The Steep: the secret of a good successful DIY

“Too steep ” means to macerate or infuse. In practice, it is used in the world of vaping to designate a method which consists in enhancing or accentuating the flavours of e-liquids and is generally designed in an artisanal way. In reality, it is the followers of DIY or Does It Yourself  (do it yourself) who resort to this operation. In this euphoric experiment in chemistry, the goal is simple: make your e-liquid and let it macerate for a long time to be able to savour it when the maturation is complete.

Note that Steeping is different from Breathing and should not be confused at risk to be misled. These two operations are distinct from each other, some vapers carry out  breathing which is the fact of evaporating the smell of your e-liquid. Consisting of very  volatile molecules, liquids can directly lose their flavor following this process. This is rather inadvisable, therefore.

This refining, however, requires precise manipulations and a duration that must be respected in order to obtain a good result. There are thus various steeping methods, although the subject in question is classified as a DIY. One distinguishes for example that of the oxidation of the liquid, the maturation by effect of light and that which is conditioned by the intermediary of an optimal heat. These different processes thus require a basic knowledge of the elements that make up the e-liquid.

The composition of e-liquids

It is in the electronic cigarette cartridges that the e-liquids are integrated. Depending on the brands and ranges present on the vape market, there are many varieties. Regardless of their flavours, they are all made up of common components.

1- Propylene Glycol also called PG is the main ingredient of e-liquid. It is he who, by  heating thanks to the resistance and the battery of the e-cig, gives the smoke or the vapor when one  inhales . However, some e-liquids do not contain it.

2- Vegetable glycerin or GV is a liquid of viscous consistency which is part of the composition of the e-liquid. Of plant origin, it allows you to obtain a very thick and dense smoke when you vape. Most of the time, it is less than or equal to the Propylene Glycol content because its viscosity accentuates the fouling of the electronic cigarette.

3- Water and alcohol are the thinners of the liquid dedicated to the e-cig. Alcohol in particular plays an important role in the maturation of DIYs with high amounts of VG. Although their rate is rather small and very rarely exceeds 2% of the composition of the e-liquid. Beyond that, it stings!

4- Nicotine: it is either non-existent or present in e-liquids from 6mg/ml to 19.6mg/ml. If an individual chooses to quit smoking and opts for the electronic cigarette as a means of withdrawal, the level of nicotine will have to be measured according to its subsequent consumption. It is important to note here that nicotine is reluctant when it comes to steeping by settling or vibration.

5- The aromas are varied and it is up to each person to choose the flavor they wish to obtain. A whole palette of flavors is available to satisfy the taste buds of vapers. They are developed from culinary inspirations, confectionery, fruits, drinks of all kinds, vegetables and even the taste of tobacco. For flavour lovers, a good steep can accentuate the effects of aromas.

Representing a strategy to quit smoking, the quality of an e-liquid is very important. This is why steeping is necessary. When your e-juice has lost its smell or it seems to alter another, it allows you to concentrate the special flavors according to the technique you use (heat, stirring, etc.). The use of steeping mainly concerns strong liquids: composed exclusively of VG and alcohol, for solutions with gourmet flavors and tobacco liquids, for example.

Why is the steep important?

The main objective of a homemade is the search for a personalized taste. Just like wine, if you want your liquid to mature, it needs to be rested and conditioned for a long time. The techniques are different, for the steep the time is only one of the many alternatives, but the principle is the same.

The question that arises is: why does the liquid have to be mature?

Exceptionally, there are vapers who don’t care about steeping for simple reasons. Some need to do their DIY only for steam needs. You can sometimes create an e-liquid with just a base of 10 or 20 per cent propylene glycol with a maximum of more or less nicotine vegetable glycerin. No need for anything else, just for the vape and the big cloud! Others don’t use steeping techniques for reasons of taste! Knowing that maturation aims above all to create a natural chemistry that concentrates the ingredients, which is not at all synonymous with the success or failure of a DIY. It depends on the choice of the vaper.

Now let’s look at the virtues of steeping . Making your liquid is a bit like witchcraft, like preparing an elixir of youth, for example. You have to prepare meticulously, know how to dose the ingredients with great precision and respect its packaging so that the solution does not become a poison otherwise. The word may be a bit exaggerated but this comparison highlights a good number of vapers, who complain that they have not managed to transcribe the sensation and taste they were looking for due to poor maturation.

If we understand that steeping is important and that respecting the duration is essential, we are not necessarily endowed with the same patience. By dint of believing that you have to compare yourself to a winegrower to be able to taste your potion, vapers have not twiddled their thumbs to look for an alternative to this expectation. Systems then arose from thinking heads to shorten the steep time.

The most used techniques are mechanical. Some have deduced that to accelerate the uniformization of the molecules of the liquid, it is necessary to give nature a helping hand. Thus, we find the processes of emulsions and vibration. The tiny particles that are not visible to the naked eye are removable thanks to uniform and repetitive micro-movements. The system consists in placing the vial in a vibrating machine or by shaking it strongly for several minutes and then letting it rest. Furthermore, there is no certainty about the chemical result of the liquid. It is simply an assumption which seems reasonable from the scientific point of view which one cannot verify with precision, and which does not guarantee the same effect as on the simple maturation.

Of course, for even more speed, we could combine these two techniques. Shaking or vibrating the vial in a bowl of hot water for an hour would theoretically double the maceration process.

The conservation of liquids concludes this article. The most insightful solution to steeping despite these different techniques remains the only rest in a healthy environment. Indeed, if the expected result of maturation is the fusion of elements, the speed of this is just as influential. We can thus face two different maturations. The same is true for decantation or “breathing”, which is another maturation technique by oxidation. But for those who choose to practice the direct rest of the liquid, be sure to choose a dry, dark place away from the heat by arming yourself with the right weapon: mainly patience!