If you drop a hookah off the top of the Empire State Building, will it make a crater when it hits the concrete? If you fill your hookah bowl with just the right combination of shisha, will it create a raincloud? These are just a few of the many myths surrounding hookahs. Well, today the Hookah Mythbusters will tackle one such myth.
Are natural hookah coals really better than quick-lights?
It’s a question that has mystified the hookah community for ages. We decided to answer this question once and for all. We set up two hookahs – one with Coco Nara natural coals and one with Three Kings quick light coals – and paired each one with a bowl of Al Fakher Watermelon shisha to test them out.
The first thing we did was light the coals. The natural charcoal took a lot longer to light (about 6-8 minutes), but didn’t give off any odor as they heated up and turned a bright orange. The quick lights ignited instantly but gave off a strong chemical smell that’s reminiscent of barbeque coals (but without the delicious pork rib scent).
After the coals were lit and placed atop their respective hookahs, with wind covers to hide which coal was which, our brave testers lined up to take the coal challenge.
Testing the Hookah Coals
The hookah with the quick lights took longer to get going, since they didn’t put off as much heat as the natural coals. People who tried the quick lights first had no complaints about the taste, but they all said they noticed an immediate and marked difference when switching to the natural coals. Nearly every tester said that the bowl with the quick lights tasted more “chemical,” and the smoke was not as smooth. In the end, the naturals just had a cleaner taste, and they lasted longer than their quick-lighting counterparts.
The Coco Nara natural coals came out ahead of the Three Kings for their lack of ash, greater heat, and cleaner taste that didn’t seem to affect the flavor of the shisha. However, it should be said that quick light hookah coals do have their place in the hookah world due to their convenience.
We drew up a final pros & cons list to see how each type of coal measures up.
- clean tasting
- more heat
- long lasting
- take longer to light
- less convenient - require a stove or burner to light
Quick Light Coals:
- more convenient - can be lit with a lighter
- good for new hookah users just learning how to get set up
- perfect for travel or emergencies
- not odorless
- less heat
- can give an ashy, chemical flavor to shisha
So, are natural hookah coals better than quick light hookah coals? Our research tells us yes – this one’s confirmed!
Need more proof? Check out our video. And if you have your own coal preference, tell us about it!