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THE SCOVILLE HEAT SCALE - CHILLI PEPPER LIST

American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville created a test in 1912 to measure the heat of a chilli pepper known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test.

The Scoville scale measures the level of capsaicin concentration in a chilli, capsaicin is the chemical that gives chilli its heat, the more capsaicin there is the hotter the chilli. Contrary to popular belief, the heat of the chilli is in the internal membrane of the chilli, the seeds do not contain any capsaicin.

THE SHU

The unit of measure for the Scoville scale is the Scoville Heat Unit or commonly referred to as the SHU. When the tests were devised chillies were relatively tame so something like a jalapeño which measures up to 10,000 SHUs and the tabasco pepper which is anywhere up to 50,000 SHU would have been maxing out the scale!

But in today's terms these measures are almost considered negligible with peppers like the Trinidad 7 Pot hitting 1 million SHUs and the former World Record Holder, Australia's Own Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T" tapping out at just under 1.5 million SHUs.

In August 2023 a new Guinness World Record holder was crowned, Pepper X measured in at AVERAGE of 2.693 Million SHUs, grown in the USA by Smokin' Ed Currie from the Puckerbutt Pepper Company, surpassing his last Guinness World Record in 2013 for the Carolina Reaper which came in at 2.2 Million SHUs on the Scoville scale.

For a short time it looked like UK grown Dragon's Breath was going to take the crown measuring at 2.48M SHUs but it was never officially recognised and in the meantime Pepper X has come through and won the day. 

Scoville Heat Scale and Chilli List

Get your own scoville scale poster

Want to discover even more?

If you want to discover more about these chillies then get into the ChilliBOM blog with specific articles featuring:

 

Infographic Text Version

  SHUs Chilli Peppers
Mild

0-10,000

bell pepper
italian sweet pepper
pimento
paprika
banana pepper
poblano
espellette

Medium

10,000 to 50,000

jalapeño
fresno
peter pepper
serrano pepper

Hot

50,000 to 100,000

bolivian rainbow
manzano
aji
cayenne
tabasco
piri piri
pequin
thai dragon
diablo grande
bird's eye

Extra Hot

100,000 to 580,000

fatalii
scotch bonnet
red savina habanero
chocolate habanero
devil's tongue
tigerpaw 

 

580,000 to 2,000,000

trinidad scorpion
trinidad 7 pot
bhut jolokia (ghost pepper)
7 pot inifinity
naga viper
"Butch T" scorpion
moruga scorpion

Guinness World Record Holder 2013 to 2023

2,200,000
(2.2 million)

smokin' ed's carolina reaper 
 

2,480,000

dragon's breath
Guinness World Record Holder since 2023

2,693,000
(2.6 million)

pepper X
 

5,300,000

police grade pepper spray
 

16,000,000

pure capsaicin
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