Hookahpro.com has a wealth of information reviews online Vendors, shisha brands and flavors, hookah pipes, and much much more.
The following information I gathered and consolidated from HookahPro Review sections and through rifling through the forum.
I've checked out the following sites, and would recommend you check out the reviews for the following sites in HookahPro's Vendor Review Section.
***Just listing the names of websites does not do justice to the superb customer service of some/all of these websites. I cannot encourage my fellow noobs enough to check out the vendor reviews section***
Hoses can make a significant
impact on your smoking session. The general consensus: The best hoses are Razan
hoses, Nammor Hoses, and KM hoses. *Note Nammor and Razan hoses are washable, but KM hoses are not.*
~~"The Nammor or Razan hose is like night and day compared to a regular hose. Bigger bore = easier draw, and it's washable. If you decide to get one you will find that it's the best money you'll ever spend on a hookah accessory." ~Dunkel
~~"Razans and Nammors are sweet hoses." ~sammniamii
~~"It has really good pull and it cleans pretty simply." ~xsmokethisx
~~"I just picked up a razan hose from MNH and all I can say is DAMN! I think at one point, the hose was actually blowing the smoke into my mouth!Whole notha' level!" ~~ abu ronin
~~"Tons of smoke and very easy to clean." ~larrypzlast
These two types of hoses will run you 20+ dollars but they have a great draw and most importantly, are washable. Other hoses, such as the KM hoses, may not be washable and since they are made of leather, can retain flavors from past smoking sessions. That goes without saying that leather KM hoses are quality, and that one can have a great session with a KM hose. (more information on this specific topic can be found by making use of Hookahpro's great search engine).
No single brand of Shisha boasts amazingness in every flavor, check out Product Reviews/Shisha for more info.
Al Amir: (AA) Heard good things about AA White Grape, but don't know too much about AA.
Al Fakher (AF): Pretty inexpensive brand of Shisha that boasts some of HookahPro member's favorite flavors. AF has different lines of tobacco, ie Golden AF, which also has a well-liked flavors. (AF can be inconsistent in its greatness).
Al Waha: A pretty inexpensive brand of shisha that has some well-liked flavors, but it is not as popular as AF.
Fusion: Know very little about it.
Hookah Hookah: (HH) Heard good things about HH Strawberry, but don't know too much about HH.
Nahkla: Nahkla is a pretty inexpensive, dryer shisha that packs a heavy buzz; it also boasts some community favorite flavors. Nahkla also has different shisha lines, like Nahkla Sherazade, Nahkla Mizo.
Potion: Know very little about it.
Romman: A premium shisha that has some very well-liked flavors. It's a more expensive than the cheaper brands.
Starbuzz: (SB) A more expensive brand of shisha that packs a light to very light buzz. It is made with honey instead of molasses.
Tangiers: A very wet shisha that includes different strands of shisha. Some people swear by Tangiers others think it too complicated, or not worth the effort. While it's recommended that Tangiers be smoked in a Phunnel bowl, it has some washed lines of shisha that would not require it.
~There are tons of brands of shisha, some more well-known than others. Look around to find out more.
**Note: Search the forums for various well-liked mixes, and don't forget to check out Product Reviews/Shisha for more information.
Tangiers Shisha Tips:
(I would not recommend tangiers
to a my fellow noob hookahers for their first type of shisha because it is complicated).
**Overpack your bowl, but don’t super overpack it.
**Use less heat than you normally would. Too much heat will make it taste gross.
**Highly recommend smoking with a Tangiers Phunnel
**Tangiers flavors need to be left in an open container for up to 24 hours to “acclimate” before the flavor is at its optimum taste and smokeability.
Scoop’s guide to pack Tangiers shisha:
[LIST][*]Too little tobacco in the bowl. Be greedy with the amount you pack into the bowl. Less shisha makes the smoke thin and harsh.[*]Too few holes in the foil (not an issue with a screen). Also makes the smoke thin and harsh.[*]Tangiers required less heat than most shishas. Too much coal will cause the shisha to burn and smoke harshly. Try taking some coal of, or breaking the coal apart and spreading out the pieces.[/LIST] If you're getting good smoke, but it feels harsh, take some charcoal off. If you aren't getting much smoke, there is probably too little tobacco or too few a holes in the foil.
Frequently, the tobacco will smoke a little harsh for the first five minutes or so, but once the bowl gets up to temperature the whole thing will smooth out into smoking mode.
