'Steeping' Your E Liquid: a Beginner's Guide
While politicians, tobacco manufacturers and other organisations struggle with the ideal of e-cigarettes and try to find a reason to ban it, fans of the new-age technology are finding that there is a surprising amount for connoisseurs of vaping to explore. Of course, there is an endless variety of flavours to try. But another thing to try with your e cigarettes is 'steeping'. We take a look at what this is and why it's worth a try.
Steeping Provides Flavour Enhancement
Steeping means, in a nutshell, 'soaking' and sitting your e liquid to soften or cleanse it. The procedure is similar to that of ageing a good wine or swirling brandy. By pulling more flavour out of your e liquid, you can bring better flavours out and improve the hit to the throat as well. It is also a way to change, and in many cases, improve different flavours. You may have bought a flavour that you thought could be improved, or that perhaps was missing a little something. Steeping can be a way to fix that.
The emergence of e cigarettes might be a recent thing, but connoisseurs have wasted no time in exploring the possibilities for modifying and improving your e liquids. In fact, a number of different methods for drawing out the most (or best) flavour from your e liquid have emerged, each with their own fan group.
The Most Popular Steeping Methods
A lazy vaper who would like to give steeping a try can do as little as giving their e liquid bottle a good shake before vaping. While this is not quite steeping in the true spirit of it, the process does loosen and combine the liquid's particles, which gives an improved flavour. This is something so rudimentary that many of us do it without even thinking, of course, and there is a lot more to steeping that that.
Another simple but more time-heavy way to steep your e liquid is to leave it at room temperature with the lid off. This allows the liquid to oxidise enough to bring out the flavours more, especially if left for between one and two weeks. While it does mean that you can't vape your exciting new dark cherry or aniseed e liquid immediately, it is all the better for the wait. Steeping in this way will also tend to change the colour, often giving it a clearer, more dark appearance as the flavours mature more fully. E Liquids containing nicotine will often develop a yellow / organge hue.
The colour of steeped e liquid
Some vapers mix their own e liquid (Not recommended unless you know what you are doing!) or combine two or more flavours from their e liquid collection. You can speed the waiting period up from a few weeks to just a day or two. The method is essentially to place some hot – preferably boiling – water into a bowl and leaving your bottle of e liquid in this water until it cools, again to room temperature. This accelerates the steeping process, creating a stronger, deeper flavour.
If you can still bring yourself to wait a little, leaving the bottle to one side for four or five days will further improve the flavour. Flavours like coffee, caramel and other are especially improved after a longer period of steeping.
Another tip that vapers regularly offer is to take out and shake the e liquid every couple of days while steeping. This requires a certain amount of dedication but some swear by it and insist that it makes all the difference.
Storing your E Liquid
While steeping is a great way to get more out of your vaping experience, it is always worth taking care to store your juice correctly to maximise the flavour as well. The biggest no-no is storing your e liquid in the fridge. It is preferable to find a spot that is out of direct sunlight and somewhere between room temperature and cellar temperature (in fact, some vapers insist that the very best flavours come from this, although this may be more to do with the enjoyment of having an 'e liquid cellar').
Some fans have really taken the question of storage to the extreme, running extensive experiments over a course of months in order to ascertain whether all of this really makes a difference to the nicotine content of the liquid. While most don't have quite enough patience for that, some users do and it's interesting to note that from storing a bottle of e liquid in (a) a fridge, (b) a room at room temperature and (c) a room, in daylight, it's exposure to sunlight that reduces the nicotine content, and even then not by a lot (only around 2%).
For what it's worth, many vapers would be quite happy to lose a little nicotine regardless when playing around with flavours, but if you are keen to get your kick, it is certainly worth a moment's thought.