How to Make Hookah (Shisha) Tobacco at Home


Hello friends, family and fans of Hookah.org.
I have what is one of the most requested how-to videos you can possible imagine when it comes
to hookah. This is how to make your own hookah tobacco.
This is going to be a slightly more modern tobacco than you guys have probably seen or
heard me talk about making in the past, though this will still be somewhere in the realm
of a classic tobacco. I have some very dry old tobacco leaves here
that they’re really not good for much more than making hookah tobacco or flavored pipe
tobacco at this point. There’s not much flavor left in them so I’m
not going to use them for anything more complex. It starts pretty simply. You just try and
break up the large pieces. I’ve already done a lot of this though there are some big chunks
of tobacco still in here. If you’re dealing with fresh or whole leaves
unlike this, what you’re going to want to do is find the spine of the leave, which is
just one of the veins and just tear it out. The spines tend to be a bit bitter and also
higher in nicotine, which especially if you’re making a modern tobacco you want things to
be relatively light, relatively palatable for a more modern hookah smoker.
I’m going to tear this up some then come back to you in a second and we’re going to start
on the next stage. We are back and I don’t even know if you can
tell but this is a little bit more torn up. I’ve gone through and found the largest pieces
and just ripped them up. I like a larger, more rough cut than a lot
of people seem to enjoy with their tobacco. Right now, I’m just breaking this up to try
and make it a little more manageable. The giant chunks pretty much impossible to deal
with when you’re trying to pack a bowl. I do know some people who subscribe to a food
processor as their best bet when it comes to chopping up tobacco, but classically you
would use a large knife in a wooden bowl that the knife has a curled edge and you rock back
and forth and chop the tobacco. Frankly, if you’re doing small batches like
this, your hands are perfectly fine. The next step is one of the longest ones;
it’s the soak. We just take water and we soak the tobacco.
It’s pretty easy to understand. I personally use cool water. I know that some
people like to actually boil their tobacco to really take out all of the natural tobacco
flavors, but that’s not what I go for; I actually like the flavor of tobacco leaves.
You just want to use enough water than you can mask everything down underneath the level.
I’m actually going to be adding more here as well.
You can probably already see that this is taking on a brown color very quickly; that
is sucking out not only the nicotine, but also as I expressed some of the more robust
flavor, some of the more natural flavors of the tobacco.
If you wash your tobacco, you’re going to end up with a more neutral product. That’s
the nature of it but that’s what you want when you’re doing a more modern style tobacco.
If I’m really trying to get the flavors out of here, I have to let this sit for about
half an hour, change the water and then do this again. I’m probably not going to do that.
If you really want to get everything out of this, you basically keep soaking this and
changing the water until the water runs clear, and then you have boiled cellulose to which
you can add flavors. I’m really going to only do the one soak here and then I’ll be back. This has been sitting for a while now and
as you can see, as I pull the tobacco to the side, the water has become a pretty unpleasant
looking brown color. Almost all of that is from the actual tobacco
itself. This is various oils and components from the fermented leaves but understand even
with “unwashed” tobacco, if you haven’t harvested the tobacco leaves yourselves, I suggest giving
it a quick wash, unless it is already primed and prepared for smoking.
Understand that there are going to be almost assuredly, unless you’re dealing with a completely
organic product, pesticides on the tobacco leaves. Even if you are dealing with an organic,
you’ve still got bug feces and bird crap and plenty of dirt and nasty stuff.
Consider when you’re fertilizing crops, that’s usually with poo, so this is going to get
drained off, I’m going to quickly rinse it just one more time with fresh water, a quick
once over and dump it out and then we will start the mixing. The tobacco has been drained. I have taken
it all and squeezed it out. I do want to make it very clear here. You
can see I have not washed this tobacco to death. This is still going to be a fairly
robust, strong and potent smoke. Now comes the fun part. I’m a big fan of tombac
is a more modern word that many people use to describe a molassel instead of using molasses
as the name would indicate uses honey. I love honey. I use it all the time and I
love using it into my tobacco. It reacts pretty similarly to molasses. In
stronger flavor tobaccos where you want the flavoring and the flavor of the actual leaves
to be most prominent, it’s not as pungent; it’s not as strong as molasses.
I don’t really have measurements for this. I just add honey and then water back and forth
until I get that consistency that I want. I raw dog it sort of speak.
Like I said, it’s about honey and water. You only want to splash the water to make sure
that the sugars can actually move around. Remember that this is going to be eventually
more a paste like consistency rather than a flowing liquid, something like Fantasia,
but is a little more drippy. You should be able to feel when the tobacco
starts to get a little sticky rather than watery.
I’m going to keep doing this back and forth, honey and water, mix and all that fun stuff
until I get to about where I want it and where I believe it will smoke most wonderfully and
we will back and then we will start adding our flavoring. Now we have something you might recognize
a little bit more. This is starting to look like molassel.
I did end up using almost entirely honey and, because I do like the molasses flavor, just
a little bit of dark molasses. That’s not as an [agglutinant] though; that’s as a flavoring.
Now, here comes the next long part. We all know foil; we use it pretty regularly unless
you’re a screen user. We just take the tobacco, pile it on the foil, we try to get as much
of that wonderful delicious leaf as well as that wonderful soupy mixture of honey, water
