​The (Real) Science of Steeping

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Here at AES, science is one of the things that floats our boat. We've seen a lot of chatter about steeping eliquids, what it is, how you should do it, where, when, you know, all the science type stuff we have people who earned degrees working for us to answer. So, the natural conclusion for us was, "what does our Lab Team have to say about this?" We asked, they delivered. No big surprise, they always do...

Often times we hear of vapers “steeping” their eliquids by placing them out of sight, out of mind and uncovered for long periods of time. The belief being that this will make for a stronger and more flavorful vape. What is happening when you steep your juice? Why does it impart a stronger taste? How are you supposed to steep eliquid?

To answer these questions we must look to the ingredients of the juices. There are three components to a liquid: flavoring, propylene glycol (PG), and vegetable glycerin (VG). The natural and artificial flavoring often require small amounts of water or other neutral filler to complete the flavor profile. Once the flavoring component has been blended with PG, VG or a mix thereof the water/fillers are no longer necessary for preserving the taste of an eliquid.

When one chooses to steep their juice the water and alcohol evaporate relatively quickly,leaving what could be described as a more potent flavor. During this time the components of the juice will blend together; additionally any added nicotine will begin to oxidize. Think of it like a pot of your favorite chili. As time goes by, time sitting in the fridge gives all the flavonoids that make up the flavors time to blend together and wrap around each other like you and, well, a bowl of chili. 

The oxidization is not a critical factor when comparing flavorings. Nicotine, oxidized or otherwise, will change the color of the liquid but not affect its taste. Ever wonder why some bottles of the same juice are darker or lighter? One of the common factors for this phenomenon depends on when the nicotine began to oxidize or become exposed to ultra violet lighting.

There are some common ways by which vapers choose to steep their liquids. The first and most prevalent is by storing the bottle in a temperate, dark location for any number of days or weeks without its cap on. This is the method by which the evaporation occurs. Another is a hot water bath while the bottle is fully sealed. The amount of time of bottle sits in a hot bath should remain brief as a vaper does not want to introduce excess water into the bottle. Hot baths are a quick way to mimic the steeping process as it aids the bottle’s contents to become well blended.

The actual bottle containing the liquid also plays a role. Some bottles are far more permeable, and therefore more conducive to steeping, than others. Unfortunately there are far too many types of bottles on the market to accurately list which offer the best steeping potential. If a vaper believes a bottle is not prime for steeping the cap and/or tip can be removed to allow airflow throughout the bottle while it remains in storage.

Steeping is an excellent way to expand the potential of any flavored eliquid. It allows for the mixes to blend as well as ingredients which are no longer necessary to evaporate. This shows the vaper a whole new dimension to their eliquid experience. With the proper techniques a liquid can be steeped into a richer, more flavorful vape.

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