Finding a vape-juice flavor that absolutely agrees with your taste buds (and shakes you to the core every time you take a hit) is no easy task. Nothing beats filling your e-juice vape pen with an awesome flavor, and then just kicking back and relaxing, right?
But, this takes time. It takes practice. And it takes you knowing about a magical process called vape juice steeping.
You see, sometimes certain juices start to taste differently. You know that you’ve been there. What started off meh, is suddenly great after two weeks. And what started off great becomes meh.
What is the reason behind this drastic change in flavor?
Vape juice steeping.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this post today – how to make sure that all your vape juices taste great (instead of meh) consistently. Oh, and before I forget, we tested all this vape juice steeping using our new Jiggy vape pen (I particularly love how the Jiggy deals with fruity and dessert flavors, it’s really da bomb!).
You’re looking for a small, discreet vape pen?
Jiggy is a great vape juice vaporizer that’s perfect for beginners who do not want to compromise on flavor.
But enough about that.
Let’s dive deep into the process of e-juice steeping — what it is, why it’s important & a couple of hacks that will help you steep all your juices in no time!
Let’s Tackle Some E-Juice Steeping Definitions First
Before I go into the nitty-gritty of steeping, let’s first define it (as well as a couple of other related terms) so you know exactly what I’m talking about when I tell you to give that bottle a shake or to let it breathe a bit.
What is raw vape juice?
When the aroma and the base of an e-juice are initially mixed, what you are left with is known as raw juice. The flavor of this newly formed concoction often has an undefined and “half-cooked” feel to it when vaped immediately.
What’s e-juice steeping?
Steeping is a delicate process of e-juice preservation and flavor enrichment. The gist behind this process is letting the e-juice stay put in a dark and coolish place for about a month. Depending on the steeping method used it may be necessary to shake up and/or open up the bottle every now and then during the steeping period in order for the juice to catch some air and oxidize. There are more than a couple of methods which allow you to speed up this process, but more on them later in the article.
What’s e-juice breathing?
Opening up your bottle every now and then enables the air to mix with your e-juice during the steeping process, therefore allowing it to “breathe”.
What’s e-juice streathing?
Streathing is basically a combination of breathing and steeping. To streath, you need to give your bottles a nice shake and dowse them in warm water. The bottles should then be uncapped and placed in a cool and dark place for about 2 hours. Cap them, and shake them up again after that.
The secret behind streathing is that the warm water makes the vegetable glycerin thin out which allows it to blend with the aroma more firmly. Once back at room temperature, the density of the juice will return to its initial state, but the flavors will become more heightened.
What exactly is the Maillard Reaction?
The reduction of sugars which commonly occurs with foods when they interact with amino-acids is referred to as the Maillard Reaction. When an e-juice is fully steeped, it turns a dark brown color. It is believed that just like with certain foods, Maillard Reaction is the reason for this.
What’s steeped e-juice?
Once the juice has done it’s steeping period, the aroma has fully merged with the PG/VG base and all the alcohols in the concoction have fully evaporated.
The majority of the vaping community considers e-juices most enjoyable only when they are fully steeped with their flavors reaching their highest potential. However, not everybody agrees with this. More on this matter in the following section.
Does Steeping Make Vape Juice Better & Flavors More Pronounced?
Steeping vaping juices has become somewhat of a cult classic habit among vapers worldwide. It is recommended and encouraged by a vast number of vapers ranging from store employees, admins on vaping related social network groups to YouTube reviewers.
Be that as it may, not everybody agrees on this.
Some vapers actually claim that steeping results in degradation of the original flavor when compared to raw juices, and prefer to vape them immediately.
This is why people at the UK’s Ashtray blog have conducted a series of experiments to set the records straight and determine which side of the vaping population has got it right by giving each test subject one bottle of steeped juice and another one containing raw juice. Their task was to determine which is which based solely on the flavor (without seeing the label. Also, they were asked to rank and score all the juices.
Steeped vape juices won the day.
Eight out of nine testers preferred their juices steeped. But, unsteeped juices got good grades, too. What does this mean? Well, it means that vape juice steeping does make a significant difference in flavor, but individual preference will vary since not everybody’s taste buds determine the change in flavor equally.
What Happens When You Steep Vape Juice?
In this section, we’ll dive deep into what actually happens when you steep a vape juice. How does it become different? What are the chemical reactions that take? And what methods should you use to steep, streath, or breath your juices.
Let’s dig in.
How does steeping work, and what causes the changes in taste?
The reason some vape juices taste drastically different before they are steeped is due to several chemical and physical factors.
Pre-steeped juices contain a number of volatile molecules that evaporate over time during the steeping process. This happens because of the degasification process which is achieved by airing out the bottle every now and then. These very molecules are responsible for the raw and “not quite ripe” flavor which most vapers associate with them.
Homogenisation on the molecular level is also one of the factors in the process (by diffusion), but shaking up the bottle will cause homogenisation as a full volume. Full homogenisation and re-arrangement of molecules among PG and VG would come into place after a couple of days.
Much like the Maillard reaction (mentioned earlier in this article) which occurs in the aging of wine, the steeping of e-juices forms new flavor compounds in them which results in the liquid turning a dark brown color.
What’s the best method for a vaper to get maximum flavor?
