Measuring Chile Pepper Heat—Scoville Chart
The Scoville Chart measures the heat potency of a chile pepper by assessing the ratio of sugar water to pepper mass to neutralize the heat. What that boils down to is a numbering system that starts at 0 and goes on indefinitely—the higher the number, the hotter the chile.
Who developed the Scoville Chart?
The Scoville Chart for hot chile peppers is named after Wilbur L. Scoville. Scoville was a pharmacist in the early 20th century who created the fist method for measuring the hotness of a chile. After discovering that no chemical was sensitive enough to detect trace levels of capsaicin, Scoville decided that the human tongue had the sensitivity he needed to accurately determine the heat level of a chile.
How were pepper ratings determined for the Scoville Chart?
Using a panel of several people to conduct his tests, Scoville averaged the amount of sugar water to pepper mass it took to neutralize the heat of the chile pepper for each person. While this was a time consuming process, Scoville was able to come up with a scale for measuring the potency of a chile pepper.
Is there an easy way to understand the Scoville Chart?
While the Scoville chart is well known and readily utilized in the chile industry, it can be difficult to assess the heat of a chile if you do not regularly deal in chiles. To simplify the Scoville chart for hot chile peppers, The Chile Guy has developed his own numbered scale to rate the heat of chiles. The scale ranges from 0-10 to make it easier for individuals to gauge the relative heat of a chile. Below is a chart that shows how The Chile Guy’s ratings compare to the Scoville scale.
Editble Chiles on the Scoville scale (Source: Wikipedia)
|Scoville rating||Type of pepper|
|100,000–350,000||Guntur Chilli, Habanero chili, Scotch Bonnet Pepper, Datil pepper, Rocoto, African Birdseye, Madame Jeanette, Jamaican Hot Pepper|
|50,000–100,000||Bird’s eye chili/Thai Pepper/Indian Pepper, Malagueta Pepper, Chiltepin Pepper, Pequin Pepper|
|30,000–50,000||Cayenne Pepper, Ají pepper, Tabasco pepper, Cumari pepper (Capsicum Chinese)|
|2,500–8,000||Jalapeño Pepper, Guajillo pepper, New Mexican varieties of Anaheim pepper, Paprika|
|500–2,500||Anaheim pepper, Poblano Pepper, Rocotillo Pepper, Peppadew|
|0||No significant heat, Bell pepper|
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