What is the strongest pepper? The most spicy? The Strongest?
What is the strongest pepper? The most spicy? The Strongest?
Posted by      11/22/2021     Articles by Max Daumin

Piperine, the heat of pepper:

Pepper, or rather peppers of the genus piper, all contain a molecule responsible for the warmth they give off in the mouth: piperine. Discovered in 1819 by the physicist and chemist Hans Christian Ørsted, it is found in all these peppers, but curiously also in a mushroom: the Pepper Boletus or Chalciporus piperatus. This mushroom has little interest in being eaten like a cèpe de Bordeaux, as its piperine content is very high. It would be like taking a tablespoon of peppercorns. It can, however, be picked to be dried, ground into a powder and used as a peppery condiment, or even as a substitute if you're short of pepper!

Piperine, concentrated in the core of the peppercorn, is measured on the Scoville scale (Echelle de Scoville). Pure piperine has a level of 100,000, compared to the 16,000,000,000 of pure capsaicin in pepper.

So a pepper can never compete with a hot chili pepper. You could compare the strength of a pepper with a piment d'Espelette or a piment Ancho. But it can't compete with a West Indian chili pepper!

Which is stronger?

That depends on its piperine content. Piperine levels depend on terroir, climate and the care taken by the grower. Pepper found in supermarkets will have a piperine content of around 3-4%. These are medium-quality peppers, not comparable to the “premium” peppers you'll find in delicatessens or even directly from the producer! (if they do a good job).

Premium peppers generally contain between 5 and 6% piperine. Renowned peppers will give you satisfaction at this level.

We don't know which is the most powerful pepper in the world, but we do know one that is the most powerful: Yupanqui pepper. Yupanqui is the name of our producer, located in Ecuador, who does a remarkable job. His aromatic pepper has a piperine content of between 7 and 8%. An exception. In 2021, it was awarded the Silver Medal at the Trophée National de l'Epicerie Fine (Les Epicures cf article link).

The advantage of a strong pepper is simply that you use less of it.

Finally, it's worth noting that piperine levels reach their peak when the peppercorn turns from green to yellow. When it's red (which gives us red pepper), this level drops. This explains why red pepper is milder, more subtle and used by chefs in desserts. So prefer black pepper (which is derived from green) or yellow pepper.


Max Daumin

Max Daumin spices

Gold 2017-2018 Silver 2020 - 2021 Bronze 2019 | Trophée national de l'épicerie fine

Artisan Producer of the Collège Culinaire de France 2021

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