Scoville Scale

An Introduction to the Scoville World

Since 1912, the Scoville scale used by Wilbur Scoville has been used to measure the heat of chilies and chili products. The measured value represents the amount of the capsaicin, the heat molecule, present in the product.

  • Here you can inform yourself about Capsaicin
  • Here find you the Scoville-scale

The hottest Products im Pepperworld Hot Shop:

The following 5 products are all extremely hot and probably the right thing if you are looking for the Scoville Extreme adventure:

  1. The Six Reaper Riders Organic Plants-Power-Pack 
  2. Vicious Vampire X-Treme Hot Sauce
  3. FeuerStreuer Habanero Extreme
  4. Bird Eye Chilli, dried - FeuerStreuer Pur
  5. Pepperworld Naga/Bhut Jolokia Puree


General information about the Capsaicin

Capsaicin is an alkaloid from plants of the genus Capsicum (paprika), a subspecies of the Solanaceae (nightshade family).
The substances causing the sensation of burning are called capsaicinoids. They are colorless and cannot be decomposed by boiling or freezing. Capsaicin is a vanillylamide of 8-methylnon-6-enoic acid (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzylamine).

The formula for Capsaicin is: C18H27NO3.

Properties of Capsaicin

Capsaicinoids dissolve in fatty and alcoholic liquids, but not in water. They are fungicidal and antibacterial, which is why they have a preservative effect.
This substance activates the corresponding taste buds and a slight pain impulse is also sent to the brain, which now increasingly produces endorphins (the body's own messenger substances with opiate-like effects). It is suspected that a mild addiction to spicy foods is created in this way.

Effect of the Capsaicin

Capsaicinoids irritate the nerve endings of nociceptors that recognize heat stimulation. By acting on these receptors, it causes a heat or pungency irritation. The organism counteracts this usually painful (but only supposed) heating by increasing the blood flow to the cell tissue by dissipating heat. This process is the cause of local redness, as would be the case with a mild burn. This is why the term "burning" is derived. The substance menthol, which is often contained in cough drops, has the opposite effect. Here it comes to a supposed cooling.

A peculiarity is that capsaicinoids are only pungent for mammals (including humans), but not for birds, whose nerve cells have a slightly different structure. Herein lies the sense of the substances for plants: By scaring off mammals, their fruits are more likely to be eaten by birds. The advantage of this is that birds on average travel longer distances than mammals and can therefore spread the seeds of the plant more effectively.

When capsaicin is consumed regularly, desensitization can be achieved, i.e. the body gets used to the active substance. However, too large an amount of capsaicin can lead to overstimulation and thus to the death of the corresponding nerves.

Use of the Capsaicin

If capsaicinoids come into contact with the skin, caution is required. Of course, this happens most frequently when processing chilies. In severe cases it may cause burns on the skin. It is then very important not to touch any mucous membranes (e.g. eyes, nose etc.) with your hands. It is therefore advisable to wear gloves in order to exclude contact in advance. If you have forgotten this precaution, it helps to grease your hands (e.g. with vegetable oil or similar) and then wash them thoroughly with soap.
You should also not underestimate the effect of chilli powder. When grinding chillies or using chilli powder, it is easy to inhale the powder. Particularly with very sharp sorts (like Red Savina) one advises here beside the gloves to a mouth guard with the processing. You should also avoid inhaling the water vapour when washing out the containers used for the powder with hot water. In extreme cases, breathing difficulties may occur here.
If you have eaten spicy food and the burning sensation in the mouth becomes unbearable, water or other water-based drinks will not relieve the pain. Oil-based substances of milk such as yoghurt, milk and cheese are more appropriate in this case. It was also found that a 10% sugar solution is just as helpful as milk. Because sugar or vegetable juices also reduce the sharpness. A burning sensation on the skin surface can be soothed or even stopped by rubbing alcohol into the skin. If sensitive parts of the body (genitals, eyes) are affected, cooking oil, milk or curd cheese will help.

