Hottest Pepper in the World: Discover the Fiery Champion

The Scoville Scale measures chili pepper heat in SHU, based on capsaicin concentration, and was created by Wilbur Scoville in 1912.

Understanding the Scoville Scale

The Scoville Scale is a measure of the spicy heat (or piquance) of chili peppers, which is quantified by Scoville heat units (SHU) based on the concentration of capsaicinoids, among which capsaicin is the predominant component.

History of Heat Measurement

The Scoville Scale was created in 1912 by an American pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville.

His method, known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test, originally used human tasters to evaluate how many times a chili extract must be diluted in sugar water before it loses its heat.

This test has since evolved, but the Scoville Heat Unit remains the standard for measuring the heat of peppers.

Measuring Capsaicin Levels

Today, the concentration of capsaicinoids, mainly capsaicin, is measured using more precise methods such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).

This technique determines the exact quantity of capsaicinoids and converts the result into Scoville Heat Units.

For example, jalapeños rank lower on the scale, between 2,500 to 8,000 SHU, while the fiery habanero can boast a rating of up to 575,000 SHU, indicating a high capsaicin concentration and, therefore, a significant natural high for those who consume it.

Champions of Heat

A table displaying various peppers, with a spotlight on the "Champions of Heat" hottest pepper in the world.</p><p>Labels and signage emphasize its extreme spiciness

In the fiery world of chili peppers, the competition for the title of hottest continues as experts and enthusiasts keep a watchful eye on the latest developments.

Comparing Top Contenders

Until recently, the Carolina Reaper held the prestigious title of the world’s hottest pepper, a record documented by the Guinness World Records.

This formidable chili was bred by Ed Currie from the PuckerButt Pepper Company in South Carolina.

However, it has since been dethroned by the mysterious and extreme Pepper X.

This new champion, also developed by Ed Currie, brings an even more intense heat to the table, with Scoville ratings reaching staggering peaks over 3 million SHU.

Pepper Scoville Heat Units (SHU) Breeder
Pepper X Up to over 3,000,000 SHU Ed Currie
Carolina Reaper Up to 2,200,000 SHU Ed Currie
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Up to 2,009,231 SHU Various
7 Pot Douglah Up to 1,853,936 SHU Native to Trinidad

While Pepper X takes the lead, cultivars like the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and 7 Pot Douglah continue to be revered for their intense heat.

Behind the Hottest Pepper

Pepper X is not just a simple chili; it’s the result of careful crossbreeding and a deeply-rooted passion for hot peppers.

Created at Puckerbutt Pepper Company, this pepper remains somewhat enigmatic, as seeds are not yet available to the public.

Its originator, Ed Currie, has a partnership with Winthrop University in South Carolina, where extensive testing and refinement of these fiery hybrids occur.

The mission isn’t solely about heat; studies also focus on potential health benefits of capsaicinoids found in these chilies.

Whether it’s for the thrill of watching Sean Evans from Hot Ones interviewing celebrities while they taste test these power-packed peppers, or for aficionados developing a tolerance by indulging in hot sauces, peppers like Pepper X continue to intrigue and challenge the world of spicy foods.