Key Qualities Of Hookah Coals
While most brands make the following information available, there are some fundamental qualities smokers should keep in mind about hookah coals:
- The lower ash content that the coals produce is better,
- The longer coal can maintain sufficient heat, the better it is,
- Coals with more density retain heat longer and produce less ash,
- The less scent there is the coals, the less of a detrimental effect they will have on the shisha flavor.
Coals of the highest quality have limited ashing (less than 2%) and are generally made from specially sorted coconut shells. These proper coconut hookah charcoals maintain stable heat levels for upwards of an hour without needing to be replaced frequently. These coals do not contain any hazardous chemicals or sulfur, lessening their production of unpleasant scents.
Hookah Coal Shapes
Hookah coals typically come shaped as cubes or briquettes. Some are specifically shaped for HMD (heat management devices) to achieve optimal heat distribution. Cubes can vary in size to fit best into different HMDs. There is no one' best' size for shisha charcoals, as every shape and size has its own unique attributes, pros, and cons.
Cubed Coconut Coals
Possibly the most common hookah charcoal is the cubed coconut coal type. Resembling dice, these cubes have six flat equal sides that make them stable during burning. The balanced shape helps them burn evenly throughout the duration of the smoking session, making them a common favorite among both enthusiasts and lounge smokers. They typically come in sizes of 25 cubed mm, though some brands can reach up to 26 cubed mms.
Because the cubes burn slowly, they can be used successfully with most hookah bowls of varying sizes. During the smoking session, it is advised to rotate the cubes in order to get the most out of heat efficacy from each side.
The heat output is not the same across cubes. They don't all consistently produce the same amount of heat, with some brands outputting higher temperatures and others exercising a slow burn creating the possibility of longer smoking sessions.
It's always a good idea to stock up on at least a few boxes of cubed coals. Not only are they efficient, great at producing consistent heat, and sized for easy handling, they will continue to remain the most popular type of shisha coal to be used in the foreseeable future.
Flat Coconut Coals
As their name suggests, 'flat coals' are rectangular shapes with about 18mm in height and roughly 22 to 25 mm in length. Flat coal bars are similar to cubes, though they will not burn for as long. Because of this, they are better for shorter shisha sessions. Because their shape isn't ideal for heat management devices or chimneys, they are most effective when used with foils.
Their width and density vary depending on the brand, but most of them are more or less similar across the board. Where flat coals are most effective is how easy it is to control heat with them. Because they do not impose a lot of weight on the foil, the tobacco scorching chances go way down.
They are, however, a bit of a double-edged sword, reaching their heat zenith early and having it dwindle away as your smoking session comes to a close. Flat natural hookah charcoal burns hotter from the onset, even though there is less direct contact in terms of weight distribution, it needs to be started off more on the edges of the bowl. As no flat coal is created equal, the level of heat and longevity will largely depend on the brand.
In terms of price, flats sold per kg are not much different than other shaped coals, but they are more fitting for those who are either just starting with coconut hookah charcoal or smoke for shorter periods. It is also a recommended shape for those who use the Kaloud Lotus.
Small Cube Coconut Charcoal
This is a relatively new shape in the hookah smoking sphere in terms of coals, but for how short of a time it has spent on the market, the small cube coconut charcoal has garnered quite a following.
Unlike the name suggests, the shape is not quite a cube form, though it is not quite flat either. The 22 cubed mm shape is generally consistent across any brands that produce these charcoal shapes. These are typically as hot as flat charcoals, but they do not share the attribute of heating to their top point early and dwindling off as flats do. On top of that, because small cubes carry less weight than their cubed brethren, they will push the foil down less, causing less sagging. This means that there is a lower chance of the tobacco's top layer getting singed prematurely. They also impose next to none of their own taste on the smoke as their composition is natural.
From a longevity standpoint, small cube coconut charcoals are the ideal choice when the smoker desires a longer smoking session than that offered by flat coals but does not have the time for a session length produced from a full cube.
