Like most people I think of coffee as a enjoyable warm beverage, that has the ability to give one a bit of a boost in the mornings. Imagine my amusement when I also found out you can develop film in the stuff? I went from disbelief to utter amazement in the space of a few seconds. However, I was just starting to dip my toes back into black and white developing again and wanted to take things slowly rather rush gung-ho into every cool thing I’d recently discovered.
Now let’s fast forward 18 months, to the point in time where I actually get my act together to try this out. I offered up a roll of Shanghai GP3 to deity of experimentation and shot it at box speed.
Caffenol is very simple to make:
Cheap strong basic coffee granules (supermarket stuff) as the cheapest brands have higher amounts of caffeic acid.
Washing Soda – may also be called Soda Ash, but what you’re looking for is Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3), waterfree (anhydrous).
Ascorbic Acid – This needs to be absolutely pure.
The ascorbic acid I ordered online, mainly because where I live it is nigh on impossible to buy stuff in pure powdered form.
For mixing and quantities I followed this recipe for Caffenol-C-M by Reinhold.
It seems there are different schools of thought with regards to mixing, some like to put the ingredients into the same container one after the other, some people suggest dissolving the coffee and the washing soda+ascorbic separately and then mixing the 2 liquids. I haven’t really tried enough to give an opinion on this and with my next batch I shall try a different mixing method.
I don’t usually presoak, but with the caffenol I did, mainly to wash some of that lovely blue colour from the Shanghai film and because what I’d read was suggesting to do so.
5 minute – presoak with water at 20c
12 minutes – caffenol, 10 inversions first and then 3 every minute.
2 minutes – used a water to stop development. Inversions as above.
6 minutes – fixer – 10 inversions and then 3.
Washing – 10 inversions then dump, 10 inversions then dump, water with photoflo, 20 inversions then dump.
It really is that easy and no harder than your usual black and white processing. But don’t take my word for it, give it a try 🙂
So that you may research this yourself, here are a few links to get you on your way.
and here are 2 flickr groups to check out –