With so many choices of e-liquids to choose from, finding just the right one takes time. When you do get that ever sought after “all day vape” you want to get the most out of it, right? Steeping can be the way to go. Whilst your e-juice does strictly speaking come “ready to vape”, giving it a little time and TLC through steeping can enhance it.
What is e-liquid steeping?
A bit like you’d leave cheese, whiskey or wine time to age, e-liquid kind of follows the same principle. Steeping is the process of storing, aerating, or warming up your e-liquid (or a combination of all three) to help mature it. There are multiple ways to do this. Which one you choose to do really depends on the flavours you’re working with and how long you feel you can tolerate waiting to vape it!
"Many things, quite simply, just get better with age (within reason). While it’s generally advised to use your juice within a year of opening it, storing before vaping for a few weeks or months can make a world of difference. If you’ve ever noticed a liquid you’ve kept on your desk for a while has changed colour a little, or tastes slightly different, that’s exactly what happens when you steep"
Why steep e-liquid? Is it really necessary?
Off-the-shelf e-liquid is ready to vape, though some flavours often benefit from a little steeping. Ever had a bottle of juice that was just “OK” then tried it again a few weeks later? Notice anything different? The way air (or more specifically, oxygen) interacts with your vape juice will alter the flavour. Oxidation is the process that causes your vape juice to change colour, in the same way that fruit goes brown when you cut it. While you might not want to eat oxidised fruit, oxidised e-liquid is a different story. It often makes it a little sweeter and helps the individual flavours jump out a little better.
It’s also a good idea to steep if you’re making DIY liquids and creating your own e-liquid recipes. The process will give your vape juice more time to settle, the flavours time to meld together and become richer in the process. Steeping is particularly beneficial if you’re making more complex juices that have multiple flavour notes in them rather than something simple like plain blueberry for example.
How do I steep my liquid?
There are plenty of more complicated methods to steep your e-liquids but with a little elbow grease and patience you can do it at home with no extra paraphernalia required. To start with, give your juice a vape when it’s fresh out of the bottle. It might not need any steeping and you’ll save yourself the time and effort.
Tried it? Still only taste “OK”? Let’s get steeping.
The slow, easy method:
When you can afford to wait, the simplest option is to just store your e-liquids in a cool, dark place for a few weeks and giving them a bit of a shake up now and again. The shaking bit is especially important if you’ve added nicotine to keep an even mix and make sure the flavours are evenly distributed.
When you want to speed things up a bit:
Breathing your e-liquid is the next thing you can try, which, as mentioned, helps oxidise it a little faster. Getting air through your liquid is the main objective here. How do we do that? Simple, just leave the cap off.
Just like when you go to add nicotine to a short fill and pop the pipette out, you’ll want to do the same to breathe your juice. Shake it up, pop the pipette out and leave it in the open air for ten minutes. Close it up, shake it and then repeat the process a few times. It’s still a good idea to leave it a few days after this to allow everything to settle a little more but you won’t need to wait weeks to get vaping.
When you’re super impatient and want to vape it A.S.A.P:
Finally, there’s one extra thing you can do to expedite the steeping process. Adding heat will cause the molecules to change state, especially in the case of high VG liquids. Because VG is a lot thicker than PG, high VG liquids can take a little longer to oxidise. Heat allows the VG to become more viscous and therefore mix with the flavouring a little better. If you live somewhere hot, even leaving your juice in the car for the afternoon will help. If you’re in the UK that’s probably not the case. For you guys, we’d recommend putting it in a hot water bath.
Fill up a sink with some hot water (not so hot you can’t put your hand in - you don’t want to melt or warp your plastic bottles) and pop your e-liquid in. Leave it in there for ten minutes, give it a shake and see how it tastes. If it’s still not quite there, you can repeat the process until you get it how you like it. Using the heating method in combination with breathing it will also help.