Ticking clocks and hour glasses with expiration dates

Does Shisha Expire?

Learn more about those dates on your shisha boxes and the best practices on shisha tobacco storage to always have the best possible flavor. ...

If the term “hookah” lives in your vocabulary then you’ve probably wondered the questions “Does shisha tobacco expire?” or “How long does shisha tobacco last?” It doesn’t matter if you’re new to hookah, a long-time enthusiast, a shop owner, or mixing up bowls in a lounge - shisha is an investment. No one likes to waste hard earned cash let alone waste product. 

We get this question all of the time, and it’s pretty astonishing how many hookah owners/smokers are not familiar with this topic. Long story short, no shisha does not ‘expire’. It can however become lackluster, and when it does you’ll think to yourself “Why doesn’t this have any flavor?” or “How come my bowls aren’t lasting as long as they should?”

We’re here with your answers! Not only is your success our priority but so is creating the best hookah experience possible for anyone with a hookah hose in their hand. We’ve broken down this topic to share our hookah and shisha knowledge and spread the word on shisha tobacco shelf life.

Does Hookah Shisha Tobacco Expire?

The short answer here is ‘no’. Shisha tobacco is made from tobacco leaves (or tea leaves, sugar cane pulp, fruit pieces, etc. for you herbal shisha smokers) and flavored molasses which also contains glycerin and/or honey. While these ingredients are very stable with a long lifespan, companies are required to list a “Best Sell By”, “Best Use By”, or “Manufacture Date” on their packaging. This is why you see these types of dates on shisha tobacco. 

Nearly all shisha tobacco will list a time frame of at least two years on their packaging. This is not only an indication of when the shisha was produced but it is also the time frame for when the shisha will smoke at its peak with the best possible flavor. Sealed shisha tobacco can last much longer past this time frame when it is stored properly (we’ll get to that later). 

So what happens after the listed date or a year or two? If you’ve got some unopened shisha, probably no noticeable changes. If you’ve had some open shisha in a sealed container, it may have begun to dry out (It’s always a good idea to stir up your shisha no matter what its age). If you’ve just left that torn open 50g box of Al Fakher on the shelf, it’s probably not going to have its full bodied taste. 

What’s the ‘worst’ that can happen? Shisha can get moldy if it’s not stored properly or in an “unhealthy” environment. This type of circumstance is very rare…but we’ve seen some things! At most, the loss of flavor will be the most noticeable with older, opened, or improperly stored shisha. Secondly, your bowls won’t last as long.

What Is The Best Way To Store Shisha Tobacco?

Shisha tobacco storage containerShisha tobacco storage container

Shisha tobacco likes to live in the same comfort you do - low humidity and at room temperature. It’s very important to note that keeping your shisha in a refrigerator or freezer will not prolong its life, opened or not. This type of dry cold may even shorten the lifespan of your shisha with the differences in temperatures when it makes its way into a bowl with charcoal heating it up. 

The best way to store shisha tobacco is unopened, away from extreme temperatures, away from moisture, and/or in an airtight container.

If You Have Shisha That Is Near Expiration, What Options Do You Have?

Various brands and sizes of hookah shisha tobaccoVarious brands and sizes of hookah shisha tobacco

First off, keep track of your orders to make sure your inventory doesn’t start to stack up with your slower moving flavors.Prevent over-ordering specialty flavors while under-ordering your best selling ones.

Like with any product the method of “First In First Out” is the best practice. Don’t forget to place your new shisha behind any shisha already living on your shelves. Older stock that gets pushed to the back of the shelf can become a loss.

You can still move idle stock! Featuring it up front in an easy view gives your customers the opportunity to have more shisha options while you have more of a chance to sell through those slow moving flavors. You can also bundle it up with additional purchases. Including “free shisha” with the purchase of a hookah, or with a certain price-point purchase is a great way to have a win/win for both you and your customers. This can also lead to elevated sales. Lastly, you can always have a discount or shisha-sale-bin. Providing a discount and still making a sale is better than tossing product away in the trash!

For more in-depth solutions you can check out this blog.

What Can You Do With Shisha After The Date On The Box?

As we mentioned above, it’ll be ok. The flavor may be more mild but it’s still usable and safe. You can offer the aforementioned options of freebies with purchase or a sale bin. What you should be careful not to do is attempt to ‘sneak’ older shisha under the radar to your patrons. Paying full price for older stock will put off anyone, and bad word of mouth spreads faster than positivity. Get what you can for it while you can and don’t let older stock continue to accumulate. 

While we can not accept shisha past the date on the box as a return, we consistently double, triple check our stock to ensure nothing old is being shipped out. If by mistake you received some shisha that is near or past the “expiration” date please contact us right away. For more information about our Return Policy, please check out this article.