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Juice Steeping vs. Juice Breathing

March 20, 2017
Sometimes, what you first taste isn’t exactly what you get—especially 
in terms of e-liquids. Like a fine wine, aging a particular flavor 
can cause it to transform. In regards to e-juice, that process 
can be called “steeping” or “breathing,” and you can use it any time 
the initial flavor test isn’t up to your standards. Both processes rely 
on time for all the ingredients and flavorings to properly homogenize 
in the bottle, but there are some important distinctions.
 
 
Steeping involves keeping your bottle tightly sealed and in a dark, 
cool place (i.e. in a cupboard or drawer) for extended periods of time, 
ranging from two weeks to two months. The steeping process allows 
all of the separate flavors and ingredients in the e-juice to settle 
and blend with each other. The idea is similar to combining a jar of 
red sand and a jar of blue sand: you would have to shake it until it was 
a consistent color throughout. Steeping is even simpler since it is a 
liquid—you really just set it and forget it. An optional step is to shake 
the bottle vigorously and place it back in the dark spot to steep.
 
 
Some people choose to “quick-steep” using heat, which is 
a controversial method. (It’s debatable whether it really works or not.) 
Quick-steeping is often performed by placing the e-juice bottles into 
a simmering pot of water for 15 minutes. While there is a proven physical 
change (the e-juice will get darker, because nicotine darkens as it oxidizes) 
it’s not clear how effective it is compared to general steeping. Either way, 
quick steeping has become a staple habit for many vapers.
 

Lastly, “breathing” e-liquid is when you leave the juice bottle 
open to purposely oxidize the nicotine. When nicotine oxidizes, 
it turns the e-juice a darker shade of tan or brown and gives it a far 
more muted flavor. While it sounds ridiculous to want less flavor, it’s 
incredibly helpful for juices that are too harsh (i.e. citrus flavors, poor 
nicotine quality or aromatic flavors). With e-liquids that seem almost 
noxiously perfume-y and stuffy, the best way to improve it is through 
breathing. This process is the exact same as steeping, but just take the 
cap off and limit yourself to a maximum of 24 hours at a time. Otherwise, 
you will end up over-oxidizing the nicotine and the juice will taste strange.

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Some e-liquids are perfect right off the bat; all of our e-liquids 
generally do not require any steeping time, as they’ve been pre-steeped 
either by our collaborators or in-house (for our own lines). Others might 
require a little work. Whether you choose to steep or breathe your e-liquid 
depends on the particular flavor and your personal taste. But once you’ve 
experimented with steeping and breathing and mastered the techniques, 
you’ll have two more tools to help create your ideal vaping experience.