Buying a Hookah

Since the culture of hookah shisha is one of relaxation, it’s best to approach the process of hookah buying with patience. Research the subject, become familiar with the best materials and products, consider the aesthetics–what pleases most and will most enhance the smoking experience for you? Quality, beauty, and price are the broad parameters to consider when you set out to buy hookahs.

While it’s a good idea to have checked out any local retail outlets where hookahs are available, and to have tried various hookah pipes at a lounge, your best bet in meeting the above criteria is probably going to be buying online. There’s simply a much broader range of hookahs available online, without the markup a brick-and-mortar store is forced to charge.

For the hookah body, also called the vase, or govde, Pyrex glass or ceramic, or some other non-porous, tempered material, are the best. Avoid wood or copper. Bases come in sizes from small to large and a multihued array of colors and designs. Stems will generally be stainless steel or another solid metal, fluted and, again, in a range of heights. Hoses also come in a variety of styles and lengths. The tobacco bowl should be ceramic, clay, or metal. You can get a hookah with one hose fitting or multiple hose fittings. There are a number of sites where you can build your own hookah from a selection of parts, and others where you can order custom hookahs. There is a wide selection of high quality hookahs available ready-made, however.

Egyptian hookahs generally have hand-blown glass bases in jewel and opal-toned colors, while Syrian hookahs have exquisitely ornamented ceramic or glass bases. Beyond these traditional styles there are a plethora of modern interpretations, animal shaped hookahs, mod hookahs, mini hookahs, traveling hookahs complete with carrying case, and rotating hookahs. Prices range from about $35 for a mini, quality, single-hose hookah, with a mid-range for medium hookahs at $60 to $100, and from about $115 to $135 or more for a large hookah. For a custom hookah, you can spend from around $225 for crystal to as much as $1,000 for a hookah made of silver.

Most hookah purchases will come with individual bowl, stem, plate, base, and hose or hoses, in separable parts for ease of cleaning, and will include tongs for coals, screens, brushes for cleaning, and instructions. Some will also come with a carrying case and extra rubber stoppers, some hookah tobacco and charcoal.

Automatic Espresso Machines

Commercially used espresso machines can be broadly divided into two kinds: semi-automatic and fully automatic. Fully automatic machines are also termed ‘super-automatic espresso machines’. These machines are fast gaining entry into the commercial as well as the household use.

In a semi-automatic espresso machine, the amount of water used for making coffee can be determined by either the user or the machine. Also, the user has to dispose and dose the coffee grounds. The user also steams the milk using a steam wand.

An automatic espresso machine may offer automatic brewing, in which the machine defines the amount of water to be used. These machines typically have two settings, single and double shot.

Various automatic machines also offer automatic dosing, in which the machine takes in the proper amount of coffee, and discards it after brewing. Coffee is ground, dosed, brewed and discarded automatically in a maker which offers automatic grinding. The bypass doser feature in some machines allows one to use ground coffee and adjustable dosage.

Semi-automatic espresso machines are those used at homes or a small scale office or restaurant. A heat exchanger or distributor is used to heat the brewing water. This is one of the most important differences between automatic espresso machines and good home espresso making machines. The boiler is used for the steam, and is kept at a higher temperature. This also ensures that the steam is available at all times.

While single boiler machines use only one boiler for preparing steam and heating the brewing water, the heat exchanger or extra boiler makes it unnecessary to switch modes while using automatic espresso machines.

After the coffee is brewed, the pressure in the portafilter is automatically released through a valve.

Some companies manufacturing semi and fully automatic espresso making machines are Gensaco, Krups, Pasquini, Brasilia, and Europa.

An Introduction To Gourmet Coffee

Over five hundred billion cups of coffee are consumed each year making it the most popular drink on this earth. For centuries, this aromatic, spirit-lifting drink has been the beverage to serve at any and all events. Many board meetings and friendships have thrived over a cup of coffee. Extracted from the seed of cherries growing on coffee trees, coffee is grown extensively in fifty-three countries across the equator.

