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I desperately need help with my hookah.

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  #1  
Old December 13th, 2009, 03:20 AM
VocabDoctor
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Default I desperately need help with my hookah.

Hi everyone.

Here's a problem that I'm having, my al fakher shisha has little to know taste and terrible longevity, but pretty incredible smoke clouds, this is frustrating because every review or tutorial I've read or watched it seems people really TASTE the shisha, the only shisha that I found notably improved with my phunnel bowl is Good Times, I'm typically vigilant as far as heat management goes.

I've been having some rather maddening issues with my overall hookah smoking however, although most notably with Al Fakher, I'm thinking I was led astray by a tutorial suggesting I pack it semi-tight, but it seemed to work so well for him, my set-up is generally a mya vortex, medium phunnel bowl, diffuser on the down stem, one layer of Reynolds HD foil, nammor hose, a Taj Wind Cover, and three halves of coconara natural coals.

The thing is, I've done an exorbitant amount of research and gone to great lengths to understand the proper acclimation procedures for certain shishas, tin foil hole patterns and hole sizes, the placement of the tin foil itself, preparation and maintenance, packing methods, etc.

So I was wondering if anyone might have an idea as to what I'm doing wrong, I know this is a lot to digest for anyone willing to help, I've watched many packing tutorials for various shisha in a phunnel bowl, none of them seem to work, I've tried different hole patterns and coal configurations/amount of coals and nothing works, i've tried smoking with and without the wind cover, or simply using the wind cover as a means to accelerate the heat-up process.

The only shisha that works somewhat is Romman and Starbuzz, but it is short-lived.

I would really appreciate any ideas thrown my way, thank you in advance for any help, any suggestions would be useful at this point.

VocabDoctor

Last edited by VocabDoctor; December 13th, 2009 at 05:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old December 13th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Good Times is an Al Waha flavor. Al Waha's tobacco is cut differently, the pieces are larger and take heat better. AL Fakher has a tiny cut, and on this forum we attribute the tingle or harsh feeling when the flavor and clouds are still good to the cut size (tiny pieces). I have heard the Red Dye could be a major factor in this, so maybe you aren't as tolerant of it as other people.

3 coals sounds reasonable, it's different for everyone, but I use 2 coals, and would use 2 coconara coals on a vortex placed directly across from each other. From what I have found, and you fill find, some things that go into hookah smoking are more forgiving than others. Bowl packing as you mentioned does not affect a session to the extent of it being unsmokeable, as long as you packed it well enough within reason, which I am assuming you did.

Acclimation of non-Tangiers products shouldn't affect the smoke to the extent you have either. It tends to just affect the aroma.

It sounds like too much coal. Try using less coal. You can try 2 pieces of Nara right across from each other so there isn't too much heat in one area. If that's not enough heat, put one at 12:00 and another at 3:00 (like on a clock) so they are closer to each other. Have a windcover on both times.
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  #3  
Old December 13th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

the techniques used in the reviews may not work for you as everyone has something different which works for them. i have a friend who packs a 20 gram bowl with 10 grams of flavour and gets a good session however if i did the same my session would be crap and its the same when he tries my method so what am getting at is you have to find what works best for you by experimenting. hope that works
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  #4  
Old December 13th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blazingking View Post
the techniques used in the reviews may not work for you as everyone has something different which works for them...
I couldn't agree more. Tobacco brand/type, bowl type, packing method, type/brand of coals etc. all play a role in the overall smoking experience. You really need to get a "feel" for what works best for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VocabDoctor View Post
...my al fakher shisha has little to know taste and terrible longevity, but pretty incredible smoke clouds...
As a general rule, big clouds+no taste= too much heat. Apply your coals to the bowl and the moment you notice it smoking well try dropping a coal off and maybe adding a windcover. There is a subtle difference between having say, 3 coals with no windcover and 2 coals with a windcover.
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  #5  
Old December 13th, 2009, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenSilk View Post
Good Times is an Al Waha flavor.
It's actually Romman
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  #6  
Old December 13th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Just so I know I am reading that right... you are using three 1/2 pieces of coconara on a medium funnel? That is way too little heat. If I am using my small funnel I use either three or four whole coconut coals depending on the tobacco.

Al Fakher would be a three coal tobacco in a small for me.

Could you please tell us what flavors you are using? Some flavors are just weak.
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  #7  
Old December 13th, 2009, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalutika View Post
Just so I know I am reading that right... you are using three 1/2 pieces of coconara on a medium funnel? That is way too little heat. If I am using my small funnel I use either three or four whole coconut coals depending on the tobacco.

