Shisha tobacco: The best recommendations

The most famous water pipe in the world - the Shisha - is of course also included in our "Pipe Knowledge" section. We explain what makes a Shisha and what the difference is between Shisha tobacco and other tobaccos. Also: How do I keep my tobacco moist and store it best? The best tips.

Shisha has long been more than just a trend. Especially among teenagers and young adults, the water pipe is a real cult object and it is hard to imagine life without it. In many cities, hookah cafés are now as much a part of the cityscape as bakeries and newsagents. 

But what actually makes the hookah so special? One essential criterion is the specially produced and extremely sticky tobacco that vaporizes during shisha smoking. We explain what this is all about and how you can keep the tobacco nice and moist. 

The shisha: origin and structure

Before we start, let's take a brief look at the history of shisha. The term "Shisha" comes from the Persian and stands for "glass". Shisha originated in ancient India, where locals developed the first shisha-like water pipes made of coconuts and bamboo canes. A little later, the Egyptians replaced these components with glass - the shisha as we know it today was born. From there, it began its triumphal march around the world.

Today we know the shisha as an elongated water pipe consisting of a glass water vessel, a smoke column, the smoke head and sometimes several hoses. Shishas can differ significantly in their design and size. By the way, there are now also small and handy e-shishas. They are similar to conventional e-cigarettes in terms of their design and mode of operation.

Shisha tobacco: What makes it special

What makes a hookah really special is its unmistakable tobacco. Moist, sticky, and very strong smelling - these are the characteristics that make every hookah tobacco easily recognizable. The basis is conventional raw tobacco, which is also used for cigarettes and the like. This is usually mixed with molasses (dark brown sugar syrup), glycerine (used to bind moisture and water) and flavorings. 

Shisha tobacco is now produced worldwide, with many manufacturers. The various manufacturers have already come up with countless flavors with which they flavor the tobaccos. Fruity varieties such as double apple mint, passion fruit, watermelon or menthol mint are popular, for example. The optimal moisture content of hookah tobacco is between 15-20%. It is therefore smoked extremely moist, unlike pipe or cigarette tobacco.

How to store hookah tobacco properly

Once the hookah tobacco is opened, it is therefore very important that it remains moist. Most smokers do not limit themselves to just one flavor, but have a large selection of tobaccos at home. Therefore, it can happen that a tobacco sits around unused for quite a while.

Therefore, the same 3 storage rules apply to hookah tobacco as to pipe tobacco:

  1. Protection from air and sun: The biggest enemies of tobacco are air and sun, because they ensure that it dries out. When storing tobacco, it is therefore essential to ensure that it is well protected from external influences.

  2. The right temperature: The right temperature also plays a major role. Therefore, the tobacco should be stored at a low room temperature if possible and should never be exposed to excessive heat or cold. Some hookah smokers also swear by storage in the refrigerator. However, this is not absolutely necessary.

  3. Humidity: At an approximate humidity of 60%, the aromas of the tobacco are best preserved.

Specifically, this means that airtight containers or resealable plastic bags are perfect for storage. It is also possible to store the hookah tobacco in conventional canning jars. For all types of storage, use only one type of tobacco per container. If you use an old (unwashed) pouch to store another tobacco, the flavors can mix and change the taste of the tobacco. 

Usually, you can use an opened hookah tobacco for several months if you store it properly. If the tobacco is no longer enjoyable, you can quickly recognize this by the somewhat musty smell. 

Dried out hookah tobacco? Moisten it yourself!

Of course, despite all caution, it can happen that a tobacco dries out during storage or has had too little moisture from the beginning. Even for this case, there is an uncomplicated solution. You can simply moisten the tobacco with either molasses or glycerine. Both substances are already contained in the tobacco anyway.


  1. Spread the tobacco evenly in a bowl.

  2. For about 50 grams of tobacco you need between 1-2 teaspoons of molasses or glycerin, which you can add little by little. Work the liquid well into tobacco either by hand or with a spoon.

  3. Let the tobacco stand overnight so that it can properly absorb the moisture. Now the moist tobacco should be ready to smoke!


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