If you browse through our catalogue, you'll notice there are lots of hookah pipes to choose from. Some of them are small and some of them are large. Others are huge. But what's the difference?
We asked questions and did some tests to see what we thought was the best type of pipe to use and how it affected the taste and the smoke, and the results were pretty varied.
For a start, we decided to see if people could actually tell the difference between pipes, so we rigged up two different sized pipes with the same hoses and blindfolded a few shisha friends. We then asked them to smoke.
I'm not going to pretend that this was in anyway scientific (it really wasn't!), but the results were interesting nonetheless.
All of our volunteers said they thought they would prefer the larger pipes. They cited various reasons, cooler smoke, more smoke, more chance for the flavours to infuse etc, but when it came to the test, none of them could tell with any accuracy which pipe was which.
This is interesting because a lot of what we see, taste and smell is down to perception. If we think that something will taste better and can have good reasons for it, we'll probably find that it does taste better. It's why Heston Blumenthal has all those fancy gimmicks in his restaurant.
Even so, some of our volunteers said they could tell some difference, they just couldn't work out what it was or whether they preferred it.
So let's look at why it might be different.
First off, long stems and larger water bowls will allow for more filtering of the smoke. It will also cool more as it rises, but again, it's not going to be a huge amount, but it's probably discernible.
Another point is the hose. When you buy a smaller hookah, you'll probably get a smaller, thinner hose to suit, and that could mean drawing through it will be slightly harder. Larger pipes will have easier draws. Whether this is a good or bad thing is entirely down to preference though.
Let's be clear though, your choice of pipe will mostly be down to how it looks. You'll enjoy a smoke more if you're smoking from a pipe you actually like the look of and enjoy using.
Luckily, we have plenty to choose from!