In this short guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about steeping your e-liquids
Steeping your e-liquids is something you may have heard about if you’ve ever spent any time in vape shops. Most people immediately think of steeping tea bags in hot water to make tea, but this is slightly different than what is happening when you steep an e-liquid. For most people, the best way to describe what you’re doing when steeping an e-liquid is aging it. Like a fine wine or whiskey, leaving something to sit for an extended period can vastly improve the flavor and smoothness of the product.
Technically speaking, the steeping process begins as soon as all the ingredients are mixed in the factory, but most e-liquids can be significantly improved with a little extra time. It’s best to think about marinating something to cook. Sure, you could start cooking right after covering your meat in a marinade, but any real cook knows that leaving it to soak overnight will dramatically improve the final flavor. But no matter what kind of method you end up going for, a proper steeping technique requires patience.
The Traditional Method
The most common method for steeping e-liquid is to place your closed bottle in a cool, dark place. This can be anything from a closet to a professional cigar humidor. While letting your e-liquid sit for several weeks, it’s best if you occasionally shake up the contents of the bottles to ensure adequate mixing. Periodically during this waiting process, you can let you e-liquid “breath.” It’s important to note that breathing is just a portion of proper steeping, whereas many people believe it’s enough to simply let your e-liquids breath for a while. Whatever the case, you should never let your juice breath for more than 12 hours, as that’s right when most mixtures start to reach a point of diminishing returns.
Another twist on the common method is sometimes known as streathing. As the name implies, this is simply a combination of steeping and breathing, where you focus on breathing for two-hour bursts. The first step to proper streathing is to run your bottle under warm water after giving them a thorough shake. You’re then supposed to let the bottle breath for two hours in a cool, dark location before shaking the contents well again. At this point, if you’ve got a bottle with a nipple, you’re going to want to squeeze any excess air out of the bottle to help facilitate the steeping. This method can prove to be a bit more finicky that merely steeping or breathing, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to go back to the simpler method.
A Word On Duration
One of the most commonly asked questions about steeping is just how long you should repeat the process. The answer is that it varies depending on which flavor and mix you currently have. Tobacco or dessert flavors tend to take the longest to adequately steep, while fruity flavors usually require the least amount of time. Regardless of the flavor, you ought to give things at least two weeks. But some of the more patient vapers have been known to wait up to a couple of months. The best way to tell if you’re approaching completion is if the color of the juice is noticeably darker than when you started.
If you’re not the kind of person who is good at waiting a long time for a payoff, there are a few methods you can employ to get things done faster. The most common way to speed up your total steeping time is filling a sink or bowl with warm water and placing a plastic bag containing your bottles into the water. This allows the molecules to move around and mix easier. Some people have taken this to the next level and used a crock pot instead of just using the sink. The significant advantage of this method is that it allows you to keep your juice at the proper temperature consistently. The only other thing you’ve got to do is occasionally shake up the bottles to mix them further.
If you’re not satisfied with either of these basic speed up methods, there are other pieces of equipment and methods that some people believe work even better. One popular alternative method is called seed steeping, and it involves blending some already steeped juice with a fresh batch to plant the “seed” of mixing, increasing the speed at which the natural process occurs. But others have taken things to the next level using ultrasonic cleaners or automatic stirrers, which automatically heat and mix the e-liquids. These methods are the best mix of high-quality steeping with minimal effort, but they’re going to require an initial purchase.
While steeping isn’t completely necessary, most vapers would agree that when done correctly it dramatically increases the quality of the vapor produced. E-liquid manufacturers are not always able to ensure that batches of their product have adequate time to steep before making their way to your local vape shop. Even the brands that advertise as being “pre-steeped” could still be improved with a little diligence and care. So if you’re the kind of person who values the highest quality experience, you should seriously think about starting to steep your juices using one of the methods discussed above. After all, you’re going to vape it either way, why not ensure it’s the best quality it can be?
Have you ever steeped your e-liquids before, if so did you think it made a difference? What’s your preferred method for steeping? Do you have any tips or tricks that you think we should have included in our guide? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.