Using aluminum foil is typically the first thing we use to cover the shisha bowl. At least, this is what I knew when I have been to the lounge during my young age. Few years later, the industry evolve the traditional heating method into different devices. But today, I will talk about aluminum foil, the most accessible asset that we can get. Oh, and another aspect is the next one : I’m not a scientist, but always put the mat finish on the top (shiny upside down). It just makes more sense to me when I do that, because the mat finish receive and diffuse the heat more evenly to all the surface. At the opposite, the shiny side reflect more the heat, causing some hotspots. Ideally, it would be better if both were mat for that reason, but that is due to the manufacturing process. Honestly, it might not be noticeable, but if you need a reason to choose a side, that would be my explanation 😀
It’s accessible. It’s relatively easy to setup. But the best thing I get out of it is the maintenance. Once I’m done with my session, I wait few minutes before I start to manipulate, I can remove the foil and simply throw everything (before starting the cleaning process, make sure the bowl has cooldown properly to not force the cracks underwater).
While it’s convenient, it diffuses the heat nicely into the bowl. The bowl itself absorb a lot heat and slowly prepare the ingredient to receive the heat from the coal. With the heat that is distributing from all around the flavor, you have more chance to have a smooth session and less opportunities to experience heat spikes.
With foil, you have the advantage to control the amount of heat that goes to your bowl by making different hole patterns, by switching the hole’s size and the quantity of them. At the end, you can control the airflow by doing so.
I also like the fact the ashes barely drop in. You don’t want them to drastically fluctuate the taste.
If it’s not drum tight, the foil will drag down in the middle and might restrict the draw substantially and make the session less enjoyable. Another thing is not all type of foils will benefit you. If it’s too thin, it will be harsher and make the smoke hotter. On the other side, if it’s too thick, it will take more time to heat to the ideal level and could be eventually be really warm. I would also avoid the non-stick version, as it makes the foil very slippery, the coals would burn the coating and I don’t feel inhaling that. So what would be the best for you ?
It ends up to be your personal preference and depends on what is accessible to you, but, as a standard, you want to start with 2 layers of foil. Regular foil tends to get hot really fast and cooks the flavor faster. If that’s your only choice, you can always make smaller hole or make less holes in your pattern to decrease the amount of heat. Or you can always put less coals to balance. Every brands offer different thickness. The regular aluminum foil tends to measure around 10 to 14 microns. so you ends up to 20 to 28 microns thick with 2 layers.
Another option is to look for heavy duty type, which are around 14 to 20 microns, which ends up to be 28 to 40 microns thick with 2 layers. Theses are definitely a great alternatives in general if you want to make the session better in terms of longevity. It might not be significant to you, but you can probably get 30mins extra of tasty smoke before it turns.
The last option is a little bit more pricey, but you can buy foil that is especially made to hookah. They measure around 30 to 40 microns, which makes it convenient by using only 1 layer. They are harder to manipulate, but when you get the hand of it, you can appreciate them more. They are more malleable. They are thicker, which means its will tear less. Since they are pretty thick, it will take more times to heat and might ends up too warm through the session, but I don’t mind that. It’s all about how you manage the heat through the session 🙂
I personally like the Iron foil from Cyril. It’s 38 microns thick and the price is very good. It’s a little shorter than the standard (12cm x 12cm). The regular size is 15cm x 15cm once you cut them. The length of the Iron foil is 30 meter and it’s listed for 15$ CAD If I remember. It might seems a lot, but you can get 250 sessions at most. So it’s only 0.06$ CAD per sheet (12cm x 12cm). And the box is compact ! If you opt for this one in particular, I would forge the packaging with tapes. The foil is so heavy that it destroys the box over the usage.
If you’re wondering which heat management device I use on foil is provost 2 from AppleOnTop. It’s versatile and easy to use. It gives you the leverage to reach the ideal level of heat to your preferences.
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