How The Shisha World Changed In 10 Years
The Shisha World Has Changed In The Last Decade
What a wild year we are experiencing. 2020 has been crazy from the get go. It is almost as if someone switched the channel and forgot to change it. We are definitely living through something historic. The COVID-10 pandemic has impacted the lives of everyone and has changed almost every market on earth, for some making gains throughout this period of time, while other markets completely being abolished. One industry of that comes to mind of course, is the "shisha world" that has been affected in different ways but not only in the last few months however but the last decade.
In the last ten years, the hookah smoking industry has had its up and downs. For the most part though, our industry has evolved into a completely new animal. Smoking hookah in 2010 compared to smoking hookah in 2020 are two different universes. Today we are going to discuss how things have changed for hookah over the span of 10 years and where we are headed. So buckle up, grab your quarantine hookah & get ready to read a long one.
International Spread of Hookah
2010 was the major turning point for the "world of shisha". Many factors impacted how "the hookah" was soon to be a major industry amongst other industries and amongst our modern culture. Its main origin of impact for change had been mainly in the USA. U.S troops had just been withdrawn from Iraq and troops were headed home. 7 years of war and millions of soldiers serving in the Middle East could only mean change to ones habits and thoughts based on experiences. Hookah was a means of relaxing for many soldiers serving their country in Iraq and when the troops withdrawal occurred, this hobby was brought back to the USA. This is where the industry started to excel. The demand for hookah was there and so it started to expand to parts of the USA that had not been reached before. The birth of a new modern hookah industry was born. New retailers started opening up online in the U.S, import opportunities from Middle Eastern countries opened up to North America & innovative products were produced by individuals who saw the shisha world in a different era. The expansion of shisha into the USA not only affected the country itself but the world as a whole. The idea of what the hookah world would look like in ten years shifted from country to country and the snowball effect just kept growing from there. Ten years later, the world of hookah has been transformed with new products, flavours etc. It seems as if almost daily something new comes out. Products from Russia, Germany & even Canada have emerged to be popular globally.
The Shift From Traditional Hookahs To Modern Hookahs
When this all started, there were mainly only two types of hookahs. Traditional shisha pipes that were manufactured in the Middle East (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey) and Chinese hookahs which were cheaply made and mock ups of the originals. Fast forward to 10 years, we now have USA made bubblers, Russian water pipes, Brazilian cachimbas & German wasserpfeifes (yes, those are all different ways of saying hookah). Drastically, everything changed when shisha became mainstream thus the international community jumped aboard to clinch on to the opportunity. Modern hookah pipes now are the new trend after years of development. Traditional shisha pipes are still very popular amongst the community but the simplicity and minimalist look on the stainless steel and aluminum water-pipes are very attractive in 2020.
Increase In Shisha Flavour Variety
I remember the days when my hookah was a simple Khalil Mamoon pipe and I had only 3 flavours to choose from. Those flavours were the original 3 as we like to call them today. Double Apple, Grape & Sweet Melon by Nakhla shisha tobacco were pretty much the only flavours on the market. Fast forward 10 years later and there is a variety of brands and flavours. I mean the flavours are limitless. There are now hundreds of brands worldwide whereas when it was still in its humble beginnings, there were only two mainstream brands that were still in the early stages of growth and development. Nakhla shisha & Al-Fakher were the original two brands that were manufactured in the Middle East. Today we have brands emerging in the USA, Russia, Germany, Brazil and the list goes on. Flavours are now even categorized based on your personal taste palate. If you are into citrus hookah shisha flavours, then theres a list of mixes from lemon & lime, orange and mint, grapefruit etc. Feel like chocolate or coffee? Theres that too. What I am trying to say is that any flavour you want, its out there....including bacon...yuck.
