The Home Made Hookah Guide (unwashed version)
By Vae Victus.
Hey folks, my name is Kelly, but you may call me Vae Victus. I have been smoking hookah for 3 years, 2 and a half of which has been spent making and mixing custom shisha for my own smoking pleasure. In that time I have had several locals ask about buying custom shisha off me. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but after being called the local hookahpro by several of my friends, I gave up and accepted that I would forever love and smoke hookah. So on to business. So you want to make your own shisha huh? Well if you are persistent and patient you will find that you can make excellent quality hookah tobacco for insanely low prices, if you’re on a budget this is a must. I can make about 250g’s of custom shisha for under 7 dollars, you do the math. Please read all the way through the guide, do not half ass this or you will regret it, this guide is based off making any flavor you want, not necessarily a specific flavor, because of that I haven’t put in precise measurements. Be prepared to make several test samples and do not be afraid to make several at a time to find out which mixture worked the best. IF you are still lost, you can contact me at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org for further help and instructions, don’t worry I won’t bite…. much
Setting up the ingredients.
Step #1. Find a tobacco that you like, I personally use generic bulk brand pipe tobacco like Red Cap. Try to steer clear of cigarette tobacco because you can’t be sure about which chemicals they put in it and in general it doesn’t taste as good (probably due to the additive chemicals and whatnot. I would suggest using something that has a nice quality to it as far as pipe tobacco goes. Prince Albert soft vanilla works excellent, I imagine Captain Black would also work good.
Step #2. Get glycerin. I cannot stress how important it is to have glycerin in your homemade shisha, without it your smoke will be harsh and not as cloudy, most of your smoke content in hookah comes from that very same ingredient!(glycerin) I have made shisha without glycerin and it doesn’t work out. The way to go is cooking glycerin if you can find it, most people don’t know where to look, and it is probably the most difficult ingredient out of the bunch to obtain so make sure that it is on the top of your to-do list when acquiring the ingredients. The only places I have been able to find cooking glycerin were at big grocery stores or wineries. If you live in a remote area and have no way of physically getting cooking glycerin do not fret, there is another option. Its USP grade glycerin which is 99.9% glycerin and .1% water. USP means that its pharmaceutical grade skin Protestants. you can find this at most pharmacies, it will come in a hand size bottle and will probably look something like a clear viscous hand sanitizer, be sure you check the bottle to see if its 99% glycerin, if its not DO NOT USE IT. Stay away from the glycerin tabs and laxatives. Also remember that most of your smoke content comes from glycerin. The rule of thumb is that if it comes with an easy insertion nozzle it’s unsafe for inhaling .
Step #3. Honey/molasses. Traditionally hookah tobacco was mixed with honey and molasses. This is because it adds a sweet taste to the smoke as well as acts like a preservative for the tobacco. This is important because without it the shisha would burn instead of bake and your session would be crap. I use all natural clover honey, and rarely add molasses. You don’t have to make a decision between the two, you can use either one or both but make sure you have at least one in the mix.
P.S. if you want a darker robust flavor use molasses, if you want a lighter sweeter flavor go with honey and if your on the fence completely then just use both, It all depends upon the flavor your going for, however the more honey you use the more shisha will get crusted on the inside of your bowl. Also keep in mind that the more glycerin you add to your wet mix, the more smoke content you will get, the catch is that with more glycerin you dilute the flavor, so find that happy medium where you still get good flavor and good smoke.
Step #4. Flavorings, now this is the one that I have the most trouble with. The surefire way to get a flavor you agree with is to go to your local grocery store and find some liquid flavoring/extracts, try to get the all natural flavoring the flavor will turn out better the less fake it is. The more artificial a flavoring is the more alcohol it will have in the bottle meaning that when you put coals onto your bowl the alcohol will immediately dissipate which may not seem like a problem, however even though the actual alcohol dissipates when in contact with the high heat coals, you still get a gnarly after taste, that is why it is incredibly easy to make mint flavored shisha that tastes good and accurate(less alcohol in the flavor if any). So try to find something that is all natural. There is also a tobacco flavoring company called Tasty Puff that produces decent artificial flavors that are easy to incorporate with your flavor. However do not rely on just the tasty puff, use it to enhance the flavor.
WARNING- WHEN USING ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING THE ALCOHOL IN THE ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING WILL MAKE YOUR SHISHA WET SO USE SPARINGLY!
