Black Congo Pepper Review

January 9, 2018 | Article Topics: , ,

This is the final pepper review from the 2017 grow season that I forgot to post in a more timely manner. This Black Congo was one of two plants purchased back in June of last year at a local garden center as a replacement for a couple that were badly damaged in a freak frost event. They were also the two plants that waited until the very last moment to put out flower and even longer yet to ripen enough for me to pick and sample.

Photo of Black Congo pepper plant

By the time the season wrapped up, I had picked maybe five total ripe fruit from both Black Congo plants. I didn’t save any seeds from these, as I knew at the time I was going to purchase seeds from another company for the 2018 pepper season. That, however, didn’t stop me from slicing into a couple of the peppers fresh and drying the remainder for the cold Winter.

This particular pod was roughly an inch and a half in length and probably half that in width. The chocolate color fades to almost black at the tip. The skin was smooth with plenty of folds similar to most of your standard habaneros. The skin was also surprisingly thin compared to its orange or red cousins. A small amount of placenta and cluster of seeds were positioned at the stem. Oil pooled in each half of the pepper once it was cut open. The ribs that ran the length of the pod carried a fairly green tinge to them which leads me to believe that, despite the brown exterior, the fruit probably wasn’t as ripe as it could have been.

Photo of Black Congo pepper

The aroma of the pepper isn’t overly potent. The standard habanero traits are present with a light perfumy and softly fruity character. A floral presence mingles with an earthiness that is not typically found in either the orange or red varieties I typically have grown in the past. I particularly like that aspect of Black Congo’s aroma.

Photo of Black Congo pepper

The flavor is also much earthier than standard habaneros with a strong vegetal trait. The typical orange habanero flavor is there, but in a bit more of a subdued state as the earthiness steps to the forefront ahead of a soft fruitiness and distant floral notes. The skin has a nice crunch to it despite its thinness and produces a good amount of juiciness.

The heat on this one was different than I expected. The level of burn was not nearly as potent as I had anticipated. This particular Black Congo’s heat built slowly, focusing mostly on the tip of the tongue. It’s a very smooth burn, but is also very short-lived which was a bit disappointing. Eating larger snippets off of the plant didn’t produce much more heat than my initial sample either.

Photo of Black Congo pepper

I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor of this pepper, but was disappointed in the lacking heat. Based on my experience with this particular nursery, I’m not surprised by the lack of heat in this plant. Other items I have purchased from them, or rather, other exotic items beyond your standard pepper plants (Cayeene, Super Chili, etc…) have been disappointing.

Regardless, of how this one turned out in the end, it was a great experience watching these two plants grow and eventually produce fruit.