ABCs of Dokha
ABCs of Dokha are spelled out to help you understand the terminology used by experienced Dokha smokers
Dokha Arabic tobacco is as famous to Middle Eastern people as Fish & Chips is to UK people.
I hear you ask What the hell is Dokha?
Dokha is a pure and natural Arabic tobacco and is smoked through a Medwakh smoking pipe. This tobacco dates back to the 15th century and unlike most tobaccos, Dokha is not fire cured and cut, but dried in the arid mountainous dessert regions where it is sewn, grown and harvested. Tobacco plants generally grow very quickly and because of the cool nights and hot sunny days, the farmers who farm tobacco plants for the production of Dokha can usually achieve two yields in a season.
The plants are irrigated through water channels which criss-cross the plants ensuring that they grow to peak perfection. There are no pesticides used in the growing cycle and nothing added to the tobacco by way of artificial preservatives or colouring. Once harvested the Dokha plants are hung up to dry in ‘barn like structures’. The leaves are then shredded in a timely fashion by the farmers who have grown the plants – from seed to shelf.
As Dokha Arabic tobacco is usually grown by farmers who have small holdings, their skills are passed on from generation to generation. The end product can take on the appearance of green/brown finely chopped leaves.
Smoking Dokha is perceived to be a very relaxing pastime for pleasure or leisure – just as western pipe tobacco enthusiasts feel about the tobacco they smoke such as Virginia, for example.. (Virginia is a blend of fine-cut mix of burley and oriental tobaccos). Dokha is cost effective too when you consider the price of a packet of cigarettes these days and there is no residual smell on your clothing when in the company of non-smokers….
Dokha blends are typically classified into Blue (cold) Dokha, Gold (medium) Dokha or Red (hot) Dokha.
Medwakh or Midwakh – ABCs of Medwakh lost in translation
The humble Midwakh (as it was spelt back in the day) has its origins in Iran. Shepherds, tending their flocks on the mountain side fashioned a smoking pipe from bits of wood and animal bone. Hundreds of years on, with the evolution of travel, Middle Eastern peoples travelled in all directions of the globe and brought their smoking paraphernalia with them. It only took a couple more hundred years for the hobby of smoking Dokha through a Medwakh pipe to catch on further west…
The shape and style of the Medwakh became very fashionable amongst the very wealthy in the Middle East who sometimes added precious stones along the stem to add a touch of expense and glamour to their pipe. This perceived status symbol became the norm over time and nowadays there are lots of artisans crafting Medwakh pipe from all sorts of obscure materials.
Medwakhs are defined by their ultra small bowl and long stem which can also hold a filter. By adding additional length to their pipe with a filter on the end also added to the appearance of status…
How to smoke Dokha
The preparation of the Medwakh takes centre stage. Smoking tobacco through a Medwakh is a relaxing hobby, so the preparation that goes into the anticipation of a great smoking experience is all bound up with ritual.
Let’s face it, most of us smoke Dokha for that unique feeling it gives us, also known as ‘the buzz’ so here is a short-cut lesson on how to smoke Dokha.
- if you are a beginner you should sit down for your first few sessions as some blends pack a big punch
- pack the bowl by simply putting a pinch of Dokha tobacco into the bowl of your Medwakh and press the tobacco down. This method is called ‘tamping’ and you can do this with a finger or use a small ‘tamping tool’ which we sell online called the 3 in 1 Metal. This little gismo is a very functional piece of kit and should be carried in your Dokha pouch at all times for all eventualities!
- once tamped down you may like to add another pinch which should also be tamped down to keep it in the bowl.
- don’t over tamp otherwise you won’t get any draw on the tobacco if it has been packed too tight.
- breathe out, light a bowl and inhale normally and hold it for a few seconds
- when you finally exhale you will experience the Dokha ‘buzz’
ABCs of Medwakh Maintenance
Depending on how much you use your Medwakh pipe, you may need to clean it more regularly than you might expect!
As with all smoking pipes, cleaning routinely is essential to ensure a fresh smoke every time you pack your bowl. If your Medwakh is not cleaned regularly then it is likely that there will be stale tobacco residue left either in the bowl itself, or along the stem leading to your mouth. The resulting draw on your pipe would be quite literally disgusting as soggy bits of stale tobacco and tar block the stem, resulting in a less than great smoke!
Enjoy Dokha recommend cleaning your pipe after every smoke and you can find multiple tools to help in this regard if you visit our Accessories page.
Some customers prefer to use fabric pipe cleaners, while others prefer the metal pipe cleaners. Whichever option you choose carry at least one method of maintaining the cleanliness of your Medwakh pipe in your Dokha pouch while on the go…
The other important aspect of experiencing a fresh smoke every time is to change your filter regularly – at least after 15 smokes… most filters have a small window where you can observe the amount of tar which is captured in the cotton and when this white cotton turns dark brown that is when you need to change it.
For a detailed guide on How to clean your Medwakh pipe click here.