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To steep or not to steep… what is steeping?
Have you ever bought a juice, only to find out that the taste is dreadful the first time vaping it? Then, a few weeks or so later, you decide to be brave and try it again, but this time you are pleasantly surprised?
This is likely due to the process called Steeping. Essentially, it involves letting an eLiquid sit for a period of time before vaping it, this is said to improve the flavour of an eLiquid over time.
Steeping is not vital when it comes to premixed eLiquids (as they have likely been steeped already) but it is definitely an important aspect of maturing a brand new batch of recently mixed eLiquids. This allows the different constituents in the juice, to bond with each other, helping to define the various flavours and nicotine hit (if the liquid contains nicotine, that is)
Steeping has a few different components. Obviously the most well-known and straightforward method, is leaving a bottle of eLiquid alone for a few weeks (or months!). The others are slightly less popular but can also be beneficial for improving flavour whilst vaping. Breathing a juice requires one to either completely or partially remove a cap off the bottle, exposing the liquid to air, for a set period of time. You may notice the colour of the liquid may become slightly darker. This may be due to a chemical reaction between reducing sugars and certain amino acids.
You may have seen this in action such as toasting a marshmallow, as it browns, the
flavour changes and becomes more pronounced.
How long to steep an eLiquid is largely subjective. It depends on your desired target flavour. It is suggested to test a flavour regularly during the steeping process to allow you to judge how much longer it may or may not need.
So, what's the best way to steep an eLiquid? I have asked many vaping friends of mine about their favourite methods of steeping, and these are a few suggestions.
- Leave bottles in a cool, dry and dark place, such as a cupboard or drawer (make sure they are out of reach from children and animals)
- Shake them a few times a day (with the lid on!)
- Taste them periodically to check if they are vapeworthy
- One friend even suggested putting a bottle wrapped up in socks, then popped them in the dryer! (I wouldn’t recommend this one!)
Try and not leave liquids in direct light (especially sunlight) and hot or warm areas. Sometimes this can cause the nicotine in the eLiquid to break down and render itself obsolete, therefore taking any throat hit away.
There are a lot of mixed ideas when it comes to steeping. Some view it as completely psychological and that it makes no difference whatsoever, whilst others feel strongly that the flavours become more apparent and appealing.
It’s definitely worth a shot, especially if you are finding that your liquid isn't tasting as endearing as it should. It is a cheap albeit a little long-winded method of improving flavour quality of a juice, but if you can be patient, you will be able to fully enjoy your liquids.