Scoville Scale, the world’s hottest food scale

By May 22, 2017Food

Did you know that there is a spice scale? That’s right, it’s called Scoville Scale. And with it we will be able to know what the difference of spicy between a Spray of Pepper, and a chile habanero, for example. This scale measures the gradation of spicy from small to large. Exactly, there are several levels of spice in foods, and you will freak out when you see the brutal difference between some of them.


If you are one of those who like the spice you surely already know what I’m talking about. There are foods that itch a little, and others that make you spit fire by the mouth like a dragon, make you red and make you tear.

But perhaps you did not know this scale that assigns a numerical value to the level of spice of each food and ingredients that we are going to see.

If you want to know how spicy a meal has, be aware!


How to measure the spicy with the Scoville Scale.

The scale that measures how spicy the foods are is called Scoville Scale. Name that comes from its author, Wilbur Scoville. Mr. Scoville wanted to do the following experiment: To dilute chili extract in sugar water until it reaches the point where the spice is not noticed when it was tested. He then performed this test with several types of chili, peppers, food and ingredients,and pointing out the degree of dissolution necessary for each one. That point of dissolution gives the degree of spicy on the scale. Interesting, right? He called this method “Scoville Organoleptic Exam”.

Here is the list of the most spicy foods in the world:


Picante-escala scoville


In this way the more capsaicin a food has, the more degrees of spice it has. For example, a normal green pepper has a zero degree, because it does not contain capsaicin. But a habanero chile, which contains a lot more capsaicin, reaches a degree of more than 300,000 on the Scoville Scale. It had to be diluted many times until the spice was not detectable.

Now, we must also take into account the human factor, since there are people who do not react in the same way to certain foods, so the test of degree of spicy food is perform now in laboratories. Being thus much more reliable.

Here is the degree of spice in tabasco:




How is spicy measured on the Scoville Scale?

The Scoville scale starts from ‘0’, which is the lowest level of spicy. Pure capsaicin, on the other hand, reaches the highest level of spice, with a grade of 15,000,000 on the Scoville scale. To give you an idea, the chile habanero is around 300,000, and the Cayenne, around 50,000. The difference is huge as you can see.

Spicy is a whole world, and has a fundamental role in food and recipes.In Can Burrito we are great lovers of spicy and we cook the Mexican food making use of those typical spicy sauces that make you come back to life.

Internet has awakened a real craze for spicy and there are some famous challenges, Like the challenge of the habanero chile, to see who endures to eat a whole habanero chile before the camera. I leave you a video:



The weak point of the Scoville Scale test

I commented before that this method may be unreliable, sometimes. The clearest example is that of Padron peppers some are hot and others do not! These can have different degrees of spice, depending on the type, crop, climate, and species.


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