and tobacco juice as we possibly can. This needs to be packaged up. It doesn’t need
to be super tight but try and get it all into one large mass. I like to just use the tin
foil to fold everything in on itself. You can see how really juicy this has become.
Now it looks like a brick of hookah tobacco. We actually fold this down, tighten it up,
fold this over, also tighten up; you want this to be fairly well sealed. It doesn’t
need to be crazy, but you don’t want to be losing any of that wonderful juice that you
just made. Don’t smack it around too much like I am,
otherwise it might burst the sides. This goes in the oven actually.
This is going to go on a tray and in case this boils and bubbles over, its going to
catch all the juice and doesn’t make me have to clean my stove again, and this is going
to bake at a very low temperature, pretty much as low as your oven can possibly go.
Mine sadly, the lowest marked number is 200 degrees. The warm setting is about 150 to
180 and that’s really where you want it. No higher than that. I’m actually going to
be putting it on the warm setting and intermittently opening and closing the door to try and adjust
the heat. Traditionally, this would be done with wood
fire and clay urns and all this other stuff, but I don’t have that nor do I have the time
and I doubt you have the space or ability similar to me. That’s the next step. Here’s what we have. As you can see, the tray
was totally worth it because this tobacco has leaked substantially.
This is still quite warm actually, but I want to show you guys what’s going on in here.
The honey molasses mixture has completely liquefied at this point and it’s really starting
to soak into this tobacco. Everything is very loose, very liquidy and really I’m
going to wrap this back up and let it sit
while warm. It’s been in the oven for probably about an
hour and a half at this point and can go for a bit longer. I want to let it cool down so
that those sugars can recrystallize a little and become more what we expect from something
like a molassel. After sitting and cooling off and allowing
the juice from the foil to drop back into the tobacco, you can now see that this is
a bit more recognizable. It’s a bit more like a molassel. Now it is time for the flavoring.
I’m going to be doing a sweet coffee latte flavor. This smells beautiful already. I’m
getting hungry smelling it because it’s got some nice earthy tobacco notes.
This would also be the point where if you were going to add glycerin, I don’t add glycerin
to mine because I prefer a much more classic style tobacco, but this is where for something
like this, which is 250-300 grams of finished product, I would add maybe two teaspoons of
glycerin. Otherwise, it’s going to get overloaded way
too easily. I like using these droppers because you can
get your ratios repeatable, but this is an experimental batch. I’m going to show you
more or less what I would do with this. Understand vanilla is surprisingly a pretty
light flavor, so I’m going to add a heaping helping.
This is pure coffee extract. This is the real deal.
This is my first time using this extract so I’m actually going to start what I consider
to be relatively light. I’m going to mix this up. Take a whiff; see
how it smells. Don’t eat tobacco; it’s really not a good idea.
That already smells beautiful. It smells very much like a medium roast coffee.
To get this all to merry properly, you’re going to need to pack it altogether.
I personally do it in the same container, walk it over into the corner over here, make
sure it’s really well mixed, which I will do off camera because it takes a while, and
then you just let it sit for a long time; minimum of 24 hours but personally I go for
a week or so to let all of the flavors really merry and soak into the tobacco and become
one great delicious thing. That’s it. Now comes the actual testing, which
you will see. I’ll bring you guys back for that. I’ll show you this tobacco once it’s
properly done and show you how it reacts to heat and how it smokes and tell you how it
tastes. And there you go. That is the smoke from the
homemade molassel. Now you should get moderate clouds. I didn’t
use any glycerin in this; if you use more glycerin, you’re going to get a smoother,
more round smoke, something with a little bit more softness on the palette and a bit
more natural sweetness to it, but you’re also going to get much larger clouds.
I’m still getting what I consider to be pretty good smoke. I’ve been smoking this for a while
now so the clouds are dying a little bit, but this is still more or less what you should
expect. The flavor is great. I actually ended up adding
a little bit more of that coffee extract after I turned off the camera, but that stuff is
really good. It is pure coffee. There is no artificial
flavor in there; it is just a concentrated distilled down coffee extract.
As you’re aware, if you’ve read my guides in the past for creating your own hookah tobacco,
Lorraine Flavorings for baking are absolutely wonderful for this purpose and they come in
so many flavors it’s ridiculous. But seriously, try this out. Getting some
raw tobacco can sometimes be a little difficult, but I would suggest getting a light Virginia
type tobacco if you are looking to make a very modern style molassel.
Contrastingly, if you really like tobacco, try it with a cavin dish but you don’t need
to wash that as much. That’s the kind of stuff that if you want
a tobacco flavor, like I said earlier, you’re going to want to just give it a quick rinse
just to make it a little less pungent and balance it off with something like a Virginia
burley or something like that. This is Paul for Hookah.org with another video
how-to for you, this one for making your own hookah tobacco. Please go forth and try it
and let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions, you can go down
below and comment and let me know what your suggestions or criticisms are.
Please go to the forums, start some threads, start discussions because we’ve already got
plenty going on but we can always use a few more.
Make sure to check out the forums for our contest, which are supposed by socialsmoke.com,
which you should also check out because they are a great vendor, and totally worth your
time. Once again, this is Paul for Hookah.org saying
thank you very much happy smoking.

Danny Hutson

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