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The Scoville Unit

The Scoville unit was named for Wilbur Scoville in 1912. At the time, he worked for a pharmaceutical company named Parke-Davis where he developed a test called the "Scoville Organoleptic Test" which is used to measure a chili pepper's heat.

Originally, Scoville ground up peppers and mixed them with sugar water, then test them with a panel of tasters who sipped from these sugar-water-pepper solutions. He would then dilute the solutions bit by bit until they no longer burned the tongues of the tasters, after which he would assign a number to the pepper based on the number of dilutions needed to kill the heat.

The measurements are divided into multiples of 100. Note that 1 part per 1,000,000 dilutions of water is rated at 1.5 Scoville Units. Pure capsaicin, the stuff that makes chili peppers hot, is rated between 15 - 16,000,000 Scoville units. This is incredibly HOT! See the chart below to compare several peppers on the range of the scale, and how they relate to pure capsaicin.

As noted in the FAQ section, several factors can affect the heat of a pepper, but they generally fall into the ranges listed below.

Today, testing chili pepper heat is not quite so subjective. It has been replaced by High Performance Liquid Chromatography, or HPLC, which measures the pepper's heat producing chemicals and rates them in ASTA pungency units.

Check out the chart below. Interesting note: The hottest pepper ever measured is the Naga Jolokia from Assam, India which yielded a Scoville score of 855,000. Amazing!

Scoville Units
Chile Pepper
Heat Range
Sweet Bell
0
Pimento
0
Cherry
00 ~ 500
Pepperoncini
100 ~ 500
El-Paso
500 ~ 700
Santa Fe Grande
500 ~ 750
Coronado
700 ~ 1,000
Espanola
1,000 ~ 2,000
Poblano
1,000 ~ 2,000
Ancho
1,000 ~ 2,000
Mulato
1,000 ~ 2,000
Pasilla
1,000 ~ 2,000
Anaheim
500 ~ 2,500
Sandia
500 ~ 2,500
NuMex Big Jim
500 ~ 2,500
Rocotillo
1,500 ~ 2,500
Pulla
700 ~ 3,000
Mirasol
2,500 ~ 5,000
Guajillo
2,500 ~ 5,000
Jalapeno (We LOVE YOU)
2,500 ~ 8,000
Chipotle
5,000 ~ 8,000
Hot Wax
5,000 ~ 10,000
Puya
5,000 ~ 10,000
Hidalgo
6,000 ~ 17,000
Serrano
8,000 ~ 22,000
Manzano
12,000 ~ 30,000
Shipkas
12,000 ~ 30,000
De Arbol
15,000 ~ 30,000
Jaloro
30,000 ~ 50,000
Aji
30,000 ~ 50,000
Tabasco
30,000 ~ 50,000
Cayenne
30,000 ~ 50,000
Santaka
40,000 ~ 50,000
Super Chile
40,000 ~ 50,000
Piquin
40,000 ~ 58,000
Yatsafusa
50,000 ~ 75,000
Haimen
70,000 ~ 80,000
Chiltecpin
60,000 ~ 85,000
Thai
50,000 ~ 100,000
Tabiche
85,000 ~ 115,000
Bahamian
95,000 ~ 110,000
Carolina Cayenne
100,000 ~ 125,000
Kumataka
125,000 ~ 150,000
Jamaican Hot
100,000 ~ 200,000
Birds Eye
100,000 ~ 225,000
Tepin (Wild)
100,000 ~ 265,000
Devil Toung
125,000 ~ 325,000
Fatalii
125,000 ~ 325,000
Orange Habanero
150,000 ~ 325,000
Scotch Bonnet
150,000 ~ 325,000
Choclate Habanero
300,000 ~ 425,000
Red Savina Habanero
350,000 ~ 575,000
Dorset Naga
800,000 ~ 900,000
Naga Jolokia
800,000 ~ 1,001,300
Standard Pepper Spray
2,000,000–5,300,000
Pure Capsaicin
15-16,000,000

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