Others use of the Capsaicin

Capsaicin is used for the medical treatment of pain. There are so-called heat plasters and ointments that are applied to the painful areas of the body to generate heat and thus promote blood circulation.
A variety of capsaicin is also found in pepper sprays, where the irritant is used as a "weapon" in self-defence against animals and humans. The medical mechanism of action is based on the stimulation of chemonocceptors (pain-sensing cells) in afferent nerve cells. The release of a neurotransmitter (substance-P) leads acutely to a membrane depolarization and thus to a pain reaction. Many will have experienced this themselves. If you process chilies and do not protect your hands, a painful burning sensation often occurs. Even after the first burning has subsided, it will return for a long time if pressure is applied to the affected areas.
Exactly this pain reaction, which, as already mentioned, continues for a long time after pressure is applied to the affected area, is sometimes used negatively. As one could also hear and see frequently in the media, it is used in equestrian sports as doping. The legs'horses are rubbed with a capsaicin ointment. If they then touch the obstacle when jumping, this is very painful. This is a questionable way to get the animals to jump even higher


The Scoville scale

1 liter of capsaicin in 20 indoor pool fillings

Pure capsaicin has the Scoville value of approx. 15,000,000. The Scoville value of a product is measured as the dilution factor with water in order to feel no more sharpness. For example, pure capsaicin, means that for one liter of Capsaicin 15,000,000 liters of water are needed for dilution so that it does not burn at all. This corresponds approximately to the amount of water, which is in 20 average indoor swimming pools :-)

Before 1912, the sharpness could only be assessed subjectively by test persons and comparative tastings. Scoville and the Pepperworld Hot Shop With us you get Chili products from very light to very hot. And when we say "very hot", then we also mean "very hot"!

For Scoville beginners, a few information to the Scoville scale.

Our Scoville scale: 1 to 10 Just as "loud" or "bright", "sharp" is a highly subjective sensation that also depends on personal tolerance and getting used to the heat.

As a guideline for the Scoville scale, we use a kind of "Richter scale" of 1-10. The values are based, if available, on the laboratory-measured chilli heat values or on the ratng by experienced test persons. See also Pepperworld Heat-o-meter .


  • "Mild bis medium" (1-3): Also suitable for beginners. Pure aroma, little sharpness. On the Scoville scale, this is about 0-1,500 SHU (Scoville HEat Units). 
  • "Medium to hot" or "Even hotter" (4-5): If Tabasco® is not too sharp, it does not get very hot. On the Scoville scale, this is about 1,500-5,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).  
  • "Very Hot" or "Extra hot" (6-8): For all those who like it really spicy and order in Indian or Thai restaurants "extra hot". Smoking Throat guaranteed! On the Scoville scale, this is about 5,000-30,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
  • "Fire" (9-10): Only for hardcore chilli ans. If you try out products of this category for the first time, it's like  a lightning bolt. Bungee jumping for the mouth! Here, the Scoville scale shows, depending on personal sensitivity, min. 30,000 and up to 50,000 SHU.

Important For easier orientation in the shop, we have created a filter on the links. Withi this filter, can you easy choose, if you want mild, medium or hot.

But hotness aside: All hot sauces offered here have their own interesting flavor. The art of seasoning is to find the optimal balance between taste and fire. This also means that one does not have to use the hottest things to make every meal a fiery test. Especially if you have guests and you want to introduce them to chili, you should be more cautious and preferably put a good Hot Sauce or an FeuerStreuer® for personal after seasoning o the table!

We also strongly advise against the use of superhot sauces in concentrated form in order to "surprise" your friends - something like this is certainly annoying. Likewise, the very sharp things do not belong in children's hands or mouths.

Safety instructions for very sharp products:

- Use very little and only diluted.

- Avoid skin and eye contact.

- Particularly contact lens carriers should handle very sharp chilies and chili products best with gloves (latex or diesel gloves from the gas station).

- Keep away from children.