Quicklight VS. Natural
Today we are going to go over the two main types of charcoal you are going to use for hookah, quick or instant light charcoal and natural charcoals.
Are you in a hurry or do you have time to light charcoal is the big question you have to ask yourself. I light all of my charcoal with a hot plate, there are also burners that heat your charcoal up for you but a hot plate works fine for me. Now the second question you have to ask yourself is, do I want to give up the flavor of my hookah for gaining speed and time of setting up? If you are okay with giving up flavor so that you can quickly get your hookah set up then maybe instant or quick lights are for you.
Natural charcoal takes some time and effort to set up and in the end will last you longer. Personally, I use quick or instant lights if I travel or smoke away from home. For instance, I go to a friends house and they do not have a good source for me to light my charcoal, I go instant/quicklight. If I have a place that I can set up my hotplate or they have a source for me to light my charcoal I will use natural. All charcoal is made from the same concept but are not made equal. You can find charcoal made from many different sources, wood being the most common, coconut shells, and even dried fruits. Natural does not contain any chemicals that aid in the ignition of the charcoal. Instant/qucklight charcoals have chemicals that when heated with an open flame they react and light the charcoal for convenience.
Charcoal is made from a material that is ground into a fine powder and then it is "charred" by a flame and then it is compounded into a briquette. Hense the name charcoal, because it is charred then compressed. Quick/instant light charcoal has a step between the charring and compression, it will have the lighting agent added so that the coal will light for your convenience, this is where you lose flavor. Think of it like this if you barbeque with gas you will taste the gas you cooked with, if you cook with wood or charcoal you will have an Earthy flavor to your food. Now that we have covered how the two types differ now you need to pick a brand and type of coal to use.
Most of your quck/instant light charcoal is generic and will all be made of the same compounds but they will all have different ways they act on top of the hookah, some will ash more and some will take more time and effort to keep lit. Natural coal on the other hand has an endless option, how big of a coal do you want, what material do you want it to be made from, and they will all act different atop the hookah as well. Some will ash more and need to be turned more than others and I find that some need to be broken apart before they work well. For more information and to get a good look and demonstration go watch the video about charcoal.