It’s Tuesday evening. Beyond all reasonable doubt, you managed to make it through Monday and even had a stellar performance today. Your neighbors are out on their patio, feet outstretched before them. The sun is setting and you hear your name. Do you want to join around this Arabian contraption? Of course you do. You take your seat amongst the crew and when passed the hose, you inhale sweet, soothing smoke. What was that? Cinnamon? Lavender? It’s hard to decipher heaven from heaven. You’re relaxed and you let your own feet up. You let the day and the rest of the week roll gently off beyond the patio and yard. It dawns on you. How does this thing even work?
The hookah is a beautiful machine and its functioning mechanics mirror that beauty. There are a bunch of hookah parts. You don’t need to know all of them, but just to plant the knowledge in your minds, here they are:
- The head (the bowl)
- The head gasket
- The tray
- The stem (some call it the shank)
- The hose gasket
- The release valve
- The vase gasket
- The hose port
- The host port opening
- The vase
- The down stem (the part that sticks into the vase)
- The hose (pass the hose, please)
How it all fits together
We fill the vase with water, just like in a vase of flowers to submerge the stems. We then place tobacco in the the bowl, cover it with a perforated foil sheet and place hot coals on top of the sheet. Quickly, the tobacco in the bowl starts to heat up and make smoke.
Now we suck through the hose, which pulls smoke from the bowl into the water. As we draw the smoke into the vase, the suction also pulls more heat from the coals onto the tobacco, making more smoke to pull into the vase. The smoke rises above the water and into the host port opening. The smoke keeps travelling until it reaches our mouth.
That’s the gist of it. The parts for which you didn’t hear referenced are used largely for cleaning, for clearing and for keeping the hookah in excellent condition. For example, blowing into the hose instead of sucking it will push smoke back into the vase and out through the release valve.
If you’re still curious how about the specifics on how to smoke hookah, stop into any hookah shop. Smoking veterans understand the art of the hookah and will be happy to enlighten you with all their wisdom.