Originally Posted by Dakins
First of all, I want to say that I respect John as a vendor and an individual. I admire his dedication to this community and I would never, ever want to harm his business or his reputation.
I've always considered ******* Hookah coals to be a cheap, decent alternative to the big players (CCN, Exotica, etc). In other words, they are a good choice for those who want the most amount for what they pay.
For the last 6 months or so, they've treated me relatively well. Sure, they smell a bit weird and smoke a little when they light up, and they ash quite a bit more than other coconut coals. But they've done the job fine and I'm overall satisfied with them.
However I've been having some issues with CH naturals lately. I don't know if it's the humidity here or something, but they have tended to crumble and break down easily. Earlier this evening, I took three CH coals out of a new, untouched box that I ordered from John himself a couple of months ago.
I lit the coals on a single coil burner and started smoking. Everything was fine and dandy until I took one of the coals off the bowl with a pair of Syrian bird tongs and the coal fell apart, breaking into three large pieces and dozens of small burning rocks that fell everywhere on the floor, on my legs (no harm done) and on the table the hookah was on.
I managed to extinguish every last bit of coal with a bottle of water that I had nearby and spent the next 10 minutes washing the water and dirt off the floor. Needless to say, this incident put a definite halt to my session.
Now, I wouldn't worry if this was the first time it happened. But tonight was the fourth time I was experiencing this and I must say I'm fed up with it. I'm not applying excessive force with the tongs and I've never heard of coals breaking down like sand mid-session.
I'm asking you all, good people of HP, to enlighten me on this issue. Has it happened to someone else? Did I get a bad batch of coals? Is it because of the change in ambient moisture between Cali and Montreal? I'd love to hear your answers.
To enlighten you, please remember that coals are compressed materials. The causes of your problems can be link to:
Damage from shipping/handling: Lets say your box of coals inside the shipping box falls on the ground, the coals will absorb the impact and some may fracture along their fault lines. Granted the packaging material may absorb some of the blow but some of it will still hurt your coals.
Humidity: Water vapor getting into your coals can cause the materials inside to expand, making the coals more and more fragile. After being lit the water evaporates out and causes more expansion, leading to fissures and cracks.
Bad Batch: This is the most unlikely cause I can think of but still a possiblity. Being that during the manufacturing process the causes above may be introduced. Also sometimes there can be materials that wont compact and bake into the coal very well.
I just want to say that out of every coal I have used so far CH are the best. I do agree that some of the bigger names might have better product but again for a bigger pricetag. You should contact John about your issues aswell, maybe he can track it better for you.