Steeping is simply letting the e-liquid rest and age, enhancing and improving the flavor. Although it takes some time and a little patience, it certainly is worth the effort.
Steeping is a method that mixes and oxidizes the ingredients of the e-juice, which are the VG/PG base, flavorings, and nicotine. The process extracts any harsh chemicals and taste, and also changes the color. Therefore, when you see the e-liquid changing color and becoming darker, you’ll know that it’s steeping properly.
Most of the time e-juices sold through retail stores have already been steeped. The steeping process begins as soon as they’re mixed. They remain at the manufacturer's facility until they're distributed to the stores, where they rest on the shelves for sale. If the taste is still harsh, you may steep the e-juice further.
Nowadays, the demand for e-juice is so high that it doesn’t rest on the shelf long enough to be steeped. However, some companies sell their e-liquids pre-steeped for those who would prefer to avoid the whole process.
There are several methods of steeping the e-liquid:
1. The Traditional Method
This method brings out the best flavor, but it takes the longest time. All it requires is storing the e-liquid in a cool, dry place for a few days or a couple of weeks. You may also shake the bottle occasionally to mix the contents and speed up the process.
A variation of the traditional method is letting the e-juice breathe by removing the cap and the nozzles from the bottle to speed up the process. But leaving the cap off for more than 12 hours may cause over-steeping and diminish the nicotine and the taste.
2. The Expedited Methods
These methods involve heat in some way and take about a day or two.
• Give your e-liquid a warm bath.
Place the e-liquid in a glass container with warm (not hot) water.
• Use a slow cooker.
With this method, you place your e-juice in a Ziplock bag and remove as much air as you can out of the bag. Then you position the bag in a crock-pot filled with water and set it at the lowest temperature until the e-juice is ready. This process takes about one day.
• Steep the e-liquid in a glove compartment.
This method is only possible during the summer, or on a hot day. Pack your e-juice in a Ziplock and leave it in your glove compartment for a couple of days.
• Use a space heater
Place the uncapped e-liquid bottle approximately 14 inches in front of a space heater with the temperature set at medium to low. Keep an eye on the bottle to prevent it from spilling over.
Whether you steep your e-liquids or not depends on your preference, and some flavors don't even need to be steeped. However, if you think the flavor is not up to your standards, steeping can greatly heighten the flavor. And the old fashioned way, which is leaving it to rest in a dry, cool place for a couple of days, is the most effortless way.
Just like aged wine, e-liquids that are steeped are much smoother and taste better!