Wednesday, February 8, 2023

3 Myths About Coconut Charcoal for Hookah

This article is written for one who is buying coconut charcoal for wholesale or export/import purpose. If you are just smoking hookah/shisha – do not read this article. 

I am a manufacturer of coconut charcoal for hookah and shisha. My charcoal factory is located in Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia. Every day I receive 2-5 inquiries for coconut charcoal. I find out 3 most common myths about coconut charcoal. 

Coconut Charcoal Myth #1

Buying coconut charcoal from Indonesia is very cheap. Well, yes it is particularly true. Coconut charcoal in Indonesia is cheap but not very cheap. Price for coconut charcoal for hookah in Indonesia was between 1,000 and 1,450 USD per tonn in January-April 2019. This price range is due to a different specification. So better quality – higher the price. 

Please do not believe that you can buy coconut charcoal with a price of $500 to $900. Sure you can find a couple of proposals in Alibaba to buy this super cheap coconut charcoal. Most of these proposals are fake. Or they sell you not a coconut but wood charcoal.

Why you cannot buy coconut charcoal cheaper than 1000 USD in 2019? The price for coconut charcoal depends on the price of coconut shells. Coconut shells cost from 300 to 500 USD per tonne if you buy directly from farmers without a middleman. After buying empty coconut shells you have to clean it from residue, coconut meat, coconut hair. Then dry it under the sun for a week. 

Only after that, you can start burning and making coconut shell charcoal. To produce 1 kg of coconut shell charcoal you have to burn out 5 kg of empty sun-dried coconut shells. Then you have to bring it to your factory to crush and mix it with formula.

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The final production cost of coconut charcoal for hookah and shisha is about 900 to 1300 USD per tonne. The charcoal factory makes from 10 to 15% profit. So do not believe is someone sells you coconut charcoal with a price cheaper than that.

Price can change due to Rupiah to Dollar exchange rate. Charcoal factories are buying coconut shells paying in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). If USD is high – and Rupiah is weak it means you can buy more charcoal with the same amount of USD. 

This happened November 2018, when price IDR to USD was 14500 and buyers purchased good coconut charcoal with the cost of 800-900 USD per tonne.

Coconut Charcoal Myth #2

To buy coconut charcoal for hookah and shisha is easy in Indonesia. Yes, there are about 30 charcoal factories working in Indonesia. But you can find several hundreds of middle man you pretend to be or to own charcoal factory.  

If you are lucky and find coconut charcoal factory (like mine) – please be ready to wait in line to get your orders. Why? For example, my charcoal factory can produce up to 1 container of coconut charcoal a week. I have 5 regular buyers who order once in a 2-3 month. Often two buyers order at the same time. So it means one has to wait while I produce for another.

Another problem is the availability of empty coconut shells. Two-three times a year becomes very difficult to find good empty coconut shell for the production. So some charcoal factories start to mix coconut with wood charcoal.

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Coconut charcoal myth #3

It is easy to maintain the constant quality of coconut charcoal. Unfortunately, it is far from the truth. Specification of coconut charcoal depends on a) quality of coconut shells and b) mixing formula.

Quality of coconut shells is the most important part of manufacturing coconut charcoal for hookah & shisha. Burning process (piroliz) influence on the ash content and ash color. If burning of coconut charcoal was done wrong or shell was mixed with wood ash, earth, clay – do not expect hight specs. 

Each batch of coconut charcoal shells can be different in terms of specification. The biggest headache at the charcoal factory is to separate good charcoal from low specs charcoal. Mixing formula – is the biggest secret of all charcoal factories. How much of tapioca, other chemicals and wood added to the coconut charcoal? How to make coconut ash become whiter and drop test show higher results? It all depends on the mixing formula.


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