft, securing it onto the Bowl Grommet.
  • Using the Tongs, light a piece of Charcoal and place it on top of the Metal Bowl Screen/Tin Foil.
  • Take a couple puffs in order to get the Hookah going.
  • Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

What is Shisha?
Shisha is a mixture of tobacco, treacle, honey or sugar, and distilled water with fruit flavors. Shisha tobacco is very light and flavorful with a wonderful fruity aroma. Shisha is not your typical tobacco. It's nothing like cigars, cigarettes, or chewing tobacco. Smoking true narguile shisha is entirely different. Shisha tobacco is smoked for the wonderful flavors and aromas. Smoking shisha always encourages a peaceful and relaxing social environment. Some of the most popular flavors of shisha are apple, melon, strawberry, apricot, rose, peach, and even cola and coffee. Many people mix different flavors of shisha tobacco together while smoking, to come up with there own unique flavor experience.

Hookah Stuff Everyone Needs
Be sure and have charcoals, shisha, extra hoses and tips, cleaning tools, extra bowls. These accessories are very important to your hookah experience.




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