What is Steeping?
This is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the vaping community, but is often not well-defined. Steeping is the process of letting your e-liquid emulsify and settle so that the flavours are optimally pronounced and the nicotine hit is at the perfect level for you.
Most often, steeping is done by people who make their own e-liquids (DIY), as these e-juices have not gone through any sort of mixing and settling process. However, pre-made, store-bought e-liquid can also be steeped to your liking, allowing you to take hold of your vaping experience.
There are three main methods of steeping: breathe-and-steep, hot water steeping, and ultrasonic steeping.
Methods of Steeping
The two-stage breathe-and-steep method is the most common for DIY e-liquid makers, but can also be done to enhance pre-made e-liquid flavours as well. The first stage is breathing your e-liquid by removing the cap from the bottle and leaving the e-liquid in a cool, dry place (cupboards or closets work very well for this) for a number of hours—the amount of time the e-liquid is left to breathe is dependent on the amount and types of flavourings the e-liquid contains. Breathing your e-liquid gives a chance for the harsher alcohols of the flavourings to evaporate, creating a smoother flavour.
Once the breathing period is up, the e-liquid is steeped by replacing the cap and putting the bottle back into that cool, dry place. The steeping period may be as short as a few days or as long as 3 weeks—this all depends on the flavours used and your personal preference. The steeping stage allows the flavours in the e-liquid to combine with the VG molecules, giving you an evenly flavoured, full-bodied e-liquid.
Shaking the bottle after each stage will further aid in combining and smoothing the flavours.
Hot Water Bath
The hot water bath is pretty straightforward. Once the e-liquid is mixed, it is then placed into a bowl of hot water (not boiling—boiling water can risk degrading the nicotine). The e-liquid is left to sit in the hot water for a number of hours, and often this is repeated over the span of a few days. Gently heating the e-liquid will thin the VG particles, allowing the e-juice’s flavours to come together more thoroughly and evenly.
Once again, shaking the bottle between each bath will ensure that the flavours are mixed as the e-liquid cools.
Ultrasonic steeping is normally the method that e-liquid manufacturers use, as it is arguably the fastest and most effective way to steep e-liquid. Once the e-liquid has been mixed, it is placed into a machine that sends ultra sonic waves through the water bath inside, and indirectly, to your e-liquid. This is done in short intervals over a span of a few hours or less. For homemade e-liquids, ultrasonic cleaners can be used to create the same effect.
As always, shaking the e-liquid is recommended after steeping for the best results.
Steeping Pre-Made Sealed E-liquids
For the most part, pre-bottled and sealed e-liquids have already been steeped by the manufacturer. Resteeping pre-made e-liquid is not necessary by any means, but depending on the manufacturer’s steeping methods, the flavours might not yet be pronounced to your liking. If you choose to continue steeping your pre-made e-liquid, the breathe-and-steep method is recommended, as this e-liquid should not require as much time steeping as freshly-made e-liquid would. When re-steeping your e-juice, you’ll want to check on it every few days to see if the flavour is preferable for you.