Steeping Your Eliquid
“It’s ready when it’s ready... and part of that recipe includes a fair amount of patience.”
To steep or not to steep that’s the question… but that phrase from Jack Daniels, home of Old No 7 Brand, pretty much sums it up. E juice steeping is the process of allowing the different components of your eliquid the time to blend together for a better, more balanced and flavoursome e liquid. It's a key part in making your own DIY e juice too.
Should You Be Steeping E Liquid?
Your eliquid is made up of different components – Vegetable Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, flavours and possibly nicotine too. Each of these has a different density and to get the best from some eliquid flavours these components need time to mix at molecular level. Part of the process of steeping is degasification and evaporation of certain compounds. Increasing the temperature of an eliquid speeds up these elements.
But ultimately the taste achived from steeping e liquid is down to your personal preference and your palate. When you use your e cigarette you might not notice any difference at all, or you might find steeping for weeks has a huge effect on the flavour. But as a general rule most complex blends are regarded as tasting better for steeping.
And different flavour types age for different amounts of time.
How Long Should I Steep My Eliquid?
Some eliquids you can vape right off the bat, others really do get better with some steep time - DIY E liquid is a good example of this. For some complex blends steeping changes the flavour entirely.
In general more complex blends require steeping for longer. And again steep time is a personal thing but as a general rule:
- Tobacco e liquid and menthol e liquid flavours require the least steeping – 1 to 2 days. Some can be vaped straight away.
- Fruit flavours require a little more steeping – 3 to 4 days
- Dessert flavours (usually more complex blends) require anything from 1 week to 1 month.
There are some steepers who suggest steeping for as long as two months to really bring out the flavours. Others say 2 to 4 weeks. After steeping you’ll probably see your eliquid has darkened too. This is a result of the nicotine oxidising. The methods below are a great place for getting started or if you're new to vape, a learning curve for vaping for beginners.
E Juice Steeping Techniques
The Dark Cupboard – The Tried and Tested Method
Possibly the most successful method of steeping is simple. Keep your eliquid in a warm dark place and allow the components the time to blend at molecular level. It’s the slowest but is regarded to be the best way to steep eliquids. Other methods are designed shave a day or two off the steep time.
Once or twice a day give the eliquid a good shake and remove the lid (for up to an hour) to allow it to breathe. If it’s a complex blend test it after a week and see how it tastes.
It’s a device used for cleaning all sorts of things… jewellery, stones… but it’s also great for accelerating the steeping process. It combines heat and gentle shaking to help speed up the steeping of your e juice.
You can buy (or make) a magnetic stirrer to help blend the eliquid more quickly. Your eliquid is placed over a fan with magnets and a magnet inside your eliquid revolves when the fan turns. It’s another stirring technique.
Heating the eliquid in the microwave for a few seconds then shaking can help blend your eliquid as part of your dark cupboard technique. But only heat for a few seconds – less than 5 – as extremes of heat can degrade the eliquid and damage the bottle. Some plastic bottles also release chemicals when heated.
Fill a container with warm, but not too hot, water. Place the eliquid bottle in a sealed bag (which helps stop the water from destroying the label – some people use two bags) and put it in the water, making sure all the eliquid is covered. Leave it for 10-15. After heating give the bottle a shake. Repeat this until you get the taste you want.
Other steeping e liquid techniques from around the web…
- Place your eliquid in a warm car glove box.
- Heat rice in a microwave, then place your bottle in the rice until it’s at the right temperature. Then shake and repeat.
- Tumble dryer – place the bottle in a sock, tie it, then tumble dry it. IMPORTANT: Don’t use glass bottles on this one – also check the cap is firmly in place.
Opinions on the effectiveness of steeping is definitely a mixed bag. The internet is full of stories of how steeping makes every/none/some differences (delete as appropriate). Some people tell how steeping reduces the flavour or nicotine strength, others say how steeping turns a hideous vape into a thing of joy.
There are even arguments as to whether steeping is the correct term, scientifically, for this process. Either way, try it for yourself and see what happens. It’s your juice.
If you blend your own e liquid flavour concentrates you'll probably already have steeping down to a tee. There is an element of trial and error when it comes to getting that flavour just right too. You blended everything just right according to the e liquid calculator, but if it's a complex blend it will likely require steeping.