Al Fakher is one of the top manfucturers of hookah tobacco in all of the land. They have been perfecting their craft since the late 90s. One of the commonly known facts about Al Fakher is that it can be a bit finicky with the way it smokes, but the proper packing technique will have you blowing full, flavorful clouds in a matter of minutes. Al Fakher starts smoking pretty immediately, which can lead to a harsh and unpleasant smoking experience from time to time if too much heat is applied at once. With a little bit of education and persistence, we believe anyone can pack the perfect bowl of Al Fakher shisha tobacco.
While it is recommended to smoke Al Fakher from a traditional Egyptian hookah bowl or a Tangiers Phunnel Bowl, it can be smoked out of any hookah bowl with good results as long as proper heat management techniques are observed while smoking. For all intents and purposes, we will be teaching the perfect Al Fakher pack for any style Phunnel bowl, but these general rules of thumb can be translated to any style of bowl you are using.
When packing a bowl of Al Fakher, whether you're using a generic bowl or an Oblivion Shika Phunnel Bowl, your initial pack should always be fluffy and loose. It is best to load the bowl a few pinches at a time, allowing the tobacco
to fall off your fingertips and down into the hookah bowl lightly. This action should be repeated until your hookah bowl appears to be overflowing with Al Fakher. Once you have a good amount of tobacco in the bowl (recommended about 35 to 40 grams in a Tangiers Phunnel Bowl), pat down the loose shisha lightly, so there are no stray tobacco leaves poking from the top of the bowl and the excess tobacco "hugs" the rim of your bowl. Since Al Fakher typically burns faster than most shisha tobacco, it is okay if the tobacco is slightly touching your foil or Kaloud Lotus. Your pack does not need to be perfectly even or consistent. As long as your pack is fluffy and only slightly patted down, it should burn as expected.
Pro-Tip: Having a tall pack will also prevent your hookah foil from blocking the center spire of your Phunnel bowl as well.
Obviously, if you are using a Kaloud Lotus Heat Management System, you can skip this part of the How-To. For the rest of the Hookah Foil using world, this part is just about as important as the pack. The biggest element to getting your hookah foil just right is to make sure the foil is pulled tightly over your hookah bowl, and the tightness of the foil is consistent across the top of the bowl. When poking holes in your foil, make sure there are not too few or too many, and be sure they are not too large or too small. Toothpicks are the perfect size for poking holes in your foil, or you can use a hookah foil poker. Typically, two or three rings of holes around your foil will be enough to create proper airflow through the bowl without pulling too much heat from the coals down into the hookah.
Note: If you have too many holes in your foil, or the holes are too large, you increase your chances of shocking the tobacco with too much heat at once and ruining the smoke session.
The coals you use to smoke Al Fakher shisha make all the difference. It is recommended to use natural coconut hookah charcoal if at all possible. As mentioned before, Al Fakher burns quickly, so it is recommended to start with 3 hookah coals on your bowl, and you can add more or reduce coals if necessary. With most hookah tobacco, once you drop the coals on the foil it is best practice to give the tobacco about a minute to cook under the coals. With Al Fakher shisha tobacco however, it is good to go ahead and start puffing on the bowl as soon as the coals are applied. You should be able to get some flavor and small clouds right away, and the bowl should open up nicely after that and start producing the clouds you've been waiting to exhale for your entire hookah career.
-Pay attention to your water level when loading Al Fakher as well. It is recommended to use a slightly lower water level in your base, as this will reduce the amount of suction you put on the hookah coals while smoking, effectively reducing the heat that is being applied directly to your hookah tobacco. This will keep your tobacco from getting scorched too quickly.
-If you are not satisfied with the size of the clouds you're getting, but you are still getting good flavor from the bowl, try to avoid adding more coals. Instead, try rotating your coals more frequently. If you add coals, your bowl will likely become a bit harsh, leading to "scratchy" feeling hookah smoke.
-If you are thinking of trying Al Fakher for the first time, check out our blog highlighting the Top 10 Al Fakher Hookah Tobacco Flavors.
Do you have any advanced methodologies or special tricks you use for packing an Al Fakher? We want to hear them! Let us know in the comments below!