How to choose a crown?

How to choose a crown?

In the pipe world, there are countless ways to prepare a hookah. One of the criteria is the choice of a crown that contains tobacco and is heated. We use different tools to do this, that's a story for another article. We will focus on the tobacco holder - the crown.

Crowns can be divided into several categories according to material, shape or heat conduction.

When we look at the material, the most common are clay/ceramic crowns. They can be found in the vast majority of businesses. Other materials that are used are silicone or glass, for example. Within the material, we then further divide the crowns according to whether or not they are glazed, which is a finish that we may be familiar with from ceramic tableware. This finish allows the crowns to conduct heat better, which in practice means that the crown heats up more and can release more power. It is further divided into thick-walled and thin-walled.

Then there is the shape. In this respect, the most common types nowadays are turek or phunnel. I will write about this in more detail below, as crowns can come in a wide variation of shapes, which then determine what the crown is best suited to. If we are looking for the lesser used types, we should mention for example the vortex, which is similar to the phunnel, or the salamander, which is characterised by the large amount of tobacco it can hold and is around 50g.

The last one is the division according to destination, where we focus either on taste or strength.

If we look in more detail at the type of turek type crown, we can recognize them primarily by the bowl-shaped tobacco compartment and the smaller holes at the bottom of the crown. These holes can be found between 4 and 8 most often on the crown, but some unusual types can have more. These small holes are there to allow the heat to flow from the top of the crown, through the tobacco and down through the holes, through the pipe. This heats the tobacco evenly so that we can enjoy the full potential of the tobacco. The crown charging here is most often done in the form of a flaff, i.e. a light pouring of tobacco into the crown without a lot of tamping. This method leaves small air pockets between the tobacco, through which hot air flows and slowly releases the nicotine from the tobacco. Of course, we can make the center hole smaller to none for a better draw or for a stronger experience. As these charging methods already suggest, this type is very versatile.

The most well-known brands here are UPG, or Upgrade, which is smaller and holds about 20g of tobacco, and Smokelab type V2, which is larger and holds about 25g. These types are found in the vast majority of businesses, precisely because of their variability. Other brands and types should also be mentioned, such as the Hooligan Bowl type, which is glazed, the Voskurimsya Mumiya, which is characterised by better heat retention, or the Japona Killer, which is again ideal for a stronger pipe enjoyment.

The next type I want to discuss is phunnel. This type is identical with its large hole in the middle, which extends almost to the edge of the crown. The charging here is done just around this outlet. This then tells us that the molasses is held in the crown because it has nowhere to flow into the pipe, which holds the flavour better and prolongs the time spent sitting at the pipe. Charging the tobacco here is again recommended at flaf or semidense (light smothering) and below the crown line.

The best known manufacturer is Oblako with its types S (approx. 10 g of tobacco and ), M (approx. 15 g of tobacco) and L (approx. 22 g). Also known is the Phunnel One type from Smokelab, which is characterized by its versatility, or the brand Glina, which has the most famous types Alien (shallow phunnel crown for about 12 g of tobacco, dense loading and ideal for Tangiers tobacco) and Harmony, which is a larger and more versatile design that we enjoy also when preparing for flavor. Other well-known brands include the Japona Mummy or the Thor brand.

If we would like to focus on a short session with a pipe, we choose crowns that are suitable for about 10 g of tobacco. Among these crowns, we can include the Smokelab V1, which is clay, shallow and suitable for about 45 minutes. From the phunnel area we can choose the already mentioned Oblako S crown or the new Oblako Flow, which is shallow and has a special "canopy" over the central hole. The advantage here is the design that forces hot air to pass through the entire tobacco to get under the canopy, so care must be taken here to charge in flaf style to avoid clogging the holes under the canopy. In addition, the glazed finish makes this crown suitable for strong pipes.

Finally, I would add that the weight of the appropriate tobacco depends on the type of tobacco used. It is not possible to recommend which type of crown is best, so we recommend trying several types at your favourite establishment and choosing the type that suits you best for home smoking.