A chipotle is the aged, dried and smoked version of the fresh jalapeño. In Mexico, the fresh pepper is given a different name than the dried one. So, the fresh pepper is called a jalapeño and once dried & smoked is called chipotle. The same applies for example to the poblano, once dried this pepper is called ancho.
The jalapeño peppers colour from green to red (or yellow); this process is called colouring through. So for the drying and smoking of the jalapeño, they use coloured through, ripe, red jalapeños. And the longer the pepper hangs on a plant, the more time it has to become sweeter, fruitier and spicier. There is an extra twist to peppers, and that is that they become spicier! Capsaicin is the substance in peppers that makes them so hot, and the longer the pepper hangs on the plant the more capsaicin it contains. The more capsaicin, the hotter the pepper. And this means that of the same variety, red chillies are hotter than green chillies. So the fully ripened chipotle pepper is hotter than the not fully ripened jalapeño pepper. But it’s still the same pepper, so yes the chipotle pepper is hotter but that’s not the biggest difference.
They both have a very different flavour. The jalapeño is fresh, crunchy and has a fresh bite. It has a lighter flavour, which allows it to be added to many different dishes. The chipotle pepper has a sharp, smoky, sweet flavour. It is often used for sauces, savoury dishes and bbq’ing. It has a strong flavour, so be careful how much you use.
Even though it is the same pepper, the two peppers look completely different. The jalapeño is green/red, fresh and smooth in texture. The chipotle is dark red/brown, dried/smoked and hard/sharp/pointy in texture.
We have two different chipotles in our range: Chipotle – dried and smoked & Dried Chipotle Morita. The Morita chipotles are smoked for a shorter period of time, so they have a softer flavour and retain more of their fruity taste.