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How to Setup a Hookah

Here's a simple guide to setting up your hookah! Be sure to watch our video for a beginners demo.


• Water

• Coals

• Torch or Stove Top ​

• Tongs

• Foil

• Poker

• Hookah with hose and bowl included

• Shisha (tobacco or cane leaves with molasses)

In order to use a hookah, you need the list above for a successful and relaxing smoke session. It also doesn’t hurt to have a couple of close friends to keep you company.

The Base Remove the downstem from the base. Pour water in the base of the hookah. As long as it is at least ¼ of an inch above the down stem, and bubbles when you take a pull through the hose, you are ready to put on the bowl.

The Bowl

Grab your favorite shisha flavor. Starbuzz Blue Mist and Fantasia Dirty Blonde are a couple of shop favorites! Don’t be scared to mix and match to taste. Press on the bag of shisha a bit to disperse the juicy molasses all around the tobacco or cane leaves. Add enough shisha to fill the bowl but don’t pack it completely – you need room for air to flow around to give you a robust flavor-filled pull. Now, wrap your foil around the top of the bowl (use non stick and non coated foils) sealing it along the sides. Use your poker to stab 6-8 holes into the foil evenly spaced, this will allow air and heat to flow freely from the coal to the shisha giving you the perfect amount of smoke. Side note: Most hookahs come with porcelain or clay bowls, and they break easily, so be gentle and zen when placing your bowl on your hookah – as long as it's snug it isn’t going anywhere. No need to force it too tight or you WILL break it.

The Coal Quick light coals make start up easy, you will want to use a torch to quickly light these, notice that the outer edges glow red when fully lit. Remember to use tongs when lighting the coals! Place the heated coal on top of the foil, and pull on the hose a few times. It may take a few pulls to get your hookah really going. Now it is time to rock and roll!

Time to Smoke Gently rotate the coal around the top of your hookah bowl to ensure that all of you shisha is burned evenly. A change in flavor and vapor production will help to determine when the bowl of shisha is finished.

Clean Up

Be sure to clean the hookah thoroughly after each session to keep your hookah looking nice and performing well. Take the hookah apart and run it under warm water then set it out to dry on a towel. This prevents build-up and grime from forming in the vase, hose, bowl, or down stem. A hookah brush can be used for the base and downstem. Check with the manufacturer before applying any detergents or cleaners to your hookah base or stem.

*The information listed above is my own, and does not necessarily reflect the views or beliefs of Buddha’s Bazaar*

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