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Getting the Sweet Spot

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  #1  
Old November 11th, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Default Getting the Sweet Spot

So I just started smoking AF. So far, it tastes great. I love the grape and cappuccino flavors. Gonna try cinnamon and honey later today. But what I've noticed in virtually all my smoking is that there's a sweet spot for taste and smoke that's a little tricky to get and hold on to.

It's the place where the smoke is smooth and thick, but not overwhelming on your lungs and throat and the flavor is good and clear, but not so rich that it's unpleasant (especially in sweeter shisha flavors). So far, in my experience, it doesn't usually come until the coals have burned down about 30%.

Presumably because there's less heat. But therein lies the problem. With a phunnel bowl, I can get the sweet spot right away by only using two Cocos, but then I lose the sweet spot and things end up thin after 30 - 40% of the coals have burned down. But on the flip side, if I use 3 coals (or 4 on Nakhla) it ends up unpleasant for the first 20 minutes until the coals have burned up some. Flavor is too rich, and the smoke is too thick or heavy to take good hits and get nice smoke.

I'm figuring there must be some technique that I can't quite grasp. Can anyone give some tips to getting and holding onto that sweet spot? Maybe point me toward some videos? Anything really. I just feel like I'm wasting coals.
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  #2  
Old November 11th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: Getting the Sweet Spot

Yeah it takes awhile to get the hang of perfect bowls everytime, and the brand you are using also plays a part in that.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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Default Re: Getting the Sweet Spot

Try starting out with 2 coals, then about 8-10 minutes to spare before taste and smoke starts to wane, light up another coconara. Once it's red hot, move the two smaller coals to one side and add the third coal on the opposite side.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: Getting the Sweet Spot

Coal placement is probably your issue. If you are using coconut coals then start them on their thin sides and then flip them to the wide sides as needed. If you can't get that down start the coals on the edges of the bowl hanging partially off the edge but not dangerously so. Then move them inward as the heat decreases.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: Getting the Sweet Spot

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPX View Post
Try starting out with 2 coals, then about 8-10 minutes to spare before taste and smoke starts to wane, light up another coconara. Once it's red hot, move the two smaller coals to one side and add the third coal on the opposite side.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalutika View Post
Coal placement is probably your issue. If you are using coconut coals then start them on their thin sides and then flip them to the wide sides as needed. If you can't get that down start the coals on the edges of the bowl hanging partially off the edge but not dangerously so. Then move them inward as the heat decreases.
Yeah, I think this might be the solution. I wish there were like a brand specific guide for each one. What seems to work for Nakhla doesn't really seem to apply to AF or Tangiers.

I went to a lounge of in NY earlier this year. We smoked for an hour and a half without ever giving any attention to the coal or bowls. Nor did our server need to adjust anything for us. The experience was great and consistent pretty much the whole time. There was a windscreen over the top, so I couldn't see what kind of bowl they were using and our server didn't know what brand of shisha it was. My guess is Nakhla or AF since thats what most lounges seem to be using.

But I can't for the life of be replicate the ease of that experience.
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