Although all hookahs generally work in the same fashion, there are small tweaks and changes hookah owners can apply to slightly alter their smoking experience. The prime example of this deals with the liquid medium, which can be cooled with ice cubes for a smoother smoking experience (I’ve even heard of hoses that have their own cooling mechanism inside). For an enhanced flavor experience, I’ve heard of folks replacing the water with something else that adds a flavor of its own. It may not be apparent, but even the bowl style has an effect on your smoking experience.
Almost all hookahs sold come with a standard bowl; simply a bowl with a varying number of holes at the bottom to allow the smoke to filter through. There is, however, another type of bowl available, which, in my experience, increases both session length and overall enjoyment. I’m speaking of course of the Vortex hookah bowl. As you can see, the shisha in this bowl is loaded around the center while the smoke is vented through the middle.
The advantage with this type of bowl is simple: loading the coals onto the middle of the bowl allows for the shisha to burn evenly without charring it. This avoids the unpleasant harshness sometime encountered during a smoking session. The coals heat the bowl that in turn heats the shisha without the direct contact found with a standard bowl. In my experience, this allows for an even burn throughout the session, and also preserves the flavor a bit better. This is a function not only of the coal placement, but the ventilation holes found throughout the depth of the shisha along the center bowl column.
Vortex hookah bowls will run you a little more cost-wise initially than a standard bowl, but the investment is well worth it, especially for frequent smokers. One last thing to note: it may take a few more starting pulls to achieve the thick smoke most hookah smokers desire, but this is due only to the bowl structure.
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