The Heat Profiles of Chilli

date:2019-07-18 views:897

Chilli is more than a spice. But even as a spice, it is more than just spicy!

Several “ethnic” cuisines have long known, and shown, that it takes certain chile pepper types to give their dishes the right taste – and, as it were, heat. Thai dishes without the lingering heat of many Thai chillies just aren’t the same. Hunan food without the mellow burn of the right type of chilli just isn’t Hunan food.

In their article on “the sensory properties of chile pepper heat” (published in the scientific journal “Appetite” in 2017) Ivette Guzmán and Paul W. Bosland develop comprehensive descriptors for all the characteristics that make up the pungency of a chilli:

  • Development

Does the pungency develop “very rapid,” “rapid,” “moderately rapid,” or “delayed”?

  • Feeling

Does the pungency feel “sharp-prickling” like a needle or “flat” like it’s brushed on?

  • Location

Where does one mainly feel the pungency, on the lips, at the tip of the tongue, in the front of the mouth, on the side of the tongue, mid-palate, in the throat, or at the back of the throat?

  • Intensity

Is the pungency “extremely hot,” “very hot,” “hot,” “medium hot,” or “mild”?

  • Duration

Does the pungency “dissipate quickly,” “dissipate,” or “linger” (and where)?

And then, there are also the different flavors of different kinds (especially species) of chilli…


Source: Ivette Guzman & Paul W. Bosland. Sensory properties of chile pepper heat - and its importance to food quality and cultural preference. Appetite 117 (2017) 186-190

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