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Hot Pepper Heat Index

The Hot Pepper Heat Index provides a range of "hotness" for some of the more popular peppers.

The actual hotness of any particular pepper depends on many different factors such as location, the amount of water, etc. The Scoville scale (named after Wilbur Scoville, its creator) measures the hotness of a chili pepper, as defined by the amount of capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin is the stuff that makes a pepper hot. The number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amount of capsaicin present.

The Scoville method takes a solution of the pepper extract and dilutes it in sugar syrup until the "heat" is no longer detectable to a panel of (usually five) taste testers. The degree of dilution equates to a measure on the Scoville scale.

For example, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (world's hottest pepper) has a SHU of 2,009,231. This means the pepper extract has to be diluted a little over 2,000,000 times before the capsaicin is not detectable.

Hot Pepper Heat Index

Measurements in Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

Carolina Reaper 1,570,000  -  2,200,000
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion 1,200,000  -  2,009,231
Naga Jolokia Pepper (a.k.a. Ghost Pepper) 800,000  -  1,041,000
Red Savina Habanero Pepper  350,000  -  575,000
Scotch Bonnet Pepper  150,000  -  325,000
Orange Habanero Pepper  150,000  -  325,000
Fatalii Pepper 125,000   325,000
Datil Pepper  100,000  -  300,000
Thai Pepper  50,000  -  100,000
Cayenne Pepper  30,000  -  50,000
Tabasco Pepper  30,000  -  50,000
Serrano Pepper  8,000  -  22,000
Chipotle Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper  3,000  -  8,000
Ancho Pepper, Pablano Pepper  1,000  -  2,000
Pimento Pepper  0  -  0
Sweet Bell Pepper  0  -  0

Common grade pepper spray is similar to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and about twice as hot as the Naga Jolokia (a.k.a. Ghost Pepper) at approximately 2,000,000 Scoville Units. 

Police quality pepper spray is over 5,000,000 Scoville Heat Units.

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