Have you ever tried cooking? If yes, you must have tried cooking and stirring a dish, or soup, for extended periods and ended up with a very flavorful outcome. People who cook a home will tell you that extra cooking time makes the dish more flavorful, more often than not. Steeping e-juice is somehow similar to this process. Wikipedia says that steeping is soaking a solid material in a liquid to extract flavors or to soften it.
It’s not like e-liquid and food are totally unrelated to each other. Both of them can be absorbed by the body. Both of them are supposed to have an appealing smell to human senses. Another process you can compare steeping e juice is aging wine in oak barrels or dry aging beef. Time just adds a particular flavor that nothing else does.
Can you smell and taste it already? Great. We’ll teach you how to steep your ejuice (vape juice) with a few simple steps.
It’s just like sex. There’s fast sex, and there’s good sex. And if you want good e-juice, steep your e-juice.
Why Steep E-Liquid? Is It All That?
It’s not like it’s avoidable, anyway. Steeping starts as soon as the batch is finalized, and continues as it shipped to retailers, and stored on shelves. This additional period for steeping will improve the aroma and taste of the eliquid. You might be wondering now why they just steep the ejuice in the factory. Most people have a preference for instant satisfaction, and only avid fans and connoisseurs have enough patience to wait for perfection. The whole steeping process involves the equal distribution of propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerine (VG) mixed in the e liquid. Steeping makes sure that every molecule of PG or VG is healthily soaked in flavor molecules.
Some people do not notice the difference between fresh e-liquid and steeped e-liquid. It’s like with a dish, again. When people are famished or just love stuffing their mouths with anything edible, they give no attention to details. They won’t notice if the taste is better when hot or cold, half-cooked or overcooked, or when fresh or reheated. Food is food, and its job is to fill our stomachs. Well, some vapers seek more value than nicotine doses. When you treat e-juice in a very artistic and sophisticated way, you’ll notice even minute differences steeping gives. Some will see differences in the color of the vape liquid after steeping. This darkening of color also happens in soups and sauces when you let them sit for an extended period. Soups and sauces like this taste miles better.
The art of steeping is revered by sophisticated ladies and gentlemen who value every drop of e-liquid available. If you know how meticulous Italians and the French are with their food, this won’t be a surprise. The term steeping has long been uttered for soups and infusions. Just like martial arts, the art of steeping requires mental strength, a powerful will, an open and imaginative mind to be mastered or to be appreciated at the very least.
Steeping & Other Processes That Enhance E-Juice Flavor
Other than steeping, there is also other processes you should note. There are these two called breathing, and streathing (which is essentially a combination of the first two processes.)
Steeping is the process of introducing oxygen into a liquid/substance. When e-juice gets in contact with oxygen, it undergoes oxidation, and more unstable contents evaporate to the air, leaving the stable ones behind. This is the cause of the color change that happens when you steep. At this point, you’ll realize already that the whole point of steeping is degasification (removing excess gas, like removing fizz from soda) and vaporization (removing compounds with low boiling point by heating the mixture.)
One of the basic ways of steeping is letting e-juice stand for a period (1 to 2 weeks) unexposed to light and heat. You can use any small box or just place the ejuice in the coldest darkest corner of your house. Avoid places with too much human activity, or else, they might mistake your e-liquid as something that needs to be eaten or thrown out immediately. Make sure you shake the bottle frequently to speed up the steeping process. Another way to speed things up is to dip the e juice bottles in warm running water. The low heat will just be enough to accelerate the movement of the molecules of your eliquid.
Breathing is the process of exposing your ejuice to air. Take the cap off the bottle and let the bottle get some air from 6 to 12 hours. Do not exceed the upper limit or else, the nicotine and the flavor will evaporate in the air, tampering the quality of your e liquid masterpiece.
Looking at it this way, we can say that steeping and breathing are not the same, but… you can do them at the same time.
Streathing is the process that allegedly spikes the flavor to its maximum potential. Streathing is done by shaking the e juice bottles, and then soaking them in warm running water from the faucet. Remove the caps, then store the bottles in the coldest, darkest corner of your house for a couple of hours. After this, snap the caps back on the bottles and shake them the bottles again. The final step is the most challenging one. You should squeeze the air out of the bottle. This reactivates the oxygen content of the ejuice. This process can only be successfully done to bottles that have a nipple-like nozzle, not those that come with a dropper. Streathing demands more artistry than other processes, and you might need several tries before perfecting it.
This is a more advanced process that Rip implements to find out when his flavors hit a peak. Start by shaking your bottles and then run them under warm tap water. Take the cap off and place them in a cool, dark place for two hours. Put the cap back on and shake well. Then squeeze the excess air out of the bottle which recycles the oxygen throughout the e juice. This can only be done with a bottle that has a nipple as opposed to those that come with a dropper. Rip Trippers usually repeats this process a few times as it takes a lot more time, effort and precision than steeping or breathing e-juice.
There are also unconventional ways to steep your e-juice. Convenient ways to warm your ejuice up is to putting it beside your computer’s GPU fan or inside a coffee mug warmer. Some vapers actually use the slow cooker and/or the microwave oven. Microwave radiation agitates the molecules of e-liquids, making it runnier and easier to mix. Just time it long enough to make it warm, not hot. You don’t want to make your ejuice bottles explode and wreck the oven, right?
Another option you can use is ultrasonic pulses. They are vibrations of a specific frequency that interact with matter at a molecular level. It’s safer compared to microwave as ultrasound is sound. They are basic back and forth movements that happen at a high frequency with minute change in location.
Those who are knowledgeable in chemistry may add chemical catalysts in their ejuice to speed up the steeping process. Smart chemists would manage the usage of chemical catalysts so that it won’t end up ending their lives in the process. We won’t recommend you this option due to the hazards it implies.
Please bear in mind that your vape liquid (e-liquid) should be rendered warm, not hot. Too much heat ruins the nicotine. If you value your money and your ejuice, never commit the mistake of going beyond warm. It’s the same with food. Don’t heat your food up too much that it will ruin the body and the bonds of the flavor-producing substances.
Fruity flavors have the lowest steeping time Tobacco flavors needs a little bit more steeping time than fruity flavors. The creamy dessert flavors demand the longest steeping time of them all. The longest time for great quality is two weeks without the warm water and/or air exposure procedure, but you have to face the fact that some eliquids are already fine the moment you open the cap.
Don’t believe us? Fine. If you want to age your ejuice like how you want your beef aged, have it your way. Just make sure you don’t go beyond the expiration date.
Does Steeping Eliquid Guarantee Top-Quality Flavor?
We’ll be honest. Not everyone agrees that steeping is good for e-liquids. But we still strongly recommend it if you want to explore ways to cause some changes in the flavor quality of your ejuice. It may end up better or worse. Don’t settle with boring off-the-shelf flavors. Vaping is a rapidly growing market, and there are thousands of vapers modding their vapes and making new ejuice combinations that will knock you off your socks. Steeping is just one of the opportunities to make a mark in the vape subculture. Who knows, maybe you can find new ways or even new flavors by experimenting with the steeping process.