What is the Scoville Scale?

Chili peppers in a supermarket

The peppers known as chili peppers, chillies or chili peppers have one characteristic in common: At the first bite, you immediately notice that particular itch which can be more or less intense depending on the variety of food we are eating.

Well, to find out how hot each pepper is, the Scoville Organoleptic Exam was developed in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville. Today it is the most popular tool that allows us to know how edible these particular vegetables are.

As we know, when we put a chili in our mouth, depending on how sensitive we are, we will be forced to drink a drink of water or milk to calm that unpleasant sensation. But why? The answer is in the capsaicin, which is a chemical component that many of the plants of the genus Capsicum have. When we chew it, capsaicin stimulates the thermal receptor in the skin, especially the mucous membranes, to the point that we can end up sweating and having a really bad time.

How was the Scoville Scale developed? In 1912 Mr. Wilbur Scoville gave a committee of examiners a solution with chili extract diluted in sugar water until it could no longer be detected.. The degree of dissolution of the extract gives its measure on the scale. Thus, for example, sweet chili, as it does not contain capsaicin, has zero on the scale; however, in habanero chile, it has a grade of 300.000. This indicates that the extract was diluted 300.000 times before capsaicin was undetectable.

Scoville scale

Still, it is still an imprecise scale, since the test is subject to human subjectivity. But it is a very interesting measure to have at least an idea of ​​how spicy a chilli is, don't you think?

Did you know about the Scoville Scale? If you have been wanting to know more, we recommend you read this article.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.

  1.   James said

    Thank you very much for the article, very well explained but without going crazy with confusing explanations. The only thing I miss, would be to clarify that currently other more precise (and objective) tests are used than tasting when it comes to grading the hotness of a cayenne (although the name has been kept in honor of Scoville).

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Jacobo.

      Thank you very much. We're glad you liked it.

      Regarding what you say, we will take it into account, to see if we take out a new article or add that information to it.