The Scoville Scale is a system used to rate the heat level produced by capsaicin in chili peppers. The scale was invented by Wilbur Scoville, an American pharmacist, in 1912. Although the original scale used actual people to test the heat of peppers, today testing is performed via highly accurate liquid chromatography.
Capsaicin, the compound which gives chili peppers their heat, is an irritant that causes a hot burning sensation on the skin and taste buds. Capsaicin can be found in plants belonging to the genus Capsicum, to which chili peppers belong. The level of capsaicin varies greatly from species to species and is sometimes undetectable to the human tongue.
The Scoville scale ranges from zero to approximately 1.5 million for peppers, and well beyond for synthetic chemicals. The Scoville rating may vary within pepper species, so the rating is generally provided in a range format. Below you will find a table of the most common chili peppers and hot sauces, and their rating on the Scoville scale. Use the scale to determine the spiciness of your favorite foods and peppers!
The Scoville Scale
|Food Item||Scoville Rating|
|Sweet Bell Peppers||0|
|Frank's RedHot Sauce||450|
|Tabasco Original Hot Sauce||2500-5000|
|Bird's Eye Peppers||100,000-225,000|
|Scotch Bonnet Peppers||100,000-325,000|