-Info pulled from Hookah Life
Quotes from the community about Tangiers:
~~"For you guys that want to mix the Tangiers with another shisha for a smaller buzz, I would suggest cutting the tangiers into smaller pieces with a knife. Mix it all together with your hands, then pack it up. I do this when I smoke with certain freinds. Layalina seems to work really well for me. "~Iamscott06 (6/24/08)
~~"Firstly you want to use room temperature to cool water in your hookah not cold." ~Hman (6/24/08)
~~"When packing you want to rips the shisha up a little so it is in very small pieces and a little below the brim. Poke your holes in the foil as many as you can get and as small as you can get" ~Hman (6/24/08)
~~"My acclimating method is to put the Tangiers in a tupperware bowl and stir it up with a plastic fork, let it sit out in the air for 4-6 hours stirring every 30 minutes. After that you just need to put the lid on it and enjoy it.” ~huskysibe (6/24/08)
~~"Acclimating is getting the humidity in the tobacco to the same humidity in your climate. Tangiers Tobacco goes through humidity shock when you open it if your humidity is different than So Cals. So you must let it sit in the open air in a tupperware container for up to 6 hours stirring every 1/2-1 hour or so." ~ huskysibe (6/24/08)
~~"Acclimation is VERY important key! If it still smells like BBQ or soy sauce, it is not done." ~Jillyisjustkidding (6/24/08)
~~"poke a LOT of toothpick holes
use very LITTLE heat"
^^P.S.^^ If you missed it, those quotes refer specifically to Tangiers shisha. Secondly, there are new lines of Tangiers that are washed and may vary from the lines of Tangiers these refer to. Look up shisha reviews for tangiers for more details.
I hear people talking about Grommets, i've see these little rubber thingy's in picture. What do they do?
"Okay. The hookah has 3 major types of grommets. Most are made from rubber or plastic
First is the base grommet. The base grommet is designed to fit around the base part of the stem to insure a seal between the stem and the base of the hookah. With the larger lip of the grommet should butt up to the bottom of the stem where the thinner section of the grommet will wedge into the base completing the seal.
Other grommets are the Hose Grommet which goes in the hose port on the stem to insure an air tight seal of the hose. And the Bowl grommet which insures an air tight seal between the the bowl and the stem."
VII. Hookah Pipes:
There are many different kinds of Hookahs; no one brand can be considered "the best."
- Pros: They are more decorative than most other hookahs, most are made of brass which is heavy and last forever.
- Cons: Most are more expensive, and most of them are common chambered (except for the Nour Syrians John at CH carries) so they don't purge well and don't draw as well as a standard chamber.
(KMs) (Egyptian brand of Hookah)- Pros: Most are very nice looking, they hit and purge well, and they are one of the best reviewed hookahs by folks that own them. (Egyptians have a wider inner stem diameter for a good long draw)
~~ Cons: Their welds aren't as clean as some other name brand hookahs are (KMs are hand made), they sell out fast so finding what you want could prove difficult, and you have to shop around to get a decent price (some vendors charge $30 or more for the same identical model that another vendor offers)
- Pros: They are factory made so they are consistent, and if you are looking for a hookah that can become a multi hose when needed it's pretty much the only game in town.
~~ Cons: They are made in China in factories (not handcrafted), they are way over priced, their have been quite a few reports about the vases being junk, and they are common chambered so they don't purge or hit as well as a standard chambered hookah.
(MZs) (Egyptian brand of Hookah)- Pros: They are attractive, welds are cleaner than most other hookahs, they hit and purge well, lots of different models and they are the least expensive and solidly made name brand hookah, and there are lots of models readily available from several vendors. (Egyptians have a wider inner stem diameter for a good long draw)
~~ Cons: Don't come with the same quality of hose that their fellow Egyptian brand (KMs) have. Though very similar to KMs, MZs are not as popular on HookahPro, as KMs are famous for their amazing smoke-ability. " KM's have a more of a designer base and come with a more expensive KM style hose. "
Breakdown of Various Metals
**(The following is a quote from the HookahPro member, Fursaken)
What types of metals are used to make hookahs?
The most common are Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Brass, and some copper.
Identification of Metal
You will never know the true material used in the construction of your hookah until you get past the plating. The plating is just a layer of metal that has been anodized on to the base metal to offer protection or just to give it a nice finish. But here is a way to identify your metal just by color and feel.
Has a light gray appearance when unfinished, unbroken surface. Normally white when newly fractured or given a newly filed/sanded surface. A very light metal and relatively strong metal. It is an expensive metal depending on the series/quality, but easy to fabricate. Non-Ferrous.
