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Coco Naras Vs Exoticas


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It's been requested and demanded, and sexual favours have been offered. I've finally got off my lazy ass and put this together for you. The aim of this thread is to be a one-stop reference for imfromation on what are arguably the top two natural coals in the world right now.

Now some of you know that I've personally had some bad experiences with Exotica coals. This will neither be taken into consideration in this COALMAGEDDON contest, nor will I allow it to affect my judgement in any way. What will be taken into consideration at the very end is the plethora of evidence for the inconsistency of quality in Exoticas, however for the most part I will be judging the two top natural coals (on these forums, at least) based on the best each can offer. The Exotica coal I will be using is from Hookah-Shisha, and shows no signs of being "bad". I think it's also important to consider merchant accountability in these matters, so I'll be commenting on that near the end as well. On to COALMAGEDDON!

Exotica Review
Coco Nara Review
Exotica Disposal
Cocanaras Came In!

Coco Nara Website
Exotica Website

pirate.png The Facts

Exotica Coals are made from compressed charcoal, and are produced in the United States.
Coco Nara Coals are made from coconut shell, and are produced in Lebanon.
Both Coals are clean burning.
Both Coals claim to have no smell or taste, to burn hot and to ash little.
Exoticas are cheaper.

pirate.png Flammability

I put both coals on at 4:02, being sure to break the Exotica into a piece comparable in size to the Coco Nara.

By 4:05 both are lit well enough to use on a hookah, as you can see the Exotica is more lit than the CN.

By 4:08 they are both completely lit, but notice how the Exotica has begun to splinter and crack. Remember, this is a top-quality Exotica coal from Hookah-Shisha.com.

It's also important to note that the Exotica took about 1 extra minute because I had to break it up first, and then wash the black shit off my hands.

+1 Exotica
(Faster lighting)
-1 Exotica (Cracked and splintered)
-1 Exotica (Took extra time breaking up the coal, made my hand black)

Tally: Coco Nara 0, Exotica -1

pirate.png Taste/Smell

Both coals emit a slight smell during the heating process, the Coco Nara smells like a campfire, the Exotica smells vaguely chemical. By 3 minutes into it the Coco Nara smell is completely gone, while the Exotica scent lingers for several minutes even after they are removed from heat. Neither coal has a noticable taste.

+1 Coco Nara
(Very little smell)
+1 Coco Nara (No noticeable taste)
+1 Exotica (Smell prevalent even after smoking begins, but no noticeable taste)

Tally: Coco Nara 2, Exotica 0

pirate.png Longevity

4:10, beginning of smoke. Tobacco is Nahkla Pistachio, hookah is a Mya Bambino.

4:30, Coco Nara has lost very little size and shape, has made extremely little ash. Exotica has changed shape, shrunk considerably, and is ashing substantially.

4:50, the Coco Nara coal is still only halfway spent, and the Exotica coal is almost completely ashed.

+1 Coco Nara
(Longer lasting)

Tally: Coco Nara 3, Exotica 0

pirate.png Ash

Coco Nara ashes less than half as much as the Exotica, and its ash is lighter.

+1 Coco Nara (A clear ash victory)

Tally: Coco Nara 4, Exotica 0

pirate.png Heat Management

Exoticas generally burn hotter, although even with the best luck you'll get inconsistencies even within a box of them. Coco Naras do not burn as hot, and every piece is the same.

+1 Coco Nara (Much easier to manage heat)

Tally: Coco Nara 5, Exotica 0

pirate.png Additional Consideration

Merchant attitudes
- When I received 6 unusable boxes of Exoticas, I sought compensation from the guy who sold it to me and the guy who sold it to him. I was called a liar and a thief despite photographic evidence, although after 2 1/2 weeks I did receive a partial refund. I think it's worth mentioning that, instead of taking responsibility for the obvious water damage, the merchants propounded that the only possible explanation was that mischievous Canadian customs agents either pissed or poured water onto the coals.
- When the shipping costs ended up being higher than their original quote, Coco Nara made up the difference without hesitation.

