Bowl Anatomy is one of the least discussed topics.
RIM : It’s the limit of the trench. Also known as the perimeter of the bowl, it gives a reference point for your packing.
TRENCH : It’s the cavity where the tobacco sits.
SPIRE : It’s the raised wall in the middle where the airflow travel thru. It prevents the leaves and the juice from falling.
BRIDGE : It’s a particularity from Alpacabowl which prevent the foil from dragging down
DIFFUSED SPIRE : It’s a variant of the typical one hole phunnel bowl. It has a similar pattern has the traditional bowl, but it’s a raised spire and shaped like a dome in the middle. It concentrates the air and makes the session a little more flavorful. It also helps the user to pack the tobacco more comfortably by preventing it from falling.
LIP : Its purpose is to “secure” the heat management device (HMD) like lotus 1+ from kaloud. It won’t exactly lock the HMD in position, but it would rather make your mind at ease. Usually, it looks like a second step around the rim.
GROOVE : It gives more flowrate to the draw. It also gives more flexibility the manufacturers about the imperfections due to the nature of the process if bowls are hand spun.
WHAT IS THE IDEAL BOWL ?
In general, I always look at the design of the spire and at the shape of the trench. The spire is probably the most important part to analyze. Compared to the rim, if the spire is too high, you might experienced more restriction when the foil is dragging down. If it’s higher than the rim, HMD won’t fit properly and coals might slide out on the top of the foil due to the vibrations . If the spire is too low, all the juice will leak down which will alter the quality of the flavor thru the session. In some cases, it might not be noticeable when the draw is not strong enough. But with the slightest restriction, the glycerin will start to accumulate into the base. Grooves on spire are not a necessity if the spire is well executed, but they are useful if you want to secure the flowrate.
As for the trench, it will show how the airflow and the heat will travel thru the tobacco. As long as the curvature is shaped like a “U” or “V”, it should fully warm up the flavors correctly. When it’s squared, the heat might not reach that spot. When it’s deep, it is easier to pack. If it’s too shallow, it will burn the tobacco faster. But mostly, the type of tobacco will determinate what kind is optimal.
Lipped bowl are great if you really want a second step to stabilize your HMD. Something you should know about those: since it makes the bowl wider, it won’t benefit the users who wants to use foil. When it’s wider, it’s harder to tighten the foil. When there is less tension, it tends to drag down and reduce the airflow, if not totally block it. it’s beautiful, but it removes the flexibility from using foil.
As for the dimension of the rim, make sure it fits your HMD if you are thinking about using them. it should be around three inches (76mm). If it’s smaller than that, make sure there’s still a passage from the holes inside the HMD into the trench. Otherwise, the air won’t pass thru. The thicker is the rim, the better it will react to the heat. If you like using foil, most bowl should work.
At the end, it depends on your experiences and your needs. When you know yours preferences, it will help you choose your next bowl :). It will encourage you to buy better bowls instead of cute bowls.
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