Prepping the ingredients.
mix your wet ingredients first, I do not use exact calculations and measurements when making my homemade shisha, I have what I like to call a “wet mix” which is premade and all that needs to be done is to add it to the tobacco (washed or unwashed doesn’t matter) How do I know exactly how much flavoring/glycerin/honey (wet mix)?. It’s very simple, I don’t. Everything I know about this particular step is based off personal preference. Ill say it again PERSONAL PREFERENCE. Here is why, when you start deciding how much wet mix to put in you need to make adjustments based off a trial and error format, your first smoke may not be enjoyable but it will give you a basis to go off next time and if you’re lucky you’ll get it right the first time. Anyways to the point, to start off use these guidelines to make your wet mix.
1. More glycerin than honey, more honey then flavoring, amounts vary depending upon how much shisha you are making. Also keep in mind that if you are using all natural flavors like mint or vanilla you can safely put in more than if it’s artificial, this is because artificial flavoring contains a lot of alcohol and the alcohol will break down the rest of your wet mix and make it watery, you do not want watery wet mix.
2. make sure that the wet mix looks viscous and a little thick. the idea is to have the right amount of wet mix with your tobacco, too wet and it wont smoke much if at all, too dry and now your getting lots of harsh ashy tasting smoke. The goal is to get it in a medium, you want your wet mix to basically be a little thicker than the glycerin itself, if its not you will have extremely watery shisha that may not smoke right, and ultimately it’s your call.
3. Smell your wet mix, the rule of thumb with homemade shisha is that it will usually taste like it smells, if it smells like there is not enough of one flavor in it then add a tablespoon or so of the desired flavoring until its smells exactly how you want it to taste.
WET MIX = 3 parts glycerin + 2 parts honey or molasses+ 2 parts or less flavoring
Mixing the Tobacco with the Wet Mix.
Now that you have gone through the trouble of finding your ingredients and prepping the wet mix, your job has just gotten a lot easier. All you have to do is add wet mix to your tobacco. This can be done easily and efficiently if you have the wet mix pre-made in a bottle because you can just pour out of the bottle and get the consistency you want, as long as your wet mix smells good and has the right consistency with glycerin you should get at least good smoke every time. The first time you make the wet mix will tell you whether or not you used enough flavoring and glycerin in the wet mix, trial and error. Like I stated earlier you want the tobacco to be the right texture. If you are unsure of what texture it should be, go look at some al fakher or fantasia shisha, and try to get it close to those. Start off by mixing about a bowls worth of tobacco so you can mess with the wet mix if necessary. You can do this with fork or a spoon, I prefer forks. You will also notice that you will have to use more tobacco than you think because the wet mix will ultimately break down the tobacco a bit as well as compress it into a smaller amount. The great part about having the wet mix premade is that you aren’t in danger of putting in too much mix.
For example. Imagine you just put what you thought was a bowls worth of tobacco into your mixing bowl, after adding a tablespoon or so( about a bowls worth of wet mix depending upon the size of the bowl) you now find that your tobacco is way too soupy, the way to fix this is to add enough tobacco to make it un-soupy.. That is the plan stick with it!
The End Game (last step)
now that you have you shisha, you must remember that you are not done!
You cannot be impatient when it comes to making your shisha. I am of course talking about letting your shisha sit. It may seem done after you make it but you should let it sit for at least 2-4 hours before you even consider smoking it. High quality tobacco distributors like Starbuzz and Fantasia let their shisha sit for sometimes up to a week before packaging and selling it. However letting it sit isn’t enough, if you only let it sit the wet mix will separate and go to the bottom, that’s not what you want, you want it to sit long enough for the tobacco to soak up some of the wet mix, but if its separating to the bottom you have to do more work. Not much work just a little effort every day depending upon how long you let it sit before smoking. To make sure that the shisha will be properly inundated with the wet mix you need to put the shisha in a container and shake it thoroughly so that the liquid in the container is distributed through ought the tobacco. Now if you were patient and did the right thing by waiting a day or two and have been good about keeping the tobacco properly shook up, the next step is to take out the excess liquid. the way I do it is by using a fork to hold back the tobacco while I drain most(not all) of the excess wet mix back into its respective wet mix bottle, this way you don’t waste anything and by this time your shisha will have soaked up a good amount of the wet mix. You want to take out about 85-90% of the excess liquid still in the container DO NOT TRY TO GET ALL THE EXCESS LIQUID OUT, YOU STILL NEED A LITTLE EXTRA IN THE BOTTOM! Now that you have gone the distance, light up some coals and find out for yourself the joys of making your own shit.