Everything You Need To Know About Steeping Your eJuice
“This article is geared toward new Vapers that click on one of the vendors that appear in Spinfuel and other vaping publications, either in a review or an advertisement, and buy e-Liquids from an e-Liquid vendor. “
With precious few exceptions every bottle of eJuice you purchase online needs to be home steeped before you can realize the full potential of the juice. Without steeping an e-Liquid does not have a chance to become the e-Liquid it’s creator wants it to be. So, not matter what you’ve been told, if you buy it online, from an e-Liquid vendor, you will benefit from doing a little steeping at home.
There are a lot of interesting facts, ideas, and observations below, but if you’re in a hurry, or you simply want to know what this whole steeping this is and how you can do it, and nothing more, I’ll cut to the chase. If you want to stick around afterward and learn more about it, then please do. If not, well, enjoy the rest of your day. – TM
The Sensible and Effective Way to Steep eJuice
The idea is to age your e-Liquid. Period. The best way to do that is simple, effective, and doesn’t require a bunch of fancy steps, and it works for ALL e-Liquids, not just certain categories.
- Take your bottle of fresh e-Liquid and shake really well and then open it.
- Then screw the cap back on and shake again. Place in a dark area. A medicine cabinet will do, so will a closet, or even a shoebox, anywhere inside your home or office is where it is, or should be, dark.
- Leave it alone for a week.
After you’ve completed the above vape a bit of your juice by filling up a cartomizer or small clearomizer and vape it. If the flavor is abundant, the vapor plentiful, and it doesn’t create a burning (harsh) sensation in your mouth, you’re more than ready to enjoy the bottle of eJuice. If for any reason you’re still not happy with the flavor, or there is still a slight burning sensation* in your mouth, place the cap back on the bottle, shake it up again, really vigorously, and put it back in the dark for another week. If all’s not well after two weeks you’re buying from the wrong vendor, who is probably buying his or her ingredients on the cheap.
Are there exceptions?
No and Yes. You may have heard that some people have had to steep their eJuice for a month or more before it would calm down and taste ‘halfway to all right’. It should never take that long. If it does its “junk juice*”.
Don’t buy junk juice
The one valid exception to the steeping method above is for e-Liquids that are made with alcohol. The easiest way to get rid of the effects of an e-Liquid with alcohol is allow the alcohol to evaporate. To do that you have to allow your bottle of eJuice to stand alone with the cap off so the alcohol and the air around the bottle can work its magic. Do that for 24 hours, either before the steep or right after the first steep week. Any negative effects from the alcohol should dissipate after 24 hours of exposure to the air.
Okay, that’s it. You can go now; you’ve learned how to steep your eLiquid in an easy and affective way. All other ways you’ll hear about will eventually get you to the same place. Or you can stick around and learn a lot more about this fascinating process, and other related topics. I’m hoping you’ll stick around.
Exceptions – Buying Off The Shelf or From Large Manufacturers
Buying “off the shelf”, or from a major vendor like Totally Wicked or DeKang, or even Johnson Creek and Halo Cigs, means buying eJuice that has been prepared and aged well in advance, sometimes a few weeks or sometimes several months (in the case of DeKang for instance).
Whether you are aware of it or not, off the shelf e-Liquid has steeped long enough, so unwrap it, fill your cartomizer, clearomizer or what have you and vape, cause it’s not going to get any better from that point on.
If you buy all your e-Liquids from a retail vendor or a major manufacturer this article won’t do you much good. However, if there is the off chance that you might someday buy your e-Liquid from one or more of the online vendors who make the e-Liquids as their primary source of livelihood, then you’ll want to read on. And, of course, if you are already buying your eJuice from online eJuice vendors then by all means keep reading…
Steeping – What it is
Simply speaking, ‘steeping’ is a word used by the e-liquid community. The word translates to “aging”. Steeping e-Liquid isn’t exactly like aging wine, but the analogy cannot be overlooked. Wine needs to be aged, sometimes by weeks and sometimes by decades. E-Liquid, on the other hand, has some basic requirements that are nowhere near as stringent as aging wine. Steeping is simple and straightforward, and the reward for steeping is a much improved vape experience. You’ll enjoy a deeper flavor experience, improved vapor production, and the elimination of a ‘portion’ of what I refer to as the *burning sensation*.
As you age wine you bring out the flavor, calm down the tannins in (mostly) red wines, and the wine mellows out and becomes a rich, gentle, flavorful and silky liquid of the Gods. Steeping eJuice enriches the vape in much the same way, though it is much less complicated and much more forgiving than the aging process for wine. Though I’ve yet to experience any sort of “Vapor of the Gods”, but I’d like to.