There actually is no such thing as an absolute correct time stamp on perfect steeping for each e-juice since every blend is different.
In DIY mixing the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep your juices in a cold and dry place. In a week’s time, the change in flavor will be significant. The flavor will continue to evolve in the weeks to come.
What’s the quickest method that produces results?
Usually, storing liquids at high temperatures should speed up the steeping process. However, this is not widely recommended from a scientific point of view since it might have a negative effect on the natural order of molecule blending.
What’s the Best Way to Steep Your Vape Juice?
It is important to keep your juices far away from heat and sunlight because these can contribute to nicotine degradation. You should also keep the juices closed tightly so no germs get in that could mess up your whole effort.
As it was mentioned above in the interview, you should give your juices the occasional shake and air them out for a short while.
The first major changes in flavor normally come in the first 5-7 days. Further flavor-evolving processes take place in the following weeks.
It’s impossible to precisely say when the steeping process is fully finished since it depends on different flavor profiles, but most vapers agree that, on average, a month’s time should just about do it.
Steeping Methods for Different Flavor Profile
Not every vape juice flavor requires the same approach when it comes to steeping. After years of experimentation, vapers have come up with a cheat sheet that you can now use to determine the length and method of steeping depending on the flavor you’re working with.
Fruits and Menthols
Fruits and menthols do not require a long steeping period since they tend to lose flavor if exposed to too much air. More complex fruity mixes require a bit longer to steep in order for the different flavors to blend nicely with each other.
Custards and Deserts
When it comes to dense and sweet flavors like these, it is best to steep them for as long as you can. Some vapers even steep them for as long as several months.
The recommended steeping time of tobacco flavors is 2-4 weeks, especially if we are talking about juices that blend them with other flavors such as vanilla, caramel, etc. When it comes to regular tobacco flavors, a lot of vapers vape them with little to no steeping.
13 Ways to Quickly Steep Your Vape Juice
Okay, okay — you don’t have time to wait for months for your vape juice to get to where it needs to for the flavors to pop. Or you do but you just don’t want to.
Here are 13 different ways to quickly steep your e-juice and get it ready in a day!
A regular bath
An efficient speedy steeping method is submerging your bottles in water. Find a suitable thing such as a tub, sink or a large bowl and fill it with lukewarm water. Make sure to encase the bottles in plastic zip bags or similar containers to protect them from water.
A bird bath
Uncap your bottles and place them in a shallow pool of warm water. After the water cools down, cap the bottles shut and give them a good shake.
Use a slow cooker
Place your bottles (again encased in plastic bags) into a slow cooker at the lowest heating setting possible. Also, give them a shake from time to time.
Use an ultrasonic cleaner
Fill up the ultrasonic cleaner with warm water, and the sonic vibrations will allow the molecules to merge together more rapidly.
Use a magnetic stirrer
If you own a magnetic stirrer, they can be of great help with DIY-ing juices. Place your juice in a large container (preferably a glass one) and the stirring may commence!
As weird as this method sounds, it has shown to be quite effective. It involves speeding up the process by mixing steeped juices with unsteeped ones.
Use an electric dryer
Vacuum seal the bottles in a plastic zip bag. Place the bag in a sock that has been sealed shut with a rubber band. The sealed sock is then put in the electric dryer and taken out after running the dryer on low for about 15 minutes. After you have taken the bottles out of the sock, uncap them and let them breathe. Shake them well later, and repeat the whole process if necessary.
Use a candle warmer
Bury the bottles inside a coffee mug walled with dry rice. Place the mug onto a candle warmer and leave it there for 8 hours. Every 2 hours, uncap the bottles to air them out and give them a shake. Repeat if necessary.
Use a space heater
Place your bottles uncapped about a foot away from a space heater which is set to a medium setting. When finished, cap them and give them a shake.
A hot car
During hot summer days, try putting your bag-encased capped bottles into the glove compartment of your car. After three days, pull them out, uncap them to let them breathe a little, after capping them shut give them a shake.
Use your microwave
Put your bottles in a microwave and run on high for 10 seconds. After the bottles have cooled down, uncap them for a few seconds and then shake them. Repeat the process if necessary.
Use hot rice
Heat up a bowl of dry and uncooked rice in your microwave until it’s hot and then proceed to tuck your bottles into the rice. Once the rice cools down, check on your juice. After that, let the juice breathe for a while and give it a shake. Repeat if necessary.
Use a coffee mug warmer
Similar to the previous method, the bottle is stored in dry cooked rice in a coffee mug. The mug is then placed onto a warmer and held there for 8 hours. Air out and shake the bottle every 2 hours. Check up on your juice once it is over. Repeat if necessary.
Congratulations — You’re Now A Master Vape Juice Steeper
Even though some vapers have been and remain skeptical about the effectiveness and the overall point of it, e-juice steeping is undeniably a potent and clever way of preserving and flourishing the flavor of your e-juice. It is a subtle and complex art that requires patience and dedication.
And I know you’ll be super-impressed the first time you get that juice steeped the right way!
Oh and yeah:
The world is your oyster. Especially the vaping world.
Whether you will try out the delicate and slower methods or help yourself to the quicker more handy solutions is completely up to you. If you need any help, definitely reach out to us here at the Kind Pen. And, while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our excellent collection of e-juice vaporizers!