The water pipe produces smoke from a small lump of shisha tobacco, placed on a small grid on top of the pipe and covered by a piece of aluminium foil, on top of which burning coals are placed. The smoke then goes down into a pipe and passes through a glass or crystal bottle at the bottom of the shisha. This bottle is filled with cool water, sometimes mixed with a type of syrup (or serum) to give it an added flavour. The smoker inhales the smoke that has passed through the bottle through a long hose with a mouth piece.
Shisha tobacco comes in various flavours, and usually tastes like fruit, because the tobacco leaves are mixed with dried fruit extracts. Flavours include apple, strawberries and mint. Compared to a cigarette, shisha is smoother and more flavorful, as well as considerably more powerful.