Also known as the head of the hookah, the bowl is a container, usually made out of clay or marble, that holds the coal and tobacco during the smoking session. The bowl is loaded with tobacco then covered in a small piece of perforated tin foil or a glass or metal screen. Lit coals are then placed on top, which allows the tobacco to heat to the proper temperature.
There is also a variation of the head which employs a fruit rather than the traditional clay bowl. The fruit is hollowed out and perforated in order to achieve the same shape and system a clay bowl has, then it is loaded and used in the same manner.
A windscreen is an optional cover which sits over the bowl area, with some form of air holes. This prevents wind from increasing the burn rate and temperature of the coal, and prevents ash and burning embers from being blown onto the surrounding environment. This may also offer some limited protection from fire as it may prevent the coal from being ejected if the hookah is bumped.
The hose is a slender tube that allows the smoke to be drawn. The end is typically fitted with a metal, wooden, or plastic mouthpiece, and come in various shapes, sizes and colours.
The body of the hookah is a hollow tube. The bowl is attached to the top. Sometimes an ice bucket is attached between the body and the bowl to cool the smoke. At the bottom is a thin tube (the downstem) that is submerged in water. The point where the body meets the water jar is sealed with a gasket. Near there are at least two holes that open into the space above the water. One or more may accept a hose.
The stem of the hookah sits on top of the water jar. Smoke passes through the stem where it bubbles through the water. This cools and humidifies the smoke. Liquids such as fruit juice or wine may be added to the water or used in substitution to add flavor. Pieces of fruit, mint leaves, and crushed ice may also be added. The fruit gives it more flavor, while the crushed ice cools the smoker further, make the smoke smoother.
An ashtray sits just below the bowl to catch ashes falling off the coals.
Grommets in a hookah are usually placed between the bowl and the body, the stem’s gasket and the water jar and between the stem and the hose. The reason for the usage of grommets although not essential will help to seal the joints between the parts, therefore decreasing the amount of air coming in and consequently increasing the thickness of the smoke.