What Is Shisha?
Shisha is a type of flavored tobacco with a syrupy consistency that is blended with vegetable glycerin, molasses, and a variety of flavorings and smoked through a hookah. When some people use the term shisha, they are referring to the hookah pipe.
What is hookah tobacco made up of?
A tobacco leaf, molasses, vegetable glycerin, plus a number of flavorings make up shisha (also known as hookah tobacco or waterpipe tobacco).
How is shisha made?
Shisha tobacco is traditionally created by fermenting tobacco with glycerine, molasses, and a variety of flavorings. Tobacco for hookahs is now mass-produced, with automation used at almost every point of the manufacturing process.
The tobacco is initially chilled for 24 hours to purge any bacteria or pathogens that could have contaminated the raw plant. It's then fed into a cutting machine that removes the stems and slices the product into smoother, smaller pieces. These are then cleaned and dried.
Following that, the tobacco leaf is sweetened and moistened. This is accomplished by combining it with molasses and vegetable glycerine, which improves tobacco's heat tolerance and increases cloud output. This sweetening process will take anywhere between two days to several months. During this time, the tobacco can ferment. Fermentation is a chemical reaction that is caused by changes in temperature, humidity, and pressure. This is often referred to as tobacco' aging', and helps it maintain a more consistent color as well as a distinct flavor that is exclusive to the fermentation process.
When the tobacco has reached the desired consistency, it is moved to a flavoring machine to begin the flavoring process. When this process completes, the tobacco is ready to be packaged, a fully automated process during which no human touch or intervention is present.
Types of shisha tobacco leaves
Blonde leaf (Virginia) tobacco
Virginia (blonde) tobacco is commonly used by shisha tobacco producers. It is cultivated in 75 countries around the world and accounts for about 40% of all tobacco consumed on the planet. It has a bright yellow hue at the beginning of the process (hence the 'blonde'). It is a form of tobacco most commonly enjoyed by those with a low tolerance for nicotine.
Before processing starts, the tobacco is washed or boiled in order to purge as much nicotine as possible from it. This reduces the nicotine buzz while allowing the taste to come through throughout the smoking process.
To make shisha, the tobacco leaves are dried using a method known as curing, and then molasses or honey, as well as flavoring oils and molasses, are added.
Dark leaf tobacco
Dark leaf tobacco is not washed, so it retains the great majority of its nicotine content after minimal processing, serving as the blonde tobacco's counterpart for experienced smokers who enjoy its earthy tones and flavor. Dark tobacco is also distinguished by its color (which ranges from bright to very dark brown).
Burley tobacco, the most common dark tobacco variant used in shisha manufacturing, is used by the majority of mainstream dark tobacco brands, including Tangiers, Azure Black Line, and Trifecta Dark. The finest quality burley tobacco leaves originate from Central America, the United States, Indonesia, and Uganda.
Since dark leaf tobacco is virtually unprocessed, it retains a much stronger flavor. Dark tobacco maintains a nicotine level of about 0.5 percent (roughly tenfold of washed tobacco) throughout its transformation into shisha, resulting in a stronger buzz for the smokers.
The burley is air-dried, which ensures that much of the sugar content has been removed, the color has changed, and the flavor and odor become similar to that of tobacco used in cigars.
Packing shisha into a bowl
The fluff pack
A 'fluff pack' is achieved by picking up tobacco with your fingertips and separating the leaves with a rubbing motion, causing them to crumble into the bowl until it is filled.
Then, using either a poker, fork, or toothpick, the leaves are repositioned to remove any tobacco excess that might be overfilling the rim. Since we need to have pockets of air in the pack, the most important thing is distributing the shisha across the rim level rather than packing it down flat.
Starbuzz, Social Smoke, and Fumari are the ideal brands to use with a 'fluff pack.'
The normal pack
The 'normal pack' (dubbed as such due to its being the industry-standard packing method) is essentially the fluff pack, just a more dense version. As the tobacco is sprinkled in, it fills the bowl to the rim's edge. Then it is gently padded with a hole poker or a fork in order to generate air pockets.
The key crucial aspect of this packing method is understanding the pack's density levels. When sprinkling the tobacco, it's better to learn to think of the term 'normal' as 'slight' so that when patting the tobacco, the formed air pockets allow the tobacco to 'breathe'.
