If you have been around the vaping community for some time, you are likely to have heard of something called ‘steeping’. Steeping is the process of aging or curing an e-liquid to allow the ingredients blend better and improve its flavor.
To understand how this process can improve the flavor of your e-juice, you need to know what steeping is all about. E-liquids are made with several ingredients including vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), alcohol, natural flavors, as well as nicotine. All these ingredients have different densities and do not immediately mix. Steeping basically involves creating the appropriate environmental conditions for these ingredients to mix properly.
To be clear, steeping is not compulsory, and it is not advisable to worry yourself with it if you are a beginner to vaping. As a matter of fact, most e-liquids that you buy from a vape store do not need steeping. Some are even pre-steeped. However, if you have the time and dedication to invest into improving the quality of your vaping experience, then, by all means, try steeping. Most, if not all, homemade e-liquids need to be steeped.
There are many ways to determine if an e-liquid bought from a store needs to be steeped. First, steeped e-juices have a darker color. Also, if the taste of your e-juice is very sweet or the flavor is too pronounced, you can steep it to make the molecules blend better. Overall, it is better to steep e-juices with a strong flavor. If you steep an e-liquid with a weak flavor, it is possible that almost all the flavor would be lost during the steeping process.
There are generally three steeping techniques. The first and the recommended method involves simply putting the e-liquid in a dark place for an average of 14 days. You need to shake the e-juice once daily if possible as it steeps. It is important not to expose the e-juice to sunlight as it will start to lose its flavor and nicotine content.
There is another simple steeping technique which is usually described as breathing. This involves allowing the e-juice to sit in a dark place with the lid removed. This steeping method is recommended for e-liquids that contain alcohol. Opening the lid will allow the alcohol to escape from the mix and ensure you do not have to deal with the harsh, unpleasant taste of vaped alcohol. With breathing, you also need to gently shake the e-liquid from time to time.
It is important not to steep an e-juice for too long using this method as it will start to lose nicotine and flavor. Some people mix the two steeping methods mentioned above. This ensures that none of the vital ingredients in the e-juice is lost. It is good to test an e-juice you are steeping by vaping it every couple of days to see if it has matured to your desired level.
The third way of steeping involves putting the e-juice in hot water. Some people open the lid of the e-liquid and sit it in a container with hot water. Others put the e-juice in a sealed bag and drop it in hot water.
These are only a few from the long list of steeping techniques. Some people even steep with a slow cooker as well as an ultra sonic cleaner. Whatever you do, do not over-steep as you could lose the flavor and nicotine in the e-juice. Usually, you would know if you have over-steeped an e-liquid because it would give you a harsh, awful throat hit. The maximum recommended time to steep is one month. However, you need to experiment and find out what works for you.