Originally Posted by CPX
My method is almost exactly the same using 3 coals to start out and then removing one when the bowl starts smoking good. Then I move the coals from one side of the bowl to the other in a cross shape after I ash and flip. Here's the hole pattern I make when using the Vortex. This is with one layer of heavy duty foil.
After the bowl is packed loosely, I also use a poker and make sure there is a gap of space around the spire in the center so that the holes are not blocked and that there is good air flow.
The second go has been much better than the first. I went with this method this time, paying especially careful attention to the hole pattern. I also doubled up the foil--although I'm already using a relatively heavy foil. I'm currently smoking AF Guava (my favorite shisha!) The smoke has been great. Smooth and fresh, thick clouds, rich flavor. Very nice. I'm not a huge fan of how much attention the coals want, but it's definitely a good experience.
Once there's a video demonstration up of the other hole pattern, I'll give that one a try too.