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Scoville scale

The Scoville scale is a measure of the hotness of a chilli pepper. These particular fruits contain capsaicin, a chemical compound which stimulates heat-receptor[?] nerve endings[?], and the number of Scoville units indicates the amount of capsaicin present.

It is named after Wilbur Scoville[?], who developed the system in 1912. As originally devised, a solution of the pepper extract is diluted in sugar water until the 'heat' is no longer detectable to a taster; the degree of dilution gives its measure on the Scoville scale. Thus a sweet pepper, that contains no capsaicin at all, has a Scoville rating of zero (no heat detectable even undiluted); whereas the hottest peppers of all, such as habaneros have a rating of 300,000 or more, indicating that their extract has to be diluted 300,000-fold before the capsaicin present is undetectable.

Later developments such as high pressure liquid chromatography have now enabled the Scoville rating to be determined by direct measurement of capsaicin rather than sensory methods.

List of Scoville ratings

N.B. Scoville ratings may vary considerably within a species—easily by a factor of 10 or more—depending on seed lineage, climate and even soil. This is especially true of Habanero peppers.

16,000,000
Pure capsaicin
5,300,000
Police grade pepper spray
2,000,000
Common pepper spray
350,000 - 580,000
Red Savina Habanero (Guinness Book of Records)
100,000 - 350,000
Habanero
100,000 - 325,000
Scotch Bonnet
100,000 - 225,000
Birds Eye pepper[?]
100,000 - 200,000
Jamaican Hot pepper[?]
100,000 - 125,000
Carolina Cayenne pepper[?]
80,000
Dave's Insanity sauce[?]
95,000 - 110,000
Bahamian pepper[?]
85,000 - 115,000
Tabiche pepper[?]
50,000 - 100,000
Thai pepper[?]
50,000 - 100,000
Chiltepin pepper[?]
40,000 - 58,000
Piquin pepper[?]
40,000 - 50,000
Super Chile pepper[?]
40,000 - 50,000
Santaka pepper[?]
30,000 - 50,000
Cayenne pepper
30,000 - 50,000
Tabasco pepper[?]
15,000 - 30,000
de Arbol pepper[?]
12,000 - 30,000
Manzano pepper[?]
7,000 - 8,000
Tabasco Habanero sauce[?]
5,000 - 23,000
Serrano pepper[?]
5,000 - 10,000
Hot Wax pepper[?]
5,000 - 10,000
Chipotle pepper[?]
2,500 - 8,000
Jalapeno pepper[?]
2,500 - 8,000
Santaka pepper[?]
2,500 - 5,000
Guajilla pepper[?]
2,500 - 5,000
Tabasco sauce
1,500 - 2,500
Tabasco Chipotle Pepper sauce[?]
1,200 - 1,800
Tabasco Garlic sauce[?]
1,500 - 2,500
Rocotilla pepper[?]
1,000 - 2,000
Passila pepper[?]
1,000 - 2,000
Ancho pepper[?]
1,000 - 2,000
Poblano pepper[?]
700 - 1,000
Coronado pepper[?]
600 - 1,200
Tabasco Green Pepper sauce[?]
500 - 2,500
Anaheim pepper[?]
500 - 1,000
New Mexico pepper[?]
500 - 700
Santa Fe Grande pepper[?]
100 - 500
Pepperoncini pepper[?]
100 - 500
Pimento[?]
0
Sweet Bell pepper[?]

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