Ugly Hookah, Al Fakher, Adalya, Zomo Blonde, Trifecta Blonde Line, and Afzal are the best hookah tobacco brands to use for a 'normal pack.'
The dense pack
The last hookah bowl packing process is named the 'dense pack.' It has all of the same attributes of the fluff and normal pack but also includes spreading tobacco atop the patted contents in order to reduce the formed air pockets, increasing the pack's density. To check for density, using your utensil of choice, check for a spongy consistency to the pack to verify a sufficient level of density.
Of course, the higher density of the pack also promotes the highest nicotine content of the three-pack variations, with the Azure Black Line, Zomo Strong Line, Tangiers, and Nakhla brands being best suited for the task.
How to mix hookah flavors
Choosing the flavor combination
Before preparing a shisha flavor mixture, the primary blend, or the base, needs to be selected. The base will depend on the style of shisha blend you hope to achieve: savory, fruity, or some combination of both. As the base flavor will be predominant, it's best to make it one that you regularly enjoy. That way, even if the experimental mix is not optimal, you will taste the flavor you enjoy most predominantly. Try to steer away from selecting some complex base flavor, and stick to something simple and generally enjoyable, like watermelon. The base flavor should account for half of your total tobacco, while the secondary flavors should account for just 10% to 20% of your bowl.
Shisha mixing techniques
Blending hookah tobacco flavors is as simple as proportioning the shisha flavors, mixing them together, and adding them to the bowl.
By comparison to other mixing methods, blending is the easiest way to produce a clear and distinctive taste. While smoking a mixture, the user does not taste any one particular taste, but rather a flavor mix. That means that the flavor will not change throughout the smoking session from one to another, but rather stay consistent throughout.
Furthermore, when the shisha is blended, the glycerin and molasses levels would be comparable, allowing for improved heat control and extending the longevity of smoking sessions.
For those who do want to experience distinct flavors that convert from one to another during the smoking session, the sectioning technique is the better option. Unlike the pure mix of flavors achieved through the blending approach, every flavor is present in a nuanced manner throughout the smoking session, complemented by the other included flavors.
Rather than blending the shisha flavors together, sectioning entails placing them side by side. While the flavors ultimately still blend to a lesser degree, the key is to understand the strength of every component of the bowl before partitioning them inside. Throughout the smoking session, the flavor will gradually shift to carry a separate predominant taste, with a tinge of the other flavors included in the bowl.
The layering method is a hybrid between the blending and sectioning mixing approaches. A layered bowl can increase the enjoyment level of a smoking session by layering various flavors in such a way that their taste takes over the smoking session at particular times.
To layer a pack, it is important, to begin with, the flavor one wishes to be predominant. Understanding that heat can reduce the taste of certain flavors while bolstering others, you can better select the flavor you choose to lead the others. Experimentation with various flavors can educate the smoker about which flavors thrive with heat and which ones dull. This knowledge is key to recognizing the optimal way to proportion the bowl to achieve the most ideally balanced taste. By placing the base flavor in the bowl first, it sets the tone for the smoking session. After that, the additional flavors can be layered on top of one another until the bowl is filled.
Flavors Available For Sale At TheHookahLab.com
At TheHookahLab.com there is no shortage of options when it comes to hookah flavor variety. With hundreds of choices, the number of ways to combine flavors is nearly limitless.
Brands we carry
If it's a large shisha flavor selection you are looking for, you have come to the right place! Our stock includes everything from traditional brands like Nakhla, to popular modern-day brands such as Zomo and Overdozz.
With new shisha flavors constantly being introduced to the market, especially through Starbuzz, there is no end to the flavors you can try. Trifecta Tobacco is one of the most revolutionary shisha producers in the world in terms of flavor creativity, while Tangiers, Al-Fakher, and Adalya produce some of the world's most popular shisha flavors. Come check out The Hookah Lab for a range of almost 20 of the best tobacco brands on the market today!
The majority of the hundreds of different hookah tobacco flavors fall into one of seven groups. It's a good bet that if a smoker likes one flavor in a particular group, they'll probably like the rest of the group's flavors as well.
