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How To Pack A Bowl

6/13/2016
MYA Saray actually has several different kinds of tobacco Bowls, or Burners as we call them. The standard Egyptian bowl, the large Egyptian bowl, the Rock Burner, the Clay Egyptians, and the Lebanese bowl (which is just a male version of the Egyptian), and several specialty bowls that come with such hookahs as the Mozza and the Mikro. With the exception of the Rock Burner, which is actually a slight variation of a Phunnel bowl, with a center hole and a trough for the rocks or tobacco around the edge, all of Mya Saray’s bowls have the standard holes in the bottom bowl.

The Egyptian and the large Egyptian bowls are different from the “traditional” hookah bowl and the typical “modern” bowl in that they tend to be deeper. For folks more used to packing the shallower “traditional” or “modern” bowl, this extra depth can sometimes lead to over packing and reduced air flow though the tobacco. This reduced air flow will cause the top layer of your tobacco to char or burn, leaving you with little smoke and even less flavor. To correct what is often perceived as a lack of heat, people will often add even more charcoal to the over packed bowl, making it burn even worse, sometimes actually producing large clouds of smoke that either taste like nothing or taste of burnt tobacco.

Packing A Bowl

So, how do you pack a Mya Saray bowl? To be honest, you pack it like any other hole in the bottom bowl. The trick is to pack it loose enough to allow good air flow THROUGH the tobacco. I’ll give MY personal technique, but what will really make a difference will be the air flow test at the end. This test is a simple way to make sure that no matter HOW you actually packed the bowl, the air flow is sufficient for a good session.

How to pack a bowl

I am a dumper. Some folks add the tobacco a pinch at a time, some folks even separate each leaf and place it in individually, I have gotten good enough that I can usually gauge about how much I need and set it loosely in my palm. I then dump the tobacco in the bowl and push it around gently with my fingers until it is properly distributed throughout the bowl.

how to pack a hookah bowl

You will hear people insist that you must leave a very small gap between the tobacco and the top of the bowl so the foil will not touch the tobacco, others will pack it to the top of the bowl and lay the foil right on the tobacco itself. I started as a leave space person but now I don’t bother. With proper heat control, it is ok for the foil to TOUCH the tobacco. In my experience, packing the tobacco OVER the top of the bowl, putting the foil on and seeing a mound under the foil often leads to improper air flow and the problems described above.

Air Flow Test #1

hookah bowl air flowOnce you have your tobacco in the bowl, its time for the first air flow test. Hold the bowl up and put your mouth on the bottom of the bowl, where you would put it on the top of the hookah stem. Now suck in slowly, does it feel like there is anything restricting the air flowing through the packed bowl? In my experience, you should be able to get the same air flow from a packed bowl as an unpacked one. Now give it a few harder pulls, still good air flow? Cool, it’s properly packed. If the air flow is restricted you can either manually fluff your tobacco and try again or you can hold your hand over the tobacco and blow with short but gentle puffs into the bowl to try and fluff the tobacco from below. I know some folks who do this test by blowing into the bowl instead. I find this isn’t an accurate test because when you put the bowl on your hookah and start puffing, you’ll be sucking the tobacco DOWN into the bottom of the bowl and that is when you get the restricted air flow if your pack is too tight ON THE DRAW.

Ok, last stage, foil and holes. This part is easy. Place the piece of foil over the top of the bowl, push the foil down while keeping it taught across the top of the bowl, and press the excess foil down and around the outside of the bowl to secure it in place. DO NOT push the foil down onto the top of the tobacco if you can avoid it as it will negate the nice fluffy packing job you just did.

how to wrap foil on a hookah bowlhow to poke holes in hookah foil

Air Flow Test #2

Every single hookah smoker I know has their own method, depth, size, spacing, number, etc. etc. etc., when it comes to poking holes no one method is really any better than any other in my opinion. I use something small and sharp, preferably a thumb tack or a sharp tooth pick and make a series of small holes in a spiral pattern towards the center of the bowl. How ever you make your holes, there is one last quick air flow check you can make to see if your foiling and hole punching mashed down the tobacco. So try pulling air through the bottom of the bowl again. A little restriction is to be expected, but if the air doesn’t flow smoothly and easily, you may try the blow through method to see if you can loosen it up a little or you may need to re-foil. It’s entirely up to you.

Place bowl on top of hookah, add charcoal to taste, smoke and ENJOY.
 
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