Scoville heat scale
The Scoville scale is a measurement of the spicy heat (or piquance) of a chili pepper. The number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amount of capsaicin present. Capsaicin is the nerve stimulant that gives chillies their hot 'taste'. A chilli with an SCU of 200,000 indicates that its extract must be diluted over 200,000 times before the capsaicin presence is undetectable.
The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method was devised in 1912.
|Scoville heat units||Relative guide †||Examples|
|5,000,000–5,300,000 and above||n/a||Law enforcement grade spray, irritant ammunition|
|855,000–1,463,700||10++/10||Naga Viper pepper, Bhut Jolokia chili pepper|
|350,000–580,000||10/10||Red Savina habanero|
|100,000–350,000||8/10 to 9/10||Habanero chili, Scotch bonnet pepper|
|50,000–100,000||7/10||Bird's eye chili, Piri piri (African bird's eye), Pequin pepper|
|30,000–50,000||6/10||Cayenne pepper, Ají pepper, Cumari pepper (Capsicum Chinese), Chipotle|
|10,000–23,000||5/10||Serrano pepper, Aleppo pepper|
|3,500–8,000||4/10||Jalapeño pepper, Guajillo pepper, New Mexican varieties of Anaheim pepper, Tabasco sauce|
|1,000–2,500||3/10||Anaheim pepper, Poblano pepper, Peppadew|
|100–900||1/10 to 2/10||Banana pepper|
|0||0/10||No significant heat, Sweet pepper (Bell pepper)|
† relative guide
Please see the comments page regarding the figures used in this column.