Have you ever stopped to think about why e-liquid costs what it does? No; it’s not just the desire to make a profit, although vape juice makers and sellers certainly need to earn money. E-liquid production is a lengthier and more complex process than you might realize. After the e-liquid maker conceptualizes the desired flavour profile, the maker will then go about sourcing various flavouring compounds from manufacturers around the world and testing those compounds in various combinations and concentrations. All told, the process of developing and testing a new e-liquid may take weeks or months. After factoring in the expense of producing the e-liquid, it could be a very long time before the maker actually begins to earn money from it – and before that can happen, the production run needs a bit of resting time to allow the flavours to develop.

Steeping e-liquid should I do it?

The process of aging an e-liquid under controlled conditions to let the flavours meld together is called steeping – and most of the time, it’s something you don’t need to think about. By the time a bottle of e-liquid reaches you, it’s usually been rested long enough that the flavour is at its peak. Once in a while, though, you may get an e-liquid that might have been rushed out the door after production – and that’s what we’re going to discuss today. Should you steep your e-liquid? Let’s learn why you may sometimes want to give a bottle of e-liquid a bit of a rest before vaping it.

What Is E-Liquid Steeping?

First, let’s get one thing straight: The term “steeping,” as it applies to e-liquid, is a bit of a misnomer. Steeping – when you make tea, for example – is the process of using a liquid such as water as a solvent to extract flavours or beneficial compounds from a solid material. Why the vaping community uses that same term to describe e-liquid aging is a mystery, but the term has stuck.

To understand why steeping an e-liquid might be useful, consider the ingredients that an e-liquid contains. E-liquid consists of two base liquids – vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol – along with nicotine and flavouring compounds. The flavours themselves may be lab created or natural extracts, and they may be set in propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine or alcohol. A bottle of e-liquid, in other words, is actually a fairly complex product with many ingredients, and those ingredients may not mix easily into a completely homogenized solution. Steeping assists with the mixing process, and it can also improve an e-liquid’s flavour.

What Happens During E-Liquid Steeping?

Molecular Bonding and Flavour Melding

During steeping, three primary things happen. Have you ever tasted an e-liquid that didn’t quite seem cohesive? Maybe all of the flavour notes were there, but they didn’t quite blend into a single overall flavour profile. Steeping encourages the flavours in an e-liquid to blend. The flavour molecules in the e-liquid begin to bond together, creating the cohesive flavour profile that you expect from a high-quality e-liquid. The molecular bonding also encourages the e-liquid’s ingredients to stay mixed, ensuring that you won’t have to shake the bottle each time you fill your tank.

Alcohol Evaporation

The second thing that happens during e-liquid steeping is evaporation of the alcohol. In some cases, e-liquid makers intentionally add grain alcohol to e-liquid to enhance its throat hit. In a lower-nicotine e-liquid, though, an alcoholic bite usually indicates that the e-liquid’s maker didn’t give the juice enough time to steep before shipping it out. Steeping encourages the alcohol to evaporate, removing the bite and softening the edges of alcohol-based flavours.

Nicotine Oxidation

The final thing that happens during e-liquid steeping is oxidation of the nicotine in the vape juice. If the nicotine strength of the e-liquid is high enough, the oxidation causes the e-liquid to turn yellow or potentially even brown. Although oxidation may soften an e-liquid’s throat hit slightly, most people agree that the oxidation of nicotine has no perceptible effect. If you steep a low-nicotine e-liquid, you may not notice a colour change at all.

Should I Steep My E-Liquid?

We suggest steeping an e-liquid only if you’re unhappy with its flavour. Are you having trouble enjoying an e-liquid because of a harsh alcohol note that overpowers the other notes? Steeping will remove some of the alcohol and allow you to enjoy the e-liquid’s other flavours more thoroughly. Steeping, in fact, can potentially improve any e-liquid in which a very assertive flavour note overpowers a milder note. If an e-liquid doesn’t have the flavour profile that you expect, steeping the e-liquid may improve its flavour.

The only real mistake that you can make is deciding to steep an e-liquid that you already like. If an e-liquid seems perfect when you taste it for the first time, it’s unlikely that you’ll enjoy the e-liquid more after allowing it to age. When an e-liquid has notes that are harsh or overpower other notes, steeping the e-liquid can help it take on a well-rounded and cohesive flavour. If an e-liquid already tastes good, though, steeping it can cause individual flavour notes to fade and become difficult to taste.

How to Steep E-Liquid

Do you have a bottle of e-liquid that seems like a candidate for steeping? Find a cool, dark place in which the bottle won’t be exposed to direct sunlight. Open the e-liquid and allow air to circulate throughout the bottle for a few minutes. If the e-liquid is in a plastic bottle with a nozzle, you might want to remove the nozzle to maximize air exposure. Replace the nozzle and close the bottle.

Give the bottle a good shake for up to 30 seconds to aerate the e-liquid and encourage the ingredients to mix together. That’s it! Store the e-liquid in the location that you selected. While steeping the e-liquid, open, close and shake the bottle once each day. After a week of steeping, taste the e-liquid. If you’re not happy with the e-liquid’s flavour, steep it for another week. When you are happy with the e-liquid, begin using it immediately. Once a bottle of e-liquid has peaked, things can only go downhill from there.

How to Steep E-Liquid

Do you have a bottle of e-liquid that seems like a candidate for steeping? Find a cool, dark place in which the bottle won’t be exposed to direct sunlight. Open the e-liquid and allow air to circulate throughout the bottle for a few minutes. If the e-liquid is in a plastic bottle with a nozzle, you might want to remove the nozzle to maximize air exposure. Replace the nozzle and close the bottle.

Give the bottle a good shake for up to 30 seconds to aerate the e-liquid and encourage the ingredients to mix together. That’s it! Store the e-liquid in the location that you selected. While steeping the e-liquid, open, close and shake the bottle once each day. After a week of steeping, taste the e-liquid. If you’re not happy with the e-liquid flavour, steep it for another week. When you are happy with the e-liquid, begin using it immediately. Once a bottle of e-liquid has peaked, things can only go downhill from there.

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