How to Steep E-Liquids

What is e-liquid steeping?

Starting off, steeping is a term that is a little misleading when it comes to the world of vaping. Normally, you’d steep tea leaves in hot water to create a hot drink — extracting the essence of the tea for flavour and substance.

In vaping, steeping could be more correctly thought of as “ageing” your e-liquids to enhance flavour. There are a few ways to do this and we’ll get into them, but essentially it involves letting your e-juice sit for a while before using it. Time is the important factor here.

All e-juices are made up of the same basic ingredients: PG, VG, flavourings, and (usually) nicotine. When steeping, you’re allowing your e-juice ingredients the time to merge and blend together for greater flavour.

Generally, there are three areas of the practice that can be broken into steeping, breathing, and “streathing” — a combination of the previous two categories.

Why do you steep e-liquids?

As a process, steeping is most important for people who are creating their own e-juice. We find that steeping a DIY e-juice just tastes much better than one that we’ve freshly made. Generally, companies are getting better at creating e-liquids that are ready to go pretty quickly but we find that really, everything tastes that little bit better after steeping. It can also smooth out the aroma and taste if you’re finding that the flavour you’re using is a little off.

Does this apply to commercial e-liquids?

You might be wondering whether this applies to the bottles of e-liquid you might have bought on the high street, and the general answer is that those bottles have often been steeping on the shelves! 

So, whilst the companies that manufacture these e-juices are producing the best e-liquid they can and allowing it to steep on the shelves, you’re going to find that custom made flavours are made fresh on purchase, and these won’t have the time to steep before they reach you.

Chances are, steeping will make your e-juice much better than before.

E-liquid steeping

How to steep e-liquid

The basic process is to put your closed e-liquid bottles in a cool, dark place such as a cigar box, drawer, or cupboard for an extended period of time. We’d recommend shaking the bottles at regular intervals to ensure that as much mixing occurs as possible.

The unfortunate reality is that steeping just takes time.

There are some methods we can use to speed up the process, so let’s highlight those here.

How to breathe e-juices

Slightly different from steeping, breathing your e-liquids refers to letting them have access to oxygen. Basically, take the caps off your bottles and leave them open for a few hours. E-liquids that contain alcohol in any concentration will benefit greatly from breathing as it speeds up alcohol evaporation.

In general, we’d recommend you breathe your e-liquids for no more than 12 hours. Everything that can happen with breathing will generally happen within 12 hours, and the longer you leave the cap off your bottles the more risk of spillages or foreign bodies getting inside!

How to streathe e-juices

A mixture of steeping and breathing, we can attempt to speed up the process of letting our e-liquids mix together by tactically doing both processes we’ve talked about.

So, start off by shaking your bottle of e-juice vigorously. Then, run it under a warm tap for a while. Take the cap off, and leave it in a cool, dark place for two hours. After the two hours are up, put the cap back on securely and give it another good shake.

The theory here is that when you shake up the bottle, you’re mixing the ingredients together. Then, the warm water will heat up the e-liquid, thinning it out. This will increase the chances the ingredients will mix together well. When the bottle cools to room temperature once more, the viscosity of the e-juice will return to normal but with the flavours being much more striking.

E-liquid streathing

How long does steeping take?

How long is a piece of string? Yeah, it’s a cliché, but really steeping is as much a personal art as much as a science. Depending on your perception of taste with your e-liquids, you might find you need more or less steeping time than a mate would. 

Another aspect is the e-liquid in question. We’ve found that fruity flavours tend to need less steeping than others — often only taking a day or two to reach their peak flavour profiles. As you might imagine, then, tobacco and creamy dessert flavours — heavier on the palette — often require much longer steeping times than their fruity cousins. We recommend around a fortnight for these flavours.

Ultimately, however, it’s all about personal preference. You might find that it takes some experimenting to find the best flavour profile for you. If you find that vaping the e-liquid straight away has a perfectly fine flavour for you, then you don’t have to worry about steeping your e-juices at all.

Speeding up the steeping process

There are some methods that can speed up steeping, but there are people who say that these don’t work. As always, this is personal preference and if you find yourself wanting to experiment with your steeping methods give them a go!

Bath

Using a large bowl, sink, or bathtub (if you’re really going for it with the amount of e-liquid you’re steeping) with warm water, put your e-juice bottles in a sealable plastic bag and throw them in the water for a few hours. The water should be comfortable enough for your hand to rest inside. Don’t go for room temperature, and don’t go boiling. Then, let nature do its thing.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

An ultrasonic cleaner can ultra-steep your e-liquids. If you fill this with water and put your sealed plastic bag of e-liquids inside, the vibrations from the cleaner will shake up the molecules in the e-juice rather quickly. 

Seed Steeping

No, we’re not advocating sticking foreign objects — like seeds — inside your e-juices, but this refers to the practice of seeding your e-juices with some pre-steeped e-liquid. Take a small portion of steeped e-juice and add it to the fresh e-juice. It should speed up the process of getting the fresh juice up to your standards.

Other methods of steeping

There are a whole host of steeping methods all across the Internet, but we’d advocate care when trying them. Using a heat source that you can’t easily control for a long period of time is inadvisable. A blow dryer might seem like a cheap and fast option; it’s not easy to control how much heat is going into your e-liquids at a time.

Can you steep e-juices for too long?

Yes. E-liquids that have been left for too long can get an overbearing flavour or strength, which your throat or tastebuds will not thank you for. It depends on the exact makeup of your e-juice, and there’s no real way of determining it before it’s too late. That’s why we said steeping is as much an art as it is a science.

On top of this, nicotine can oxidise over time, which reduces the effectiveness of nicotine and will add a strange flavour to your e-liquid — especially prevalent in bottles of e-liquid that aren’t stored in a cool, dark environment. Sunlight is the worst enemy of e-juice.

Steeping e-liquids for vape

To conclude

If you enjoy making your own e-juices, you’ll find that steeping will become an integral part of your e-juice routine. The occasional store-bought bottle might need a short steep, but there’s no guarantee that steeping will recover a bad bottle.

If you find you don’t like a flavour of e-liquid after steeping for a period of time, there’s a good chance you never will. Scrap it and try again, or buy a new one! Check our collection of e-liquids now for fantastic flavours and deals and free delivery on £15 or more to the UK mainland.

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