What is Steeping?
Steeping is a general term for a process to extract flavor from something, by soaking a solid in liquid (normally water). A common example is tea, by introducing hot water to extract the flavor into the liquid. The more appropriate term for "steeping" e juice is actually aging, since e juice is already in a liquid form and not a solid, but the term steeping is so commonly used for aging e liquids that we'll continue to refer to it as steeping in this post.
There are three common steeping methods often used. Removing the top of your e juice bottle and letting it sit for a period of time introduces air and oxidizes different elements of the juice, evaporating some of the alcohol based flavors. Storing the bottles in a cool and dark area with the top on let the flavors naturally blend and enhance the flavors, much like the natural aging of wine. The third method is applying heat with either warm water, or microwaving the bottle for a few seconds. This allows the flavors to mix together more easily.
Do All E Juices Need Steeping?
Not everyone finds the need to steep their e juices and are completely satisfied with the flavor right out of the bottle. Most of the premium brands that we carry have great flavor straight from the bottle. Juices that commonly need steeping are cheaper e juices, because most are mixed at the time you place an order and are not steeped. Premium E Juice companies typically have equipment that are able to thoroughly mix the ingredients, which eliminates the need to steep in most cases. Steeping does require some effort, so some might think its not worth the time. Since flavor is subjective, it varies from vaper to vaper. You might like a flavor straight from the bottle, but be thinking to yourself, "this is good, but...it would be better if the flavor were stronger." Also, there are instances where you find a particular flavor of an e liquid overwhelming and find it hard to enjoy the other flavors in the bottle. Steeping in this case MIGHT help. Some vapers find that steeping e juices with a single overpowering flavor balances all the flavors together, making the e juice more enjoyable. Lastly, you will undoubtedly come across an e liquid flavor that just doesn't suit your taste or is unbearable. Don't be so quick to throw the bottle away! It can be saved! It's not a guarantee, but bad e liquids can turn around and be enjoyable if you steep them.
How to Steep your E Juice
There are a few ways to go about steeping your e juice, but we'll cover the three most common ways. It's hard to say which method produces the best results, but depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it, one method might better suit your needs. You can always try all three and see which you like best.
Storing in a Dark Area, Top Cap On
This is a simple process, but can take some time. You're essentially letting the e liquid naturally age and for the flavors to come together on their own. You'll notice a slight color change, and the longer you let it age, the more noticeable it becomes.
- Remove the plastic wrapping off the top of the bottle, and shake for a few minutes.
- Store in a cool place away from sunlight, like a show box, cabinet or the back of any shelf.
- Shake the bottle of e liquid every couple days or so, and leave it stored for as long as you'd like the bottle to age. A week or two should be enough for most e juices, but a few weeks to months is not uncommon.
Storing in a Dark Area, Top Cap off
The steps for this method are exactly the same as the one above, except you remove the top cap off the bottle to let oxygen in. Distilled water or concentrated alcohol is used in the e liquid flavorings, so this allows the water and alcohol to evaporate. You don't need to leave the top cap off the entire time. There's definitely some merit as to unwanted things getting mixed in to your e juice. You can leave the top cap off for up to a few days or whatever you're comfortable with. The main thing is to give some time for the alcohol and distilled water to evaporate.
Introducing Heat to Speed the Aging Process
There are a number of ways you can go about adding heat to your liquid. If you're lazy and want to do as little work as possible, put the bottle next to a heater or even your laptop fan. A common way is to put warm water, almost to it's boiling point, in a container and letting the bottles sit until the water cools down. Repeat this process 2-3 times and give it a hard shake on your final round. Rice can be substituted for water, since rice can stay warm longer. Just put some rice in a microwavable bowl and microwave until its hot and insert your e juice bottle with the top cap off. If the flavor is still not up to your standards when the rice has cooled, repeat this step until it does. You can also use a slow cooker at the lowest settings, filled with water, for a few hours or until you've reached you're desired preference. Put the bottle in a plastic bag if you're bottle is plastic (this helps keep the bottom from melting).