Finger Style & Hexagon Hookah Coals
Finger style and hexagon hookah coals have recently taken Western hookah smoking by storm. While this is not a new shape, it has been adopted by multiple popular brands, abandoning the more traditional square and rectangular shapes. "Fingers" would cover more of the hookah bowl's top area while retaining a heat that will not prematurely bear down like other coals tend to do.
As suggested by its name, 'finger-shaped' coals are shaped as fingers, ranging in height, but generally uniform in length across brands. These tend to take up a large part of the bowl since they are longer than most other types of shisha charcoals. These are great for newcomers to the hookah-smoking realm, as they consistently disperse heat across the surface without heat spikes. Typically these finger style coals are bamboo or wood-based, meaning that when they burn, they have minimal effect on the taste of the shisha. They tend to ash more than other shapes and may occasionally roll around due to the produced rumble if your hookah does not have a diffuser. A diffuser can help lessen the rolling problem, but it is unlikely to solve it entirely.
Hexagon shaped coals are also finger-shaped, but they are cut into hexagonal shapes, which helps stave off the rolling issue that tends to plague the finger style coals. These are generally made from coconut husk, though their composition can vary depending on the brand.
Quarter Circle Coals (Lotus Head Coals)
Kaloud Lotus users have struggled for years to find a proper shape to suit the device that would provide optimal heat output. Only a few brands over that time have attempted to produce charcoal aimed specifically at use by heat management devices. The quarter-circle coals have been found to be an ideal of shape for this purpose. The semicircular formations fit perfectly along the sides of the Kaloud, fitting like puzzle pieces on opposite sides of the semicircle in their triangular forms (when the semicircle is halved). The combination of four pieces will produce moderate heat, but whether all 4 are used on the device is largely up to the user.
The quarter-circle coals exhibit sufficient performance and overcome the common problems of HMD usage and coal management. To save money on charcoal, it is important to understand that every charcoal type has its ideal use in balancing heat output and shape.
Lighting Hookah Coals
The best investment you can make when using natural coals is an electric hotplate. The hookah bowl size will determine how much coal will need to be used, as well as the size of the foil and the screen above it. In order for the heat to be evenly distributed across the shisha mix, the coal should be positioned on the foil or the HMD.
- 2 to 3 pieces (the ideal number of coals for most bowls) of coal should be placed on an electric burner or hot plate using tongs. Smaller bowls can be made with just 2 pieces, while larger ones typically operate best with 3, or 4 if they will fit without hanging over the sides. The most important thing is for the coals to sit as evenly distributed around the bowl's perimeter as possible.
- Allow about 3 to 4 minutes for the natural coals to heat up on the highest heat level, then flip them using the hookah tongs to achieve even lighting on both sides. Needless to say, your fingers should be nowhere near the burning coals.
- Leave the coals to heat for another 3 to 4 minutes on the opposite side.
- Once the coals are red-hot on both sides, transfer them carefully to the HMD or the foil over the bowl. Perform all of this with tongs, and don't forget to shut off the coal burner once you have completed using it.
Advantages Of Buying Hookah Charcoal At IconHookah.com
Brands We Carry
In our cube-shaped charcoal category, we carry brands including Le Orange, Zomo, and even our own proprietary Icon Hookah Coals brand. If you are more interested in quarter circles or mini-cubes, we recommend buying coconut hookah coals from Le Orange as these are the most trusted brands by customers in hookah lounges. Most coals can be found sold in 1 kg and boxes. You can expect to find about 96 mini cube pieces per pack or 72 pieces for regular cubes in these packages.
Hookah Coal Prices
Prices for hookah coals can range from $10 to $15 per kg. When you buy hookah coals, you should be aware that the brand, ash content, density, and shape are the main attributes that influence the hookah price.
We stand by the quality of all of our products, and we are committed to helping you purchase the best performing hookah coals for your needs. Our goal is to provide you with the most cloud output and to maximize your hookah smoking experience.
When you shop at Icon Hookah, you can place your order at any time of the day. You can be confident in scouring our product lines, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have.