I remember being told once long ago that there are 7 different types of spicy:
These make a bit of intuitive sense to me (from a taste perspective), though I can't find much to back this up.
Wikipedia breaks them up into the following 8 botanical groups:
-Fruits, such as Cayenne pepper
-Roots and rhizomes, such as turmeric, ginger and galingale
-Seeds, such as fennel, mustard, nutmeg, and black pepper
-Barks, such as cinnamon and cassia
-Flower buds, such as cloves
-Stigmas, such as saffron
-Arils, such as mace (part of nutmeg plant fruit)
-Resins, such as asafoetida
This thread mentions different chemicals for different types of spicy and their effects on hotness (such as
gingerol (ginger) and
allyl isothiocyanate (wasabi)), but its not very complete.
- What are the distinct chemically related spice groups?
- How would you describe each group in terms of flavour?