Beginners Guide to Shisha/Hookah Charcoal

Beginners Guide to Shisha/Hookah Charcoal

Different types of Hookah Charcoals

Shisha is a great choice for relaxation or simply lounging with your friends but you must know how to properly utilise the accessories you need in order to ensure a great session for yourself. One of the most important elements to a great shisha smoking experience is the charcoal that you use.  
There are two different types of charcoal available in today’s market, quick light charcoals and natural charcoal, both have different uses.
Natural charcoals are used to enjoy a longer session and it is the cleanest way to smoke shisha.  On the other hand you have quick light charcoal that is used for beginners who are just learning how to properly pack shisha or for emergencies at times when you do not have a way to light the natural coals.
Both do the job but the question arises which one is best for you and what are they exactly. We will discuss the pros and cons of both and hopefully after reading this you will then know which works for your shisha sessions.


Quick light charcoals are composed of several different bases that help light the coal quickly with minimal effort.

  1. They are normally coated with sulfur that helps the charcoal heat itself quickly.
  2.  They normally come in ring or circle shaped pieces that vary from 33-40mm and are not odorless. But they can be used in case of emergencies or quick fixes.

The brands vary once again and with quick light charcoal so making the right decision helps ensure you a pleasurable session.
Some PROs for quick lights are:
  • More convenient, easy for travel and emergencies
  • They are great for beginners
Here are some CONs:
  • They are not odorless
  • Give off a chemical flavor to your shisha
  • Minimal heat output
The site offers various brands are carried and they all serve a different purpose. For sessions that last about 45 minutes or less we recommend Three Kings and Natural Belgian quick lights. For shorter sessions we recommend Mera quick lights. In order to prepare these coals we suggest using tongs and a surface that is not sensitive to heat.
Once you spark the charcoal it will begin to heat itself from the center until its original black color turns into a reddish orange color that is when they are ready for use. This process requires minimal heat and roughly 3-5 minutes. For beginners we recommend this because it is very easy to light these coals and it is very easy to ash these coals.


The main use for natural coals is to provide the right amount of heat on the shisha for an extended period of time.

  1. They normally come from coconut shells and very eco friendly.
  2. Natural coals last longer than their quick light counterparts and are easier to tend to while smoking shisha.
  3. They normally come in cube shapes and require a high consistent heat source in order to utilize them for smoking.

Normally an electric coil burner does the job. When the coals are on the burner they first start off in their original charcoal black color. Once on the burner they begin to turn orange. When the charcoal is orange on side use tongs to flip them to prepare the other side. The process of lighting coals normally takes about 10 minutes and that is ample time for you to prepare your shisha setup by packing your bowl and assembling the hookah. The most important part about burning natural coals is to make sure that all sides are giving off the orange hue so that you know immediately that they are properly lit.  
The PROs of using these coals are:
  • Clean tasting
  • Odorless
  • Higher heat output
  • Lastly they last longer
The CONs are:
  • Takes more time to light
  • They lack the convenience factor since you need a burner or a high heat source for an extended period of time. 
We recommend these above quick light charcoal if you are looking to enjoy a smooth session tasting the full flavor of your shisha instead of the additional additives in quick lights for a longer session. For beginners these coals might be a bit of a scare because of the fact of its preparation and heat management but like everything else practice makes perfect.
At the end of it all the two types of charcoal available on todays market are natural and quick light charcoals. Whichever one you decide to go with you will still have a way to enjoy your shisha. Take these tips and choose which is best for your use. For longer use we recommend natural coals for travel and emergencies quick lights are my coal of choice.

The Shisha Shop, 11-13 Fairways Business Park, Lammas Road, E10 7QB London, United Kingdom

TEL: +44 20 8133 3263

Beginners Guide to Shisha Hookah Charcoal

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