The “Do It Yourself” Scoville Test

Disclaimer, this will not give you accurate Scoville Test Results (*loud gasp*)…but it will give you some results personalized for YOU!

I hereby present the “Personal Heat Unit (PHU) Test”.

What you will need:

  • Chillies you want to test
  • Water
  • Something to measure the chilli/water
  • Something to pour the chilli/water solution into

Start off by taking a small measurement of finely blended chilli or sauce you want to test, lets say a shot glass worth. Then add 9 shot glasses worth of water and mix together with the shot glass of chilli. This will give you a 1/10 dilution. At this stage, most chillies will be noticeable.

What you will need to do next is dilute this down further. To do this, take 1 shot glass worth of the first mixture, add it to a separate glass with 9 more shot glasses worth of water and mix together. This will give you a 1/100 dilution. Again, most chillies will be noticeable at this stage unless you are testing some very very weak spice peppers.

Take another 1 shot glass of the 1/100 dilution mix and again add it to a new glass with a further 9 shot glasses worth of water to give you a 1/1,000 dilution. This is where you probably won’t be able to taste some of the weak chillies/sauce and you will know that you have a chilli that is less than 1000 PHU.

If you repeat the same steps above (1 shot of the previous mix and 9 shots of water) you will get a 1/10,000 solution at which stage things like Jalapenos will start to become undetectable (depending on the strength of the pepper of course).

Another round of mixing and you’ll get a 1/100,000 solution where you’ll start to be unable to detect most commonly found chillies in your food.

You can repeat this a couple more times, giving you 1/1,000,000 and then 1/10,000,000 solutions respectively. At 1/1,000,000 pretty much all but the hottest peppers would become undetectable and by the time you reach 1/10,000,000 there shouldn’t really be any pepper that is detectable.

So what does this all mean? Well effectively the bottom number in the solution indicates the PHU of your chilli/sauce (an unofficial Scoville rating for yourself), so the 1/100,000 solution indicates a PHU of 100,000 or less. So if you are able to detect your pepper at the 1/10,000 solution but not at the 1/100,000 solution, your pepper is somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 PHU.

If you wanted to, you could look to narrow this down further, you just need to take the diluted solution you were last able to detect heat at, for example 1/10,000 and add less shots of water to the mix. So for the 10,000 to 100,000 range we showed an example of above, we could re-test the following:

1 shot of 1/10,000 + 1 shot of water = 1/20,000 solution or 20,000 PHU

1 shot of 1/10,000 + 2 shots of water = 1/30,000 solution or 30,000 PHU

1 shot of 1/10,000 + 3 shots of water = 1/40,000 solution or 40,000 PHU

1 shot of 1/10,000 + 4 shot of water = 1/50,000 solution or 50,000 PHU

1 shot of 1/10,000 + 5 shots of water = 1/60,000 solution or 60,000 PHU

1 shot of 1/10,000 + 6 shots of water = 1/70,000 solution or 70,000 PHU

1 shot of 1/10,000 + 7 shots of water = 1/80,000 solution or 80,000 PHU

1 shot of 1/10,000 + 8 shots of water = 1/90,000 solution or 90,000 PHU

So once you have found your next bracket, i.e. the solution you can still detect and the solution you can’t detect, you then know your slightly more accurate PHU, narrowing it down (in this example, from a 90,000 range difference to a 10,000 range difference.

You could if you wanted go even further, basically by repeating the above solutions but with your last detectable solution instead.

If you didn’t want to do the in depth testing, you could just rate your chillis based on the following scale:

0 – 10 PHU: Heat Level 0

10 – 100 PHU: Heat Level 1

100 – 1,000 PHU: Heat Level 2

1,000 – 10,000 PHU: Heat Level 3

10,000 – 100,000 PHU: Heat Level 4

100,000 – 1,000,000 PHU: Heat Level 5

1,000,000 – 10,000,000 PHU: Heat Level 6

Using this Heat Level scale makes it a bit easier if you plan on selling your chillies/sauces to others, as you can give a rating out of 6 as to how hot the sauce is.

Like I said at the start, this is not by any means an accurate way of performing a Scoville Test, but will give YOU a fairly good idea of how hot your sauce is for you.

Obviously there are several factors which may interfere with the results, but as a fun way of seeing how hot your peppers are, this is an ideal way of doing it at home for cheap.

I will try and make a video soon to demonstrate this process which might make it a bit clearer and easier to follow.

That’s all for now folks.

Keep it spicy!


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