How Hot is My Chilli ?

Just out of interest, and because I tend to forget the finer points of chilli talk when I need them to discuss them with friends (usually over a few beers the talk eventually leads to food, and then to chilli) I have placed the handy heat reference to help right here.

The 'heat' of a chilli is traditionally measured by the amount of capsaicin it contains. Obviously the 'heat' perception will vary from person to person as people have a differing density of taste buds, and therefore nerves to send the heat messages to the brain. Also regular chilli eaters are somewhat acclimatised to these fiery signals.

This 'heat' rating is measured in Scoville Heat Units or SHU. This is indicated on the Scoville scale (After its inventor, Wilbur Scoville), see below.

Scoville scale ( from Wikipedia )

Scoville ratingType of pepper
8,600,000–9,100,000homocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin
5,000,000–5,300,000Pepper Spray ( Law Enforcement Grade )
855,000–1,050,000Bhut / Naga Jolokia
350,000–580,000Red Savina Habanero
100,000–350,000Habanero chili, Scotch Bonnet Pepper, Datil pepper, Rocoto, African Birdseye, Madame Jeanette
50,000–100,000Thai Pepper, Malagueta Pepper, Chiltepin Pepper, Pequin Pepper
30,000–50,000Cayenne Pepper, Ají pepper, Tabasco pepper, stronger Chipotle peppers, Cumari pepper
10,000–23,000Serrano Pepper, weaker Chipotle peppers
2,500–8,000Jalapeño , Guajillo, Anaheim pepper, Paprika
500–2,500Poblano Pepper, Rocotillo Pepper
100–500Pimento, Pepperoncini
0Bell pepper

The Chilli Seed Bank

If you are interested in obtaining hard to get varieties, including the worlds hottest, you can order seeds ( or other quality chilli products ) from the Chilli Seed Bank. They have easy ordering with various payment options for both Australian and international customers!


Keep an eye out for this site opening soon hailed as being 'the ultimate chilli resource' should be more good news for chilliheads everywhere.


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