Steeping is a pretty important part of vaping – though it’s often overlooked, especially by new vapers. Steeping is basically the process of letting your E-liquid age for a period of time before using it. There are numerous benefits to steeping, and there are many different ways to do it. I once heard it said that the only two things required to properly steep E-liquid are patience and a willingness to experiment, and I feel that this statement does a good job of summarizing the process.
In this guide, we’re going to talk quite a bit about steeping, and discuss a lot of the ins and outs of the process in-general. Why and how do you do it? Does it really help? Are there any good tips or tricks to the process that’ll make it work better?
These are all good questions, and we’re going to attempt to answer them all for you in this guide.
Why should you steep your E-liquids?
This is probably the biggest question, and the one that I hear the most from new vapers.
As it turns out, steeping is important for a few different reasons. It tends to change both the color and the taste of the liquid for the better. Lighter-colored liquids will usually darken as they age, which happens as the nicotine oxidizes from exposure to the air. Some people actually leave the lid off of their E-liquid to let it steep, as this is said to help the process along a little bit – but the truth is that your E-liquid will oxidize with or without a lid on the bottle.
Steeping also helps to smooth out some of the stronger and more bitter flavors contained within the liquid. Since a lot of these flavors have alcohol in them, allowing them to steep will ‘vaporize’ some of them away. This will result in a flavor that’s a bit less ‘harsh’ on the taste-buds, as some of the more ‘volatile’ components will be reduced or ‘smoothed out’ to blend better with the rest.
I’ve also heard that steeping helps the base to properly soak-up the flavor molecules – though this said to take longer for VG-based E-liquids than for those made from PG. Some describe this as a process in which the different ingredients ‘mix together’ better – creating a more consistent and cohesive formula for your electronic cigarette.
In the end, people tend to steep their E-liquid because it just makes it taste better. It’s really as simple as that. It’s very similar to the aging of wine, and many people consider it an art form.
With that being said, you usually don’t need to steep E-liquid in order to use it – and many E-liquids will taste just fine without going through this process. But then again, on the other hand, many experienced vapers swear by the process. It takes time and patience, but steeping is definitely believed to bring out a better, smoother, more pleasurable taste in the E-juice when done properly.
When should you steep an E-liquid?
Many people begin this process as soon as they buy the product. This is where the experimentation comes into play. Since every brand and store handles their E-liquid a bit differently, you might need to practice a bit to figure out the perfect steeping time for your favorite flavors.
One good rule of thumb is to steep all of your new E-liquids a little bit before trying them. If you love the taste, then go ahead and enjoy the vape. But if the taste doesn’t seem quite up to your usual standards, then you definitely can’t hurt anything by giving it some time to age.
Most people agree that steeping will never hurt the flavor of an E-liquid, so letting it sit for a while might be the perfect way to improve an E-juice that’s not quite good enough when it’s brand new and off the shelf.
How do you steep E-liquid?
This is probably the most complicated question to answer, mostly because there are so many methods available. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at several of the most popular methods, and describe how to go about using them.
- The Slow-Steep Method
This is probably the most widely-used and well-known steeping method. First, you’ll want to shake up your bottle of E-liquid really well, so as to mix up the ingredients as much as possible. Then, you’ll want to find a cool, dark place to store it (light will affect the flavor, so don’t store it in direct sunlight).
Revisit your E-liquid once per week to give it a good shake. After waiting for two to three weeks, give it a try. You should notice slight differences in color and taste. If it still doesn’t taste quite right, you might want to let it sit for another two or three weeks.
- The Streathing Method
This process is a lot faster than the Slow-Steep method, but it does require a bit more attention and precision. Begin this method by shaking up your E-liquid. Next, you’ll want to run the bottle under warm tap water, and then let it sit in the water until it cools down to a lukewarm temperature. Next, you’ll want to remove the lid from your bottle of E-liquid and let it breathe in a cool, dark place for about two hours. After that, you’ll want to put the lid back on and shake it once more.
After shaking, open up the bottle and let it breathe. This will help to ‘recycle’ the air, which speeds up oxidation.
Next, you should put some of it into your E-cig and give it a vape. If it’s not quite ready yet, you may want to repeat this process a few times – until you feel that the flavor is as near to perfect as it can get.
- The Breathing Method
To begin this process, shake up your bottle of E-liquid. Next, remove the lid and let it sit for 3-4 hours in a cool, dark place. This will speed up the oxidization process, as air will be allowed to get into the bottle and recycle itself freely.
You can actually repeat this process a few times if the flavor isn’t quite right yet – but you might not want to let your liquid breathe for more than 12 hours max, as
this might deplete the flavor and nicotine content so much that it renders the E-liquid tasteless and weak.
- The Crock-Pot Method
To start, shake up your E-liquid and place it in a bowl of warm water. Then, place the bowl in your crock-pot (make sure that the bowl is oven-safe) and turn it on to the lowest setting. Let the water and the E-liquid steep for about 3 hours, and then remove it, let it cool, and give it a try.
You can repeat this process as needed until the liquid reaches the perfect flavor and smoothness.
Important Facts To Keep In Mind
One very important fact to keep in mind is that you should always use glass bottles if you plan on using any steeping method that involves heat. While plastic bottles might not always be a problem, there’s a small risk that hot water (especially very hot water or water that’s sitting in a crock pot) could cause them to melt. This would ruin your E-liquid, and might even create a health/safety risk!
If you plan on steeping E-liquids quite regularly, you might want to keep a few glass bottles on-hand, just to make sure that you don’t end up with a bunch of E-liquid and no means to steep it!
Attention! Some flavors might actually taste better when consumed quickly, while others definitely benefit from sitting for a week or two. This is really a matter of personal preference, and will require a bit of experimentation to get right.
If you end up finding an E-liquid that you like, it might definitely pay to steep a bottle of it to see if you can further improve the taste. You should also pay close attention to the color of the E-liquid, as this can be a pretty sure-fire way to determine its age. Newer E-liquids will probably tend to be clearer or brighter in color, while older bottles will tend to take on a darker, more caramel-colored hue.
Sometimes, steeping simply isn’t necessary. But it almost always helps – so giving it a try might improve your vaping experience more than you realize.