-1 Exotica
(No merchant accountability, poor character and no respect for customers)
+1 Coco Nara (Full merchant accountability, polite consideration and great respect for customers) Edited by gaia.plateau
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pirate.png Grand Total

And the final tally for this COALMAGEDDON competition is...

Coco Nara 6
Exotica -1

ph34r.gif Complaints I Hear About Coco Naras

They "go out" halfway through the session
- All coals do this, especially with juicier tobaccos, and indeed Coco Naras seem to be slightly more susceptible than other coals. I've only ever had this problem with Al Fakher, and to resolve it all I've had to do is simply flip the coal.
- This complaint is valid, but exaggerated.

• They take too long to light!
- On a coil-burner stove, which is normally how I light natural coals, Coco Naras do indeed take longer to light than Exoticas.
- They do not, however, take nearly as long as some have complained (upwards of 20 minutes). Exoticas take about 2-4 minutes, Coco Naras take about 3-5.
- This complaint is valid, but greatly exaggerated.

• I can't light them with a torch

- Coco Naras light faster with a torch than every other natural I've tried, including Exoticas. I can get a Coco Nara coal lit in 5-7 minutes with my $15 handheld torch.
- This complaint is invalid.

ph34r.gif Complaints I Hear About Exoticas

• You have to break them!
- Exotica coals have inconsistent hardness, sometimes I can snap them in two with my hands, sometimes I have to score them and then snap them, and sometimes not even that works and I have to use a hammer.
- They make your hands black and dirty.
- Even the cleanest breaks leave crumbly edges, complicating heat management
- This complaint is valid and justified.

The famous "bad batches"
- Exotica Coals shipped out what they claimed were 60 bad boxes, which in reality turned out to be more like 6,000. I have had 10 boxes of Exoticas, and of them 6 have been absolutely unusable, 2 more were unsatisfactory, and two were satisfactory. The two unsatisfactory boxes had an odor and a taste, and even in the very two best boxes I've received, I found that some coals burned hotter than others.
- This complaint is valid and justified, but, it remains to be seen if the "new and improved" Exoticas will be up to "standards" (which are now more like "myths").

They take too long to light
- They're a natural coal, so naturally they're going to take a while to light.
- Exotica coals light faster than Coco Naras and many other natural coals.
- This complaint is invalid.

Poor box design
- Apart from the fact that they are apparently extremely susceptible to water damage, the way Exotica Coals are packed makes them kind of difficult to get out of the box. Many people I've talked to have to use a knife to lift up the first new coal of every row.
- Unnecessary hassle.
- This complaint is valid and justified.

pirate.png In an overall review of Exotica coals, I give them a 7.5/10, with an adjusted rating of 6.5/10*.

pirate.png In a overall review of Coco Nara coals, I give them a 9/10.

For some context, the highest rating I've ever given was a 9.5 to Tangiers Kashmir Peach, because I can't imagine a better flavour. I gave a 9 to the Mya Bambino, which I believe to be the greatest hookah known to man.

So I have to conclude that Coco Naras are the best coal available on the hookah market today. I've bought 10 boxes of Exoticas and 10 boxes of Coco Naras, have pretty substantial experience with both, and I'll never smoke anything but Coco Naras again, even if they do claim on the box that "lighting coals is fun". blink.gif

*Rating adjustment mostly for inconsistency of quality.

Additional Exotica Forum Links

Additional Coco Nara Forum Links

Previous Exotica-Coco Nara Comparative Reviews

Some folks wanted this review placed in the Review Forum - Hence why there are discussions below.
The Thread will be locked down.
This DOES NOT change ANY rules in Regard to the Review Forum. It's for Review Only
[END EDIT] Edited by Johnny_D
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Best. Topic. Ever.

Haven't used Exoticas myself but since they're not available in Canada, I won't be making a (financial and physical) effort to try them.

Whoever invented Coconaras should get the Noble Prize for Hookah-related stuff.
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great topic, I vote this gets stickied so that 3 months down the road, we dont have to direct 30 new people to this topic.