Fruit-flavored variety is by far the most common form of shisha. These can range from the ordinary (such as apple-flavored) to the exotic (such as dragon fruit). Most shisha brands carry at least one fruity variant of their product, and most of the fruit categories can usually be broken down into subcategories.
Mint-flavored shisha types usually carry a cooling effect, with a rich taste of peppermint, spearmint, or even menthol in some brands. The mint varieties are usually plain mints, rather than flavors of mint added to them. While many people enjoy this form of hookah tobacco, it is not suitable for everyone's tastes.
Blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry-flavored tobaccos are popular in the berry category of shisha. They carry a unique combination of sweet and tarty tastes, making them stand out from other fruit-based shisha flavors.
Though the group is called 'floral', the flavors it includes exceed the floral limitations. These flavors are much more refined, so they are not suitable for every palette. Since they lack sweetness offered by other tobaccos, newer smokers tend to steer clear of these deeper, richness-deprived flavors.
Those interested in checking out this shisha category are advised to start with the "Rose" shisha, from the Al Fakher brand, while the brand regarded as producing top-of-the-line floral flavor is typically Tangiers, namely with their "Kashmir" tobacco.
These tobacco flavors are identified by their spice-centric attributes and include variants such as anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and even eucalyptus flavors.
The dessert flavor type of shisha could be the most attractive to anyone with a serious sweet tooth. Dessert delicacies such as ice cream, cookies, muffins, cheesecake, and other popular dessert flavors are among the choices available in this category. These have a buttery taste that will cater to anybody who loves a sweet compliment to their dinner.
In the beverage segment, flavored tobaccos can taste like everything from smoothies to coffee. Spiced tea and some traditional drinks like the Pina Colada and Mojito are examples of such beverage-flavored choices.
Where are the brands produced?
The items we carry at The Hookah Lab come from North America, Europe, and even Latin America. Namely, our products are sourced from the U.S., Paraguay, Germany, Turkey, Spain, India, Jordan, and the UAE.
Weights and package types
The shisha packages are sold in weighted categories including 50g, 100g, and 250g packs, as well as 1kg tubs.
Hookah tobacco prices
The shisha price is determined in large part by the brand, but on average prices for smaller (50g) packages can cost as little as $3, while 1kg tubs can go for $70 or more. Our pricing breakdown is as follows:
A 50g pack costs $3.50, a 100g pack costs $10, a 250g pack costs $18, a 1kg tub costs $55.
We believe in the quality of our Hookah Lab products, and we stand behind them. We have an unwavering commitment to helping you find the best and most suitable hookah tobacco flavors for your enjoyment, helping you acquire the most cloud output and maximum taste. Our production process only operates with top-quality tobacco leaves and our shisha is processed at high-end facilities, where it is then expertly tested.
Our staff is happy to share their experience and knowledge in the world of hookahs, to help field any potential questions you might have.
The legal buying age for all nicotine and vaping goods in the United States has been increased from 18 to 21 years old as of January 1st, 2020. This statute has no military exceptions, and it is a mandatory provision that all states and dominions of the United States must follow. To lawfully purchase shisha from hookah stores, whether they be brick-and-mortar or online, the customer must be at least 21 years of age.
While shisha has "best of" and "sell by" dates, unlike food, tobacco does not decay to the point of being unusable. If stored in an airtight jar or its initial wrapping, shisha will remain fresh for over 6 months and will never be unable to be smoked. After that time, it will eventually dry out, affecting the way it tastes when smoked. In general, shisha will stay fresh for more than two years after it is produced. If you are not sure how to tell if shisha has expired, just look for any unexpected growths on it, and if it is not dried out, it should be perfectly fine to use in the next smoking session.
Most hookah tobaccos come in airtight foil packets. The most important thing to note when it comes to storage is to keep your shisha in a cool, dry climate, ideally out of direct sunlight. Its best home is in a drawer or cabinet, where it can be kept at room temperature. You can also store hookah tobacco in special airtight containers once they are out of the original packaging. The safest storage containers are those that can be resealed.
Shisha comes in two forms: tobacco (which contains nicotine) or herbal molasses (which does not). The nicotine level in shisha tobacco is usually about 0.05 percent. Tangiers' product is the brand with the highest nicotine content, averaging about 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent.