When most of us began vaping, we started because we wanted an alternative to combustible tobacco. Once you get past the initial stage of switching from smoking to vaping, though, you begin to vape for other reasons. For some, vaping is all about chasing some big, creamy clouds. For others, though, much of the pleasure of vaping comes from experiencing the incredible flavors that the world’s top e-liquid makers create. If you’re a budding flavor chaser, “steeping” is a term that’s going to become part of your vocabulary.
Do you steep your e-liquids? If you don’t, it’s time to learn why you might want to. In this article, we’ll discuss what e-liquid steeping is, how to do it and why you might want to steep your e-liquids. Strap yourself in.
What Is E-Liquid Steeping?
In e-liquid, the term “steeping” is a bit of a misnomer. Steeping normally refers to soaking a solid in a liquid to extract flavors or beneficial compounds from the solid. Since e-liquid contains no solids, it’s actually more accurate to say that steeping is the controlled aging of e-liquid. When you steep an e-liquid, you expose it slowly to air. The e-liquid’s character changes in subtle ways during the steeping process. The nicotine begins to oxidize, and some undesirable flavors may evaporate and become less prominent.
Do I Need to Steep My E-Liquids?
You should only steep your e-liquids if you’re not happy with the way they taste. If you already like the flavor of an e-liquid, it’s unlikely that steeping will make you like it more. Most top e-liquid sellers buy pre-steeped e-liquids from the original manufacturers and store their e-liquids under ideal conditions before shipping them. When an e-liquid from a top retailer reaches your hands, it should already be at its peak. If you shop at a budget retailer and receive an e-liquid you don’t like, steeping is an option.
What Are the Benefits of Steeping E-Liquid?
Have you ever seen a bottle of e-liquid recommending that you shake the contents before each use? You’ve seen that instruction because forming a homogenized mixture from the many different substances in e-liquid isn’t easy. An e-liquid usually contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and nicotine. It also contains several flavoring concentrates. Without vigorous shaking, some of the compounds in an e-liquid may separate. You’ll taste more of one flavor at the top of a bottle and more of another flavor at the bottom. During the steeping process, molecular bonding takes place. The result is a more homogeneous mixture. You may feel, therefore, that steeping your e-liquids makes them taste smoother and more balanced.
Some evaporation may also take place during the e-liquid steeping process. A flavor concentrate requires a carrier liquid. Some companies use propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin as carriers — which is ideal for e-liquid. Other companies use alcohol. If you’re sensitive to alcohol, you may find alcohol-based flavors harsh. You may also find e-liquids with alcohol-based flavors unpleasant to vape because you can’t taste anything but the alcohol. Steeping encourages the alcohol in an e-liquid — if there is any — to evaporate.
How to Steep E-Liquid
To steep an e-liquid, you’ll need a glass bottle with a cap. You should avoid steeping e-liquids in plastic bottles if possible because the e-liquid could potentially leech chemicals form the plastic during extended storage. Decant your e-liquid into a glass bottle and close the cap. Shake the bottle vigorously for several seconds. Open the cap to let air in — and potentially let alcohol out — and replace the cap. Every day, shake the bottle and open the cap briefly.
After steeping the e-liquid for about one week, draw a sample from the bottle and taste it. If you’re happy with the flavor, begin using the e-liquid immediately. If you’re not happy, you can continue the e-liquid steeping process for up to several weeks.
E-Liquid Steeping Tips
Would you like to speed up the e-liquid steeping process? Try placing your bottles in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. The gentle vibrations will mix your e-liquids much more thoroughly than would be possible with manual shaking. You could also try steeping your e-liquids with the bottles open or under gentle heat. When you accelerate the steeping process, you’ll need to check the flavor of your e-liquid more often. There’s no bringing an e-liquid back once you’ve gone too far.
If you do try steeping e-liquid under heat, decanting the e-liquid into glass becomes even more important. When heated, many types of plastic release chemicals that mimic hormones and can disrupt the body’s natural processes.