+ X

X being an indeterminable number..... so therefor, i have given +infinity without being the gay 6th grader saying +infinity
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This was an amazing review!!!!

I was considering switching to natural coals soon after I run out of quicklights. Wanted to try Coconara's any ways now it's official! Gotta try these!!!!
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This is a pretty damn sweet topic... good job.

I was a little disappointed to hear you say in the other thread that the Coconaras ash pure white, because from my experience the whiter and denser the ash, the more funky taste and smell the coal seems to give off. I think I heard a while back that coals that ash white have a higher sulfur content. I've tried a wide range of coals and there always seems to be a correlation between the color of the ash and the taste of the smoke.

Judging from the pictures though, the coconaras definitely seem to have a darker colored, less dense ash, at least in comparison to the Exoticas. The ash looks more similar to Three Kings or Golden Canaries -- my two favorites. SO, I've got a small box of Coconaras coming my way.

Coalmageddon.... great job!
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Great topic, great review. It's 1:56am here and I was waiting for this review...(seriously biggrin.gif)

Got a box of Coco nara's but waiting for my hotplate to arrive before I use 'em. Also true what you said about the way suppliers treat their customers. Master sales (official seller) had great customer service. Sorted payment on Friday. Coals shipped 1st thing monday and arrived on Saturday. 6 days from the USA to UK is fast! Shipping was $23 though ohmy.gif Worth it I guess

I'll be ordering the bulk pack from H-S next time, works out cheaper.

Coconara ftw! pirate.png
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Quick Question for Gaia,

When lighting the coco naras do they give off any smoke? Also is the smell any stronger/noticeable than burning food? I would like to light these in my apartment but I would really like to avoid setting off the smoke detector. Shit....one last question can I lay a piece of tin foil down over the burner so I dont get ash everywhere? I know these dont ash a lot, thats why i ask.

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Amazing review. I've only used cocos but I guess it's good to know I've been puffing with nothing but the best. Thanks a lot for the reviw big ups. +infinite
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awesome comparison however i do choose exoticas over cocnoaras. perhaps it has something to do with climate or what ever but it seems my exoticas burn about 10 mins longer than my cocos. The cocos ash more and also leave more black crap on my hands.
as ive never had a problem with a bad batch of exoticas i can't speak for that.

again, great comparison overall and i think it will help those that keep asking the same damn questions over and over
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Thanks for all the positive feedback guys! Honestly it's nothing compared to all the helpful advice I've received from this forum. I think I'm still in debt another 500 threads or so like this one.

QUOTE (mjdx88 @ Mar 31 2008, 07:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Quick Question for Gaia,

When lighting the coco naras do they give off any smoke? Also is the smell any stronger/noticeable than burning food? I would like to light these in my apartment but I would really like to avoid setting off the smoke detector. Shit....one last question can I lay a piece of tin foil down over the burner so I dont get ash everywhere? I know these dont ash a lot, thats why i ask.


Hey Mike,

They don't smoke at all when you're lighting them, and I wouldn't be surprised if you don't smell them at all - you have to hold them up to your face and sniff to really notice the "campfire smell", as I put it, and bear in mind my sense of smell is ridiculous.

So yeah, no worries about smoke detectors, unless you drop them on the carpet! I highly recommend a coal carrier like the one you can see in some of those pictures, to anyone bringing coal from the stove to the hookah.

Good question about the tin foil, I'm not sure! I imagine that it would take quite a bit longer, but it should work in theory. The ash is quite nominal off of these, not even 1/4th the ash from Exoticas or other naturals, and not even 1/8th the ash from quicklites. I just wipe out my burner once every couple of weeks or before throwing a shindig, it's pretty much just an aesthetic inconvenience.

Hope that helps! Edited by gaia.plateau
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Yep, that helped quite a bit. BTW I didnt say it before, great review I havent used the exoticas yet or any other natural coal. I just got a box of coco naras with my hookah and it looks promising. If they work out, I dont mind paying an extra few bucks for a box they come with close to 90 coals that will last me a damn long time. I cant wait to try em tomorrow.

Mike biggrin.gif
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