Fans of Chipotle’s hottest salsa have been feeling the heat recently. Numerous reports of the fast-casual chain’s salsa being even spicier than normal have blazed in from customers.
Chipotle has four types of salsa: mild, fresh tomato; medium, roasted chili and corn; medium, tomatillo-green chili; and hot, tomatillo-red chili.
It’s Chipotle’s tomatillo-red chili salsa that seems to have increased in spiciness. Hot on the heels of this feedback, the Wall Street Journal decided to investigate. It sent samples from Chipotle stores in Phoenix, Chicago and Washington, D.C., to be tested at a lab. The samples did vary in heat, between 2,730-3,420 Scoville units.
Chipotle executives told the Journal that an uptick in comments on the tomatillo-red chili salsa’s heat started in fall 2022. It also said that while its salsa recipes haven’t changed, the company has widened the areas where it gets its chiles for those salsas to include Mexico, India and other parts of Asia.
This is because of how supply chains broke down during the pandemic and is also affected by bad weather and storms affecting crops. The company notes that the differences are a natural effect of sourcing fresh food.
The India-sourced chile de arbol in particular seemed to be the hottest this season, Chipotle told the Journal.
If you find you can’t handle the heat of the red-tomatillo salsa at Chipotle, there are luckily those three other salsa options to try.
If you don’t want to stop eating the spiciest salsa, you can cool down your mouth after consuming it by including a big dollop of sour cream or drinking milk to neutralize the sting. You can also try an acidic drink like lemonade or eat some bread. Also, follow the lead of some Chipotle customers and get your hot salsa on the side so you can better control how much of it you get with each bite.
And if you’re wondering what causes that heat in chili peppers, it’s the capsaicin in them. (Chili peppers come from capsicum plants.) Capsaicin is anti-fungal and also deters animals such as rats from eating the fruits. It’s interesting to note that when chiles are growing and get less water, they tend to turn out spicier.
Are you a Chipotle fan and have you noticed a difference in the hottest, tomatillo-red salsa as of late?
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Check out Simplemost for additional stories.