To Steep or Not To Steep… Getting The Best E-Juice Flavor
E-juice steeping is a process regularly discussed by vapers, and if you've purchased e-liquid before you've undoubtedly heard about some of the various steeping procedures.
The dictionary defines steeping as “the soaking in water or other liquid, as to soften, cleanse, or extract some constituent,” but when it comes to e-liquid the purpose is to deepen and improve the flavor, which can often be dull or muted until enough time has passed for the ingredients to fully mix and dissolve. Some e-juice companies recommend 2-4 weeks, while others claim that their e-juice is “pre-steeped;” in either case you should understand the advantages (and limitations) of steeping and the various methods for producing the best e-juice flavor.
Steeping allows for oxidation between flavoring, nicotine, and base ingredients. This process typically takes several weeks, but it varies between formulas and manufacturers. Some times the amount of steeping depends on the flavor itself; for example, Mt. Baker Vapor recommends 2-4 weeks for most flavors, but tobacco flavors require a bit longer (4-6 weeks) to fully develop.
Methods For Steeping E-Liquid
People have differing opinions about how to properly steep e-liquid – from the simple and straight-forward, to complex and detailed procedures that involve multiple steps.
Personally, I like to keep things simple by storing my e-liquid in a cool, dark place and giving it a shake every once in a while to ensure it stays thoroughly mixed.
After a few weeks and a quick taste-test, I'll determine if more time is necessary and continue steeping until the flavor is up-to-par.
METHOD #1 – Keep Things Simple
- Give your brand new e-liquid bottle a good hard shake to help fully disperse the ingredients.
- Store the bottle(s) in a cool, dark place (like a cabinet or drawer) – out of the reach of children.
- Pull the bottle(s) out every few days and give them another shake until the recommended steeping period is over. 7-10 days is a good place to start if you're not sure, but 2-4 weeks may be necessary.
METHOD #2 – A Little More Complicated
Some vapers get a little more in-depth with their e-juice steeping procedures, but it really depends on the product and how picky you are about perfecting each individual flavor. Many experts recommend letting the e-juice “breath” through a steeping process similar to the one outlined below:
- DON'T SHAKE FIRST! Remove the e-liquid cap and/or dripper tip.
- Gently squeeze the bottle(s) to force all of the contaminated air out – and let fresh air in.
- Replace the cap and vigorously shake the bottle(s).
- Store the bottle(s) in a cool, dark place and repeat this procedure every few days until the flavor(s) meet your expectations.
These are two of the most common and simple methods for steeping e-juice, but there are a variety of creative ways to improve the steeping process. Is there a right or wrong way to steep your e-juice? I've found that METHOD #1 works fine in most cases, but it's really a matter of preference.
Is Steeping Really Necessary?
One thing to keep in mind, is that some e-juice will still taste horrible no matter how long you steep it or what method you follow. Although steeping can certainly help in some cases, it's not a guaranteed solution for every product. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some e-juice tastes excellent right out of the bottle – with absolutely no steeping necessary. “Premium” e-juice companies often pre-steep their products prior shipment, eliminating the need to wait or follow a complicated procedure.
So how do you determine when steeping is necessary? First, see what the manufacturer recommends because they're the most reliable source of information for their products. Customer reviews are another excellent resource, giving you a good idea about what to expect and whether or not you'll need to steep a particular flavor. Finally, do some testing once the product arrives. Open the bottle and smell the juice, does it smell like the intended flavor? If it has an odd perfume or alcohol smell, it probably needs steeping. Take a quick vape and see how it tastes. If you're not satisfied with the flavor give it at least a week and come back again for another test after you've stored it in a cool, dark place for a while.
The most important thing to remember is that heat, light, and air are the enemies of e-liquid, so keep it out of direct sunlight – even after the steeping period is over. Keep it in a cool, dark place and always give it a nice shake before each use to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.