Specialty gourmet coffee is very popular among coffee drinkers today. As a matter of fact, statistic show that it is one of the fastest growing food retailers netting approximately $8.5 billion a year. People enjoy the taste of the sophisticated beans used in the making of this delightful gourmet drink. The beans are grown at very high altitudes on Arabic trees and feed on volcanic ash. A cool climate and lots of moisture result in a high quality bean group. The soil the beans are grown in produces the very distinct flavors of the gourmet beans. Gourmet coffee has a more balanced flavor and richer taste than the standard mass-produced coffee. The beans go through a rigorous process of certification that is very strict to help keep the quality high. To help keep standards high, the Specialty Coffee Association of American was created in 1982, for the specialty coffee trade.

You can find gourmet coffee in most grocery stores, specialty shops, restaurants and coffee shops. If you are a true connoisseur, you might compare gourmet coffee to a wonderful bottle of wine.

A Guide to Hookah Smoking

The slow and relaxed experience of smoking a hookah, which includes preparation of the hookah and the tobacco, is the whole point of hookah smoking. It’s not about a buzz or a nicotine fix, it’s about the relaxed space, among friends and out of time, that is created by the hookah and the act of smoking it. Typically, a hookah smoking session lasts somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes.

After carefully preparing a clean hookah with cold water, selecting a flavorful tobacco for the bowl, lighting and adding the charcoal, the aromatic hookah smoke is drawn bubbling through the water. Cooled and softened after being filtered by the water, light, pleasant smoke infuses the senses, lingering on the air, encouraging slow meditative breathing and sweetening conversation, games of dominoes, or quiet contemplation and study.

Some techniques used to enhance the experience of hookah smoking are adding ice to the water and chilling the hoses beforehand. The lush fruit flavors of hookah smoke can be heightened by the addition of fruit juice or wine to the water in the base, and both customers and proprietors of hookah smoking lounges regularly combine tobacco flavors to come up with their own special blends.

Some tips and warnings given by veteran smokers include the following: always use the proper charcoal, specifically made for hookah smoking-regular charcoal briquettes cause carbon monoxide poisoning, and charcoal which isn’t low-smoke will overwhelm the hookah smoke; only a very small amount of hookah tobacco is needed in the bowl, since a little goes a long way; if the smoke or flavor are lacking, it’s probably because the coals aren’t hot enough-when smoking for more than half an hour or so, fresh coals will be needed.

Because hookah smoking is, and has traditionally been, a social activity, the etiquette which attends it is important. Some of the rules of etiquette are never to light cigarettes using the charcoal that heats the hookah tobacco; avoid blowing smoke in the face of another person unless they ask–so they can taste the flavor being smoked; since the point of the individual plastic mouthpiece is health and safety, don’t share them; when one person is done smoking but the hookah is still in use, setting a hose directly on the table signifies that smoker is finished and another person may use the hose; when a hookah smoking session is completed, the hoses should be wrapped around the stem; finally, don’t smoke anything but tobacco out of a hookah.

A Guide To Coffee Makers

Many people are dependent on their morning cup of coffee and the aroma of freshness that it brings to “perk” them up. The National Coffee Association has reported that coffee consumption has increased by more than 9 percent in the past six years.

A modern coffee maker is relatively a simple device with a reservoir that heats water, a tube to carry hot water to the drip area where it falls on the ground coffee and a container to hold and warm the coffee. The coffee maker has a resistive heating element, a coiled wire, similar to a light bulb. The heating element boils the water and also keeps the coffee warm after it is brewed. The heating element presses against the warming plate so that the heat transfer is uniform on the plate. The switch turns the power to the heating element on and off. A temperature sensor prevents the heating element from overheating and turns the coil back on, when it drops below the desired temperature. The coffee maker also has a one-way valve. The one-way valve allows cold water into the aluminum tube and forces the bubbles of boiling water to flow up the black tube.

When cold water is poured into a coffee maker, it flows from the bucket through the hole at the bottom into the tube. Due to gravity, the water then flows through the one-way valve into the aluminum tube in the heating element, and then partially up through the black tube. When the switch is turned on, the heating element starts heating the aluminum tube, and eventually the water in the tube boils. When the water boils, the bubbles rise up in the black tube. The tube is small enough while the bubbles are big enough to allow a column of water to ride upward on top of the bubble. The water flows out of the end of the black tube to drip into the coffee.

For a coffee lover, a coffee machine is an essential kitchen appliance that allows him/her to savor the pleasure of a refreshing cup of coffee with no fuss.