Re:[CH] O.K., Once and For All, What is the Hottest Pepper?

Senor Chile Monger (
Fri, 27 Mar 1998 07:04:07 -0800


The Guiness Book record is held by a Red Savina Habanero (capsicum
chinense) grown in Oxnard, California registering 577,000 Scoville Heat
Units measured using high pressure liquid chromography.  

Heat is a subjective thing, though.  Capsaicin is made up of seven
alkaloids that come in varying amounts in different varieties of chiles.
How a person is wired up determines how one reacts to the different
alkaloid combinations hence the different perceptions of heat.  For me
Habaneros come on slowly, rolling up from the back of my throat and
settling around the eustachian tubes, a sensation I find quite pleasant.
Jalapenos, Serranos (capsicum annum) to me have a peppery, up at the front
of my mouth heat that disapates quickly.  Some people claim the Rocoto is
the hottest, though is only rates around 50,000 Scovilles using HPLC,
however its alkaloid profile is quite unique.

Also, if you grow your own, you will know that two peppers from the same
branch on the same plant can have radically different heat levels; climate,
growing conditions, soil content all contribute to heat and flavor.

Have fun making your own determinations.


* For the sake of tolerance do we tolerate the intolerable? *