Steeping e-juice is practiced widely by vapers. Steeping refers to the process used to improve e-juice flavor. It is a method of aging e-juice that allows e-juice ingredients (PG/VG, nicotine and flavorings) to blend. Also, it removes harsh bottle flavors and vaporizes any alcohol content in the e-liquid. Eliminating alcohol in the e-juice requires oxidation, which darkens the e-juice. Depending on the flavor, e-juices take different timelines to age, which we will discuss later. Properly aging e-juice involves steeping, breathing, and streathing. Breathing and streathing are often used interchangeably with steeping, but they are not the same thing.
What is breathing?
Breathing e-juice is taking its cap off and allowing air to mix with the e-liquid for a few hours. Breathing should be done for less than 12 hours because it diminishes the nicotine content and flavor of your e-juice.
What is streathing?
Streathing is a combination of steeping and breathing; hence the name. Streathing can only be done using a bottle that has a nipple. To streath your e-juice, begin by shaking it then run it under warm tap water. Remove the cap and let the e-juice sit in a cool, dark place for about 2 hours. When this time elapses, put the cap back on and shake the e-juice, then remove the cap again. Filter the oxygen out of the bottle by squeezing the excess air out. Squeeze several times, put the cap back on, shake the bottle, and steep it for about 6 hours.
Why should I steep e-juice?
Some vapers tend to find that unsteeped e-juice tastes like perfume. Steeping helps to improve this flavor by allowing the ingredients to blend. Steeping is good for homemade e-juice because it removes the chemical taste. Commercial e-juice might already have steeped from the time it was bottled. However, sitting in the bottle too long might give it a harsh taste which you can eliminate through steeping. Also, if you find that your e-juice flavor is too strong or sweet, steeping will help to balance it.
How long does steeping e-juice take?
It is crucial to note that some flavors might be good right from the bottle and you will not need to steep them. The time taken to steep is highly dependent on the e-juice flavor:
Fruity flavors: these take the shortest time to steep. Most fresh fruit flavors do not require much (or any) steeping before use. However, creamy fruit flavors — such as mango — might need about one week of steeping.
Tobacco flavors: tobacco needs a little more time than fruity flavors to steep. Ideally, two weeks will help them reach optimal flavor.
Dessert flavors: these take the longest time to reach peak flavor. They require at least two weeks to steep. Some take up to a month.
The reason for steeping e-juice is to improve taste, so if it tastes good to you after a few days of steeping, you can discontinue the process. The color of your e-juice is an excellent indicator of whether the process is working. Once it begins getting darker, you know that it is steeping.
Which steeping methods can I use to age my e-juice?
There are many methods of steeping e-juice — some fast and others slow. No matter the approach you take, steeping is always best done in glass instead of plastic bottles. Plastic bottles can melt, or ruin the taste of your e-juice. Let’s begin by looking at the slow steeping method.
Slow and simple steeping
This method is best used when you are not in a hurry to use the e-liquid. Generally, it takes 2-3 weeks, depending on the flavor. To steep traditionally, remove the wrappers from the bottles and place the bottles in a cool dark box (a simple shoe box will do). Shake the bottles once daily making sure that light does not hit them. Once light hits them, your vape juice will be tarnished. Occasionally, open the bottles to allow air in and speed up the oxidation process.
If you are in a hurry to use your e-juice. Here are some fast but super effective methods of steeping:
Fill your sink or bowl with warm water. Test out the water using your elbow to ensure that it is not hot. Seal your bottles in plastic bags and place them in the warm water. When the water cools to room temperature, remove the bags, uncap them, and squeeze out excess air.
Place your bottles in a plastic bag, removing as much air as is possible. Fill your crockpot with water. Put it on low heat and place your plastic bag inside. Leave the bottles for 30 minutes to 4 hours, making sure that you shake them periodically. When the time elapses, remove the caps and allow them to breathe for a few minutes then cap them and shake well.
Hot car method
This method is effective when temperatures are high, for example during summer. Put your bottles in the glove box of your car and leave them for a day. Remove them, uncap and let them breathe. Then cap them and shake well.
Your jewelry ultrasonic cleaner can help age your e-juice. Fill it with warm water and place your bottles in the water. Let the ultrasonic waves send vibrations to your bottles for about 30 minutes. This will mix the juice molecules quickly and effectively.
If you already have steeped e-juice, blend 10% of it with the fresh unsteeped juice. Let the mixture sit for two days. This plants the seed and speeds up steeping of your fresh e-juice.
Hot rice method
Fill a bowl with dry uncooked rice and heat the rice in a microwave until hot. Cover the e-juice bottles entirely with the hot rice. When the rice is cool, remove the bottles and check if it has reached peak flavor. Repeat until you get the desired results.
Use a microwave
Place your e-juice bottles in a microwave. Let it run on high for 10 seconds. Remove them and let them breathe. Repeat the process if necessary.
You do not necessarily have to steep your e-juice, although it helps improve the flavor. Combining steeping with breathing gives the best results. Never assume that bottled e-juice is already aged. The vaping market is vast now, and manufacturers have to satisfy the demand fast; hence you might buy freshly mixed e-juice that requires steeping. If you do not want to go through the “pain” of steeping, you can purchase pre-steeped juice.
You may also like our article on PG vs. VG!