The Scoville Scale

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The spiciness of a pepper or of a dish with peppers is indicated by the so called Scoville Scale. This scale measures the concentration of capsaicin, the component that causes the heat.

This scale is developed by William Scoville in 1912, an American pharmacist.

The method

The former Scoville organoleptic test worked as follows: capscaicin was derived from dried peppers. That was diluted with sugarwater untill a professional panel of tasters no longer could detect the heat. The dilution necessary to get to that point, determined the value on that scale.

Ofcourse this method was quite subjective. That’s why in the 80ies of last century an objective method was developed by using chromatography (HPLC). This method measures the concentration of capsainoids. The results are converted to Scoville Heat Units (multiply the ppm by 16).


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