Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Natural or Quick Lighting Coals?

There are two types of coals you can consider purchasing. Both have pros and cons to them and should be considered before purchasing. While there are very many varieties of each type, there are one of each that stand out to me. I will be going over the pros and cons to both, the prices and how each of them work.

Natural Coals

For natural coals, I prefer Coco Nara. Coco Nara are 100% natural, made from compressed coconut husks and shells. The dimensions of the briquettes are 1 inch by 5/8 inch and carry a square shape to them. They burn hotter and much longer than most other natural coals. They are virtually odorless and tasteless. It takes about 5-10 minutes to light on a electric coiled stove and last from one hour to an hour and a half. They run around $15 per 108 purchased in bulk.

Quick Lighting Coals

 For quick lighting coals, I prefer Three Kings. Three Kings is made in Holland and they are a self-heating solid organic coal at 1 inch and 5/16th wide. It is very easy to light these and do not take longer than 30 seconds to do. They have a tiny gun powder smell when you first ignite, but that goes away once the first ash layer starts the form. I find no taste difference in the shisha. Each coal lasts between 30-50 minutes depending on how many people are smoking. They run around $16 per 100 purchased in bulk.

Lighting Techniques
For lighting natural coals, I suggest either using an exposed heating coal from an electric stove, a real fire in a fire place or a hookah coal heater (running at $49.99). You must keep the coal on the heat source for at least 5-10 minutes, or until there is no more black portion of the coal left and replaced with a grey ash layer.
For lighting quick lighting coals, I suggest using a torch lighter. Hold the coal with tongs (be careful, they will get hot too) and hold the coal above the flame for about 5-10 seconds or until you're blowing on it and see a red ember. Leave the coal alone until there is a ash layer visable all around (so you aren't smoking and quick lighting chemicals).

Smoking Techniques
No matter what coals you are using, remember to leave your coals on the corner of the clay bowl and not directly on top.  Also, rotate the coals every 5-10 minutes a bit to the left or right so the heat is spread evenly. Some people like using more than one coal at a time, but I have never before. If anything, I broke one coal up into two pieces. I have heard, however, that using more coals will create a more pillowy smoke. I still have yet to experiment with that, though.

Choose wisely!


  1. Back again! I just got done reading this review and I have to say that Three Kings is probably one of the quicklites i dont get any chemically smell/taste from. I also love the coco naras and recommend it to anyone interested in getting a natural caol

  2. I have to agree with the Coco Naras. They are fairly expensive for a coal, but they do the job really well. There is virtually no taste and last very long. Definitely a five star quality. Buy in bulk to save cash.

  3. Quick lighting coal will ruin your shisha. I tried Coco Nara for the first time a couple of days ago and I will never use quick lighting coal again.