If you are just starting out on your vaping adventure then perhaps your mind is rapidly becoming boggled! There is a fabulous array of electronic cigarettes and e-liquid flavours to choose from and then there is all that terminology to unravel.
For a start you are probably wondering what e-liquid steeping is and whether it is something that you should learn to do. Well, you may have already noticed that your chosen e-liquid flavours can change from day to day. Don’t worry, you aren’t imagining it! Like fine wines and single malts, e-liquids can mature and when they do their flavour intensifies.
Steeping is simply the practice of maturing your eliquid to enhance its flavour.
A Question of Flavour
Steeping is primarily a waiting game. It can take time for the base liquids in your juice to absorb all of the flavour molecules. PG (propylene glycol) carries flavour a little better than VG (vegetable glycerin) and so an eliquid with a higher proportion of PG generally requires less steeping. A single flavour e liquid may not take too long to mature. Fruity flavours can certainly develop quickly but tobacco flavours will take longer and sweet, dessert type flavours longer again.
E-liquids with complex flavour combinations may take a while to develop the desired balance of flavour. This is because some flavour elements are strong or steep quickly and the other flavours need time to catch up. As with all things, e-liquid flavour is a matter of personal taste. You may think that you have discovered perfection the minute you open the bottle or you might prefer vaping your juice after it has been left to steep.
A Steep Learning Curve
Experienced vapers tend to develop their own personalised steeping regime. Most agree that the first step in the process should be to open the bottle in order to expose the e-liquid to the air at room temperature. The bottle should then be shaken to ensure that all elements are well blended and to speed molecular bonding. The bottle can then be left in a cool, dark place as this environment will reduce nicotine oxidation. (Nicotine oxidation will darken the colour of the e-liquid and can make the throat hit somewhat harsh when vaping).
Through experimentation you will discover how long you need to steep your eliquid for. Typically vapers steep their juice for one to two weeks but many will leave certain flavours for much longer. When steeping, you may choose to open the bottle every so often. This is called breathing and will accelerate oxidation. Whether you open your bottle or not, shake it regularly. Always be mindful that you can over steep your eliquid and then you will ruin rather than improve the flavour.
You can speed up the steeping process by setting your juice bottle in a bowl of warm water or by holding it under running warm water. Some vapers swear by storing their bottles close to a heat source. However, you should introduce heat advisedly as you risk over-accelerating the oxidation of the nicotine and you must always make sure that water does not come in contact with your eliquid.
The Taste Test
Always vape some of your eliquid when it first arrives. That way you can discover if you love it just as it is. You also have a base flavour to compare against the results of any steeping that you try. Through experimenting with steeping you will discover what works best for you and your chosen e-liquid flavours.