Natural Shisha Coals Killed Quick Light Coals
Ok, if you started smoking hookah before 2010, you will remember those donut looking coals that came in a roll of 10 wrapped in tinfoil. You would simply grab a lighter and burn this coal up till it stunk up the room and triggered your fire alarm. 3 Kings Charcoal used to be the go-to shisha coal since it was so easy to use, especially when travelling. What we did not know back then was that it would light up so easily due to all of the chemicals that were induced and injected in these little capsules of ignition. Very unhealthy of course, especially if you are inhaling these chemicals. Through time however, natural coals were introduced to the American & European shisha market that quickly overtook the coal industry for smoking. Natural coals are developed of organic ingredients such as coconut or bamboo and tend to be a "healthier" or more of a cautious option for hookah tobacco smoking. Coconut coals tend to last up to 1.5 hours which is a huge improvement over quick light coals that only lasted for 15-20 minutes at a time. This move from quick lights to coco's actually helped enhance the flavour of bubbler smoke sessions since natural coals do not contain additives and burn much smoother at a regulated temperature. Sure quick lights are still used in 2020 but mostly for the occasional travelling smoke sessions or the times when one has run out of natural charcoal.
Shisha Heat Management Systems Conquered Tin Foil
Ah the good old days! Remember when you would sit there and poke tin foil for the right amount of holes to achieve the smoothest and best flavoured smoke? Long are those days for a majority of todays hookahs enthusiasts. In 2010, a new innovative product was introduced to the hookah market that actually revolutionized the way we smoke hookah. I'm talking about the Kaloud Lotus HMD. If you are not familiar with the Lotus or a hookah heat management device, it is that metal thing you've probably seen sitting on top of your friends hookah bowl rather than a piece of punctured, double wrapped tin foil. Thats right, no more foil! The Lotus was introduced to help easily manage the transfer of heat from charcoal to shisha molasses while removing all of the ash and particles from interfering with the flavour of your sessions. Tin foil still does the job in some cases such as using delicate tobaccos (dark leafs) but the hookah world has pretty much moved on from the traditional ways of doing things and have since started using heat management devices rather than tin foil. Other options have been introduced to the market since the Lotus was released such as the Oduman Ignis, which is made in Turkey & the Apple On Top Provost, manufactured by AOT America.
Silicone Hoses Replaced The Standard
Around the time Oxide Hookah was established, silicone hoses were just being introduced. Traditional hoses were always great but they always ended up ghosting flavours from previous sessions and would eventually begin to deteriorate overtime. Silicone tubing was introduced to replace the traditional hose so that sessions would taste better and smoother. Advantages of making the switch over to silicone hoses was that you could now easily clean the hose without the worry of damage and at the same time you could use this accessory with multiple flavours rather than just one. The silicone hose made smoking hookah more efficient and in a sense safer. Traditional hoses would start to rust from the interior after a couple uses due to the coils that held the hose together. This was actually pretty harmful since those who were smoking inhaled rust particles. Making the switch to silicone hoses in the last decade enhanced our smoke sessions and kept our respiratory system a bit safer.
Phunnel Bowls Are Now The Norm
Phunnel shisha bowls are now the norm in the shisha world. Looking back in time, we had such little variety for bowls or hookah heads. Ceramic bowls that were cheap & shattered easily were some of the small options we had to utilize alongside the common red clay bowls that were quickly hand thrown together in Egypt. Today we still have those options but we have come a long way in enhancing the way we smoke. Phunnel bowls are the new norm and are made in multiple forms and shapes using a variety of materials. We now have stoneware clay bowls, aluminum bowls, silicone bowls and the list goes on to whats next to come. Phunnel bowls help preserve flavour and juices to make smoke thicker and more enjoyable. They also limit your tobacco from leaking juices into the hookah stem of your setup. Old-fashioned clay bowls that were hand thrown typically had air vents at the bottom centre of the interior which caused the quick loss of flavour and leakage of juices. Phunnel bowls used today actually have only one air vent that is raised so that the juices do not leak out and thus prolong and enhance ones session. You get the point, todays hookah bowls are so enhanced that they make our 10 year old ceramic bowls bite dust.
Whats Next For The Hookah Industry?
I could have not imagined that we would be smoking the way we are 10 years ago. I have no clue whats going to happen in the next decade for hookah but i sure do hope that enhancements keep progressing to help develop and mature the industry. The hookah-shisha world is still young and is still growing. The last decade we saw things change so rapidly. I hope to see the continuous innovation within the hookah market and hope that the industry be seen from a more serious angle. Although we've seen rapid changes with products, most governments have misconceptions of what a hookah really is and have added restrictions to making certain products available to adult smokers. The hope for ruling powers to understand our industry within the new decade would be a huge leap into making it grow to its potential. We'll get back to you then and discuss how its changed since now! See you in 2030.