The sheesha, or waterpipe, is inseparable from Egyptian café society. It takes ma’azil, rough tobacco with molasses, whose distinctive aroma is guaranteed to take you right back to Egypt if you smell it again elsewhere. Posh coffee houses may also stock other flavours of tobacco (apple, strawberry, mint and so forth) and provide disposable plastic mouthpieces. A sheesha is normally shared among friends, but you can decline to partake without causing offence. Don’t call it a hubbly-bubbly, as in Egypt the term refers to smoking hashish.


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