How To: Prep a Hookah
Step 1. Place hookah stem (with vase gasket) into the glass vase. The fitting should be airtight.
Step 2. Place the metal tray over the top of the hookah stem. Depending on your hookah model, the tray may either fit loosely or snap into place. Some smaller hookahs come with affixed trays.
Step 3. Insert hose end with hose gasket into hose port on hookah stem.
Step 4. If your hookah model comes with an air release valve, unscrew it to make sure there is a ball bearing inside. Screw the valve back on. The air release valve is usually positioned opposite the hose port on the hookah stem.
Step 5. Check the air flow on your hookah by putting your hand over the top of the hookah stem and sucking in with the hose. There should be little to no air intake. If your hookah model has a check valve, with your hand still on top of the hookah stem, blow through the hose. You should hear air expelled out through the check valve.
Step 6. Remove the hookah stem from the vase and fill the vase with water. Put the hookah stem back on vase. The stem should be submerged about an inch into the water.
Step 7. Break up the shisha tobacco as you gently lay it into the clay bowl. You will want to sprinkle it in so that it is loose enough for air to pass through. The shisha tobacco should be filled to the rim of the bowl, but no higher.
Step 8. If you are using a metal screen, place it on top of the bowl. If you are using foil, wrap the foil over the head so that it fits snugly. Make sure to poke holes into the foil so that air can pass through.
Step 9. Place the clay bowl on top of the hookah stem with the bowl gasket in between the hookah stem and the bowl. The clay bowl should fit snugly.
Step 10. Light your coals. If you have instant lighting coals, you can light them with a lighter or match. Other coals will need a stove or a torch. Wait for the coals to become red hot all over before placing them on top of your clay bowl. Break the coals up into smaller pieces and evenly distribute them on your head. Be careful not to add too many coals as your smoke will become harsh.
Step 11. Inhale on your hose. It may take a minute or two before the hookah is smoking properly. Enjoy!