About Raw eJuice
Raw e-Liquid, freshly mixed, has almost no flavor to speak of. There hasn’t been enough time for the propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and the flavoring concentrates to meld or marry. In addition, some eLiquids have additional ingredients, from distilled water to alcohol, and these ingredients must also be dealt with in the steeping process.
The DIY e-Liquid Hobbyist
“The first time I made a bottle of eJuice I was so disappointed in the outcome because I knew nothing about steeping and the eJuice tasted like crap, didn’t produce a whole lot of flavor, and had a wicked hard throat hit that burned the back of my throat. It was so bad I almost gave up making my own juice right then and there. The problem wasn’t the recipe I followed, it was a proven winner, or the quality of the ingredients, always top shelf stuff, it was the fact that I tried to vape it immediately after mixing it. A major no-no, but no one bothered to tell me.” – John Manzione
Most e-Liquid vendors ship out the freshest eJuice they can. Often, especially with the vendors Spinfuel buys from or works with, makes e-Liquid “to order” meaning that when you buy an e-Liquid the order gets sent to the mixing room where it is prepared, usually within 24 hours of receiving your order, and shipped out to you immediately, most often via 2-Day USPS Priority Mail. This means that you will often open vapemail that contains eJuice that was made just 3 or 4 days ago, and has not fully matured.
I have, on several occasions, opened up a bottle of eJuice as soon as the postal delivery person handed it me…with excellent vaping results. Having said that, I will concede that by the time the eJuice is mixed and packaged, taken to the post office, and then off to travel the United States Postal Super Highway (the opposite of a wormhole) to your mailbox, your e-Liquid has experienced fluctuations in temperature, air pressure, altitude, barometric differences, heat, cold, and on and on. Traveling from one side of the country to the other can mean a whole lot of outside physical forces acting upon the bottle and the juice inside, but so can eJuice that travels one side of Florida to the other, especially in the summer. Some sort of steeping, or aging, is taking place during the travels, and we must factor in the sheer passage of time as well. So, while a DIY’er will try to vape eJuice that is less a minute old, at least when you buy online some time has passed between the mixing and vaping.
Even though a newly received bottle of eJuice tastes okay at times, it still needs some TLC at home.
All of the vendors I will mention in this article are masters at e-Liquid creation. All of us here know these e-Liquids, trust them and their creators implicitly, and can speak with some authority about the topics at hand. I’m sure there are many others that are every bit as good, perhaps even better, but these are the brands and the people that we “know for a fact” are first class vendors making first class eJuice. With that said, here are a couple of eJuice brands/vendors that we buy from and how they give you information you need in order to properly steep your eJuice when it arrives.
FanceeJuice ships their e-Liquids in a way that I wish all vendors could, although it has to be expensive to do it the way they do. Each bottle of eJuice is made to order, and it is then banded at the neck to prevent contamination and leakage, and to maintain the freshest possible juice. It is then inserted into a thick cardboard ‘tube’ and wrapped with string. At one end of the tube FanceeJuice stamps the four strings with a wax seal. These tubes are then packaged in USPS 2-Day priority boxes and shipped out to their destination.
Inside each cylindrical cardboard tube is two pieces of paper, one of them contains the actual date of eJuice was made, along with a “best used after” and a “best used before” dates. FanceeJuice is telling you upfront that your eJuice is so fresh that it needs a certain amount of time before it will taste “as good as it gets”. And they have calculated that time for you.
They also tell you that if for whatever reason you don’t finish that bottle of eJuice by a certain date it will be over the hill, and it won’t taste as good as it should. That date is usually a year after its date of birth, but unless you’re really and truly careful about how you store your eJuice it can wind up expiring months before the expiration date. But I’ll leave that for another time.
Steeping eJuice from FanceeJuice couldn’t be easier. After looking at the notes to find out the date that they have calculated to be the best date to begin vaping it, you just put the bottle back in the tube and let it sit until the date arrives.
Everything you need to know about steeping…continued…
Mountain Oak Vapors
Mountain Oak Vapors writes their DOB (date of birth) on the side of each bottle. They too make their e-Liquids “to order”, so the date you see on the bottle is the date they mixed and bottled your order. The bottles that contain your eJuice are then wrapped at the neck in shrink-wrap to prevent contamination and to keep it as fresh as possible. All the vendors we buy from are now using this neckband to seal in freshness and prevent contamination.
We’ve ordered e-Liquids from MOV that were “born” a mere 3 days before we received them. Their production facility is so exact and their procedures are so precise that I’ve yet to see an order we’ve placed with them not ship within 18 hours of placing the order. Being as fresh as they are they will need some steeping as well. However, there is still a lot of flavor from a newly arrived bottle. It took us months before we realized that Mountain Oak Vapors eJuice would improve with a little aging, and that realization came by accident when we “lost” a bottle of eJuice and found it two weeks later. It was a great vape straight from the mail truck; it was an awesome vape two weeks later.