Al Fakher would be a three coal tobacco in a small for me.

Could you please tell us what flavors you are using? Some flavors are just weak.
I had to reread the OP and admit I am now confused. I don't have a lot of experience with AF but I can't see 1 1/2 coals producing "incredible smoke" from any tobacco in a small phunnel. Not saying it isn't possible but I find it hard to imagine. With most tobaccos I use 3 whole natural coals on my small phunnel, maybe dropping to two, windcover on/off as needed.
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  #8  
Old December 13th, 2009, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee View Post
I had to reread the OP and admit I am now confused. I don't have a lot of experience with AF but I can't see 1 1/2 coals producing "incredible smoke" from any tobacco in a small phunnel. Not saying it isn't possible but I find it hard to imagine. With most tobaccos I use 3 whole natural coals on my small phunnel, maybe dropping to two, windcover on/off as needed.
And OP is using a medium funnel even.
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  #9  
Old December 13th, 2009, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Sorry guys, I meant to say I started out with three halves of coconara coals and eventually moved up to three whole coconaras, both occasions I had them arranged in a triangle formation, that remedied the smoke, but the flavor was still ranging from non-existent to a bland smoke/charcoal taste.

In regards to the specific flavors, I was using Romman Guava, Al Fakher Eskandarani Apple, and Al Fakher Golden Grape, as well as some others, but those ones I just mentioned gave me to most trouble, I've heard some really good things about Esk Apple so I was disappointed that I wasn't able to cultivate any flavor from it on my hookah.

Thanks again everyone for the help, I'm going to try again tonight, I'll try the wind cover/charcoal method of taking a coal off and putting the wind cover on, sounds good to me, I'll start off with three coconara coals, and I'll try packing it fluffy, but relatively thick, perhaps I misinterpreted the tutorial I watched, no more Tangiers packing for Al Fakher, haha.

VocabDoctor
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  #10  
Old December 13th, 2009, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Let us know how it goes!
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  #11  
Old December 13th, 2009, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Good luck.

I have to ask the unpleasant question though. Do you smoke cigarettes?
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  #12  
Old December 13th, 2009, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VocabDoctor View Post
In regards to the specific flavors, I was using Romman Guava, Al Fakher Eskandarani Apple, and Al Fakher Golden Grape, as well as some others, but those ones I just mentioned gave me to most trouble, I've heard some really good things about Esk Apple so I was disappointed that I wasn't able to cultivate any flavor from it on my hookah.
From my experience with Esk Apple, the flavor is good but very subtle. This was about 3 months ago, however. And with traded tobacco.
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  #13  
Old December 13th, 2009, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VocabDoctor View Post
Sorry guys, I meant to say I started out with three halves of coconara coals and eventually moved up to three whole coconaras, both occasions I had them arranged in a triangle formation, that remedied the smoke, but the flavor was still ranging from non-existent to a bland smoke/charcoal taste.

In regards to the specific flavors, I was using Romman Guava, Al Fakher Eskandarani Apple, and Al Fakher Golden Grape, as well as some others, but those ones I just mentioned gave me to most trouble, I've heard some really good things about Esk Apple so I was disappointed that I wasn't able to cultivate any flavor from it on my hookah.

Thanks again everyone for the help, I'm going to try again tonight, I'll try the wind cover/charcoal method of taking a coal off and putting the wind cover on, sounds good to me, I'll start off with three coconara coals, and I'll try packing it fluffy, but relatively thick, perhaps I misinterpreted the tutorial I watched, no more Tangiers packing for Al Fakher, haha.

VocabDoctor
I agree with kalutika about 3 half cocos on a medium phunnel using HD foil. Personally I would probably be using 3 full cocos on a medium using regular foil, maybe 4 depending on the tobacco and how I packed it.

I would suggest trying more heat. Water vaporizes at a lower temperature than glycerin and glycerin is a better solvent so too little heat can impact how much flavor you get even if you are getting clouds. If more heat alone doesn't work, keep everything else the same but pack more. A phunnel has to be vaporizing enough tobacco and fast enough to get good smoke otherwise you'll just be drawing in too much air.
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  #14  
Old December 14th, 2009, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Thanks guys!

I had two consecutive sessions that we're awesome, two separate shishas, different brands and different flavors, so I'm doing something right, I think it boiled down to a few idiosyncratic tweaks, packing and coals, also thanks Dee for the suggestion about the wind cover and coals, worked like a charm, I've got it down pat, and I dig the videos by the way.

