Hey guys. Stumbled on this post and thought I could add some clarification...
Shiazo should never get harsh enough to be compared to a cigarette, usually you can't even tell you're inhaling it until you realize the cloud when exhaling. I would say the issue is too many coals. Try standing them upright or using less coal. This also depends on the bowl size and coal being used.
Adding excess juice to an already packed bowl does actually hinder rather than extend the life of the bowl. The whole concept behind the "steam stone" is that the flavored glycerine is absorbed inside the mineral and then released once heat is applied. If you come across any of the fake steam stone brands you'll notice that the rock used is white and it is saturated in colored juice. Looks pretty, but the functionality is all wrong. Because Shiazo is a true steam stone, it can be used out of ANY bowl, including standard egyptians. Try the fakes out of a standard egyptian and you'll have flavored, colored water in your base - but no steam generation.
We've found that the Tangiers small phunnel bowl works very well with Shiazo, but like you said, the bigger the bowl, the longer the session. The
x-large bowl is an AMAZING bowl to use Shiazo out of.
Also, after you've finished steaming and the stones turn white, you can throw them back into the jar once cooled and they will soak up any excess glycerine there is left. Give it a good shake and let it sit for a couple minutes and you're ready to reuse.
Pavo21 - In response to your comment about a pointless smoke, you're partially right. What I've realized is that some people smoke for a buzz, some smoke for the social aspect and others smoke for both reasons. At our lounge in California, Shiazo has become really popular for people especially looking for the social aspect, as it is easy to smoke and provides great flavor. We currently serve Shiazo, Haze and Tangiers - Which I feel is like an easy, medium and expert option. So if you're an avid Tangiers smoker and looking for a Noir type buzz, Shiazo isn't going to do it for you - as there is no nicotine. But many of our customers who come in to lounge and socialize, with something easy to puff on, always choose Shiazo.
Anyone feel free to PM me with any and all questions, comments or concerns. Also if you're in the Los Angeles area, stop by our lounge and I'll be happy to set you up with a free sample bowl of Shiazo to try out (just mention HookahForum).