Stainless Steel -
Has a dark grey appearance when unfinished and has unbroken surface Medium gray tone when newly fractured and bright silvery gray when newly surfaced when filed or sanded. Stainless is a heavier metal and abit more expensive to fabricate. A ferrous metal and will easily magnetize.
Reddish yellow, yellow-green, or brown appearance when unfinished and unbroken. Red to yellow when newly fractured, and reddish yellow to yellowish white when newly filed or sanded. Brass is a very soft and ductile metal, works with ease and easy manipulated. Problem is metal can be too soft, easily dented and dinged. Becomes expensive overtime because it is so soft. Non-Ferrous.
- Reddish brown to green color when unfinished and unbroken. Bright red when newly fractured and freshly filed. Copper is a very versatile metal and is very ductile, malleable, strong, and easily machined. Very inexpensive to fabricate and easily used. Non-Ferrous.
Should be every hookah goer’s nightmare, besides breaking a base or running out of shisha. Corrosion is when a metal begins to oxidize and break down in composition. Brass and copper normally create "Verdigris" when breaking down, ferrous' metal equivalent to rust. Verdigris a greenish-white substance, chalky in feel, and sometimes bitter in taste. It can be dangerous to your health if left unchecked and also can cause your stem and various components to become brittle and fail.
We all know what rust is, and if you don't. Hurt yourself for the greater good.
There are many ways to prevent corrosion, but nothing is 100% unless you paint it or anodize it. Your rig will corrode over time and you can count on it, like dying and spam. And cookies...
Most common way to prevent corrosion is to prevent scratching or abrasion upon the newly anodized surface. Also cleaning your hookah greatly comes into play and here is why. Letting your hookah sit overnight or for a few hours before tending to it after a great session can be a helping hand to corrosion. Wash your hookah with a liquid with a near neutral pH balance like water, lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar. Avoid heavy bases and acids like beer and compound cleaners. These can actually act as a catalyst and drastically speed up oxidation.
Another great way to combat corrosion is to force dry your hookah. This is accomplished by wiping it down after cleaning it and forcing air through it using hair dryer of setting it by a vent. The less amount of time water has time to sit on your hookah, the less you risk for corrosion.
Verdigris is easily removed with a small wire brush and baking soda or lemon juice. Don't be afraid to use some elbow grease on it.
Is it harmful to smoke from copper?
This as been a long debated subject, and will continue to be. There is no long term research on the side effects of smoking from copper. There are many different grades of copper and each one acts differently when used in different processes and functions, so studying the metal has been hard.
I will give you my personal opinion, but be aware I am not a scientist nor a doctor, just another welder.
I do believe that copper is harmful when heated and if becomes oxidized, and using copper in a hookah will only increase your exposure limit to it. That amount could be the needed amount to take you under, use caution. I will leave it at that.
"People that live in houses that still have copper plumbing are exposed to higher levels of copper than most people, because copper is released into their drinking water through corrosion of pipes.
Long-term exposure to copper can cause irritation of the nose, mouth and eyes and it causes headaches, stomachaches, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea. Intentionally high uptakes of copper may cause liver and kidney damage and even death. Whether copper is carcinogenic has not been determined yet.
There are scientific articles that indicate a link between long-term exposure to high concentrations of copper and a decline in intelligence with young adolescents. Whether this should be of concern is a topic for further investigation." - Lenntech Water Treatment & Air Purification
FDA has done its own research on Copper and allied uses, but I am having trouble recovering it. I will post it as soon as I can acquire it.
This is by far the greatest invention besides beer, sliced bread, condoms, and skateboarding.
The exposure when using foil is there. There is transfer of chemical that burn off the foil and into the water. This is where most of them are caught and trapped into the water, but you will still pull some into your lungs. The burn off isn't in great amounts, cause the coals will essentially burn majority of chemicals of within a few minutes. The overall exposure is extremely slight and insignificant.
Keep enjoying that great invention.
VIII. Current Events
6/23/08 ** Recently read that new crop of AF Grape was not the same amazingness that is characteristic of the shisha.
7/5/08 ** Seems to be that some bad batches of AF still exist, but good batches are definetly in circulation.
By knowledge is very limited seeing as I learned pretty much everything on this site, from other members, I take ZERO credit for this knowledge. However, I am a huge advocate for a noobie Hookah 101 stickied post, and the best way for me to push the idea was to make an argument for it and provide an example.
Let me know what you think, feel free to criticize, pm me, yell, etc. *Your knowledge of hookah probably far exceeds mine.
~~~Thanks for reading!!!~~~