Also, I totally agree (although I'm not quite experienced enough yet) about the different strokes for different folks, I'll certainly experiment and improvise with different methods to see what works for me, but I like the way it's hitting now for sure, mellow buzz, strong flavors (I like how the sour aspect of Esk Apple clings to the roof of my mouth), and overall thick smoke that inspires some colossally amazing rings.

I'm becoming something of a regular on this forum as of late (admittedly as a result of my own troubleshooting) and I look forward to seeing what else is out there in the world of hookah.

Thanks again!

VocabDoctor
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  #15  
Old December 14th, 2009, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

I've never smoked cigarettes actually, I do a strange fascination with them on the theatrical level however, comes from my being an unabashed cinema-goer i.e. they make good props.

So all in all, never touched a cigarette, but digging hookah for sure, I like to occasionally get a strong buzz, and then other times I just smoke for the flavor.
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  #16  
Old December 14th, 2009, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VocabDoctor View Post
Thanks guys!

I had two consecutive sessions that we're awesome, two separate shishas, different brands and different flavors, so I'm doing something right, I think it boiled down to a few idiosyncratic tweaks, packing and coals, also thanks Dee for the suggestion about the wind cover and coals, worked like a charm, I've got it down pat, and I dig the videos by the way.

Also, I totally agree (although I'm not quite experienced enough yet) about the different strokes for different folks, I'll certainly experiment and improvise with different methods to see what works for me, but I like the way it's hitting now for sure, mellow buzz, strong flavors (I like how the sour aspect of Esk Apple clings to the roof of my mouth), and overall thick smoke that inspires some colossally amazing rings.

I'm becoming something of a regular on this forum as of late (admittedly as a result of my own troubleshooting) and I look forward to seeing what else is out there in the world of hookah.

Thanks again!

VocabDoctor
Glad you got your rig smoking well! On a side note, you are indeed quite the "vocab doctor". Cinema goer... a writer maybe?
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  #17  
Old December 14th, 2009, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

You've got me pegged!

Yes, I'm studying film in college, I'm putting the finishing touches on a feature film script at the moment, it's turning out quite good!

I have to say, a great hookah session and some derivative of caffeine really gets the creative juices flowing, haha...something about the look of smoke against the light of my computer screen and the calming feature of shisha really strikes a wonderful medium.

As much as I strive to actually work in the film industry, I try to frequent the local grungy one-screen theater as much as possible, a good place to meet cinephiles

VocabDoctor
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  #18  
Old December 14th, 2009, 02:29 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

A question, does anyone here plan on seeing Avatar this weekend? I can't find anyone who wants to see it, but James Cameron hasn't let me down yet, and although my critical opinion of Titanic is lukewarm, I can't deny that its a technical marvel.

Can't wait to see Avatar though, should be amazing, unanimously positive reviews from both consumers and critics alike.
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  #19  
Old December 14th, 2009, 02:41 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VocabDoctor View Post
A question, does anyone here plan on seeing Avatar this weekend? I can't find anyone who wants to see it, but James Cameron hasn't let me down yet, and although my critical opinion of Titanic is lukewarm, I can't deny that its a technical marvel.

Can't wait to see Avatar though, should be amazing, unanimously positive reviews from both consumers and critics alike.
No doubt that it will be anything less than spectacular considering James Cameron's talent, but Avatar just doesn't appeal to me. I will most probably wait for it on Bluray as my "movie night" setup is favorable over going to a movie theater solely based on the fact that my hookah is the center piece
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Old December 14th, 2009, 02:56 AM
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Yea, it's pretty tempting to just stay home and watch movies these days, what with the invention of Blu-ray, humongous flat-screen televisions, and surround-sound, and the lack of the obligatory "noisy" theater patrons, whether they be cackling loudly, texting on cell phones, popcorn munching, or unnecessary commentary, can't say I disagree on that point.

I'm going to take a leap however and spring for the Avatar IMAX 3D, one of the perks of living in Cali, won't have a chance in hell once I go to Alaska for the holidays, they seriously need to invest in some outrageously expensive amenities for us Alaskans, or in my case, ex-Alaskan.

I'll let you guys know how it turns out, I'm crossing my fingers and hoping its along the lines of Aliens and not Titanic, lol.
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  #21  
Old December 14th, 2009, 06:25 AM
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Default Re: I desperately need help with my hookah.

Good the hear you had some positive results, I'm sure you'll have it tweaked to perfection in no time!
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