Looking Back Briefly
Last year it was not uncommon to have eJuice arrive with electrical tape wrapped around the cap and the bottle, or scotch tape. We’ve even had eJuice arrive in plastic bags with juice leaking all over the bottle because there was no band, no tape, not anything to seal in the juice other than the cap. Thankfully the vendors back then are no longer vendors we deal with, and those methods are long gone, at least they should be. If you’ve recently received a bottle of eJuice that was not protected with at least a shrink-wrapped neckband we would love to know which companies are still living in the past. Leave a comment below.
Packaging and Steeping
All the vendors we buy from go the extra mile when packaging and shipping their eJuice. From shrink-wrapping the neck of the bottle to vacuum sealing the entire bottle (The Plume Room), we never worry about the freshness of our order, or contamination from outside sources. Not only do these measures prevent contamination from outside sources like bacteria, but also from nefarious ne’er-do-wells bent on causing ‘problems’ to the vendor and customer. How many of you remember the red capsules of Tylenol that were poisoned back in 1981. That incident caused a revolution in safety packaging…
All these positive steps toward our safety as customers are paramount to anything else, but they do have just one small setback for Vapers; these safety measures also keep your eJuice as fresh as the morning dew. Which means that the trials and tribulations I mentioned above concerning your eJuice getting from point A (the creator) to point B (you and me) has a lesser effect on aging then it did in the ‘archaic unsafe times’. Still, it’s unanimous that safety comes first, and steeping isn’t a big deal anyway.
Ways To Steep – Keep It Simple
You can read dozens of ways to steep your eJuice that other Vapers have come up with, and that they swear by. Feel free to try them, feel free to invent your own. For the most part they all work to some degree or another, but they are also overly complicated and unnecessary.
Some of the ways to steep your eJuice that I have read on the Internet are so complicated that some newbie Vapers would no doubt soon tire of the whole thing and either stop steeping altogether or go back to cigarettes.
I’ve read about one process that takes 7 days to complete, with daily tasks that require several steps, and boiling water. Yet, at the end of the 7 days the quality of the eLiquid is going to be the same as the much easier method we use here at Spinfuel.
Why do some people always want to make things difficult?
I’m not a shrink, so I can’t answer that question with any sense of authority, but I can speculate by me having observed a whole lot of people in the vape community and by attending more than my fair share of vape-fests and other vape ‘get-togethers’. (I have always done so anonymously so I could observe without being noticed). I believe much of it is created by people who need to show newbies (people new to any hobby or activity) how difficult it is when it’s really not, or how important the ‘teacher’ is when all of this can be learned by seeking out honest, non-agenda Vapers without an ego.
Maybe these fancy ways to steep eJuice is just plain fun to invent… creating new ways to get to the same destination isn’t confined to the vape community.
New Vapers…. Same Questions…Forever
Did you know that according to the US Census Records that more than 125,000 people turn 21 years old each and every day… in the United States alone?
According to the CDC 11 kids under the age of 18 try their first cigarette, each day. More than 54,000 people attempt to quit smoking each day in the United States.
Is it really such a leap to estimate that as many as 10,000 to 20,000 people, each day, take up e-Cigarettes?
Thousands of Vapers, each and every day, learn a new word, and that word is “steeping”. Is it any wonder that there is so much confusion about a simple topic?
At least a couple of times a day we receive email from new Vapers asking us about steeping. We have, so far, taken a few minutes to reply to them with a much shorter version of this article. Hopefully, now that we put down everything they need to know about steeping this article will become the ‘go-to’ source for the constant flow of new Vapers looking for the answer.
Keep in mind that every bottle of eJuice contains the same basic ingredients. PG and VG, nicotine and flavoring. Sure some contain distilled water, alcohol, and sweeteners, but for all intents and purposes, all eJuice is made of the same “basic” ingredients. That being the case, the easiest method to steep eJuice will naturally work for all types and categories of eJuice. There is no sound reason for developing dozens of steps, all of which achieve the same result… aging eJuice.
Tom McBride, with a special appearance by John Manzione
* burning-sensation – Have you ever vaped immediately after eating something that gives your mouth a workout? Something like a bowl of Captain Crunch, or a crusty crust pizza, or anything else that will crunch in some fashion, will cause your mouth to react to the ingredients in eJuice. It could be the nicotine, the PG, or even the alcohol used in some eJuice. What you feel when you vape immediately after chowing down on a crunchy meal is what I call the ‘burning sensation’.
*junk juice – a term used to describe e-liquid made with the least expensive, non-certified ingredients that can be legally purchased through various crappy vendors.
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