I Love Coffee: Caffenol C Developer, Test 1

If coffee is good for me (and it is)…. it must be good for my film, right? I had heard about developing film in coffee back when I went to RIT but have never got around to trying it- until now.

My first test rolls were Kodak 400TX in both 35mm and in 120. The 35mm (above image) was shot in my Leica MP with a 28mm lens and the 120 was shot with the Cuboid using a F72 pinhole.

The method I used for mixing the developer can be found here on Digital Truth. My agitation was 1st minute constant and then 3 inversions per minute till end of time which for 400TX I chose 30 minutes at 70 F. After looking at my test negatives I think they are over-developed by quite a bit but my Imacon had no issue making a good scan. The increased development was a result I believe of the ascorbic acid added in the Caffenol C recipe. If I were to do 400TX again with this recipe I would go for around 20 minutes but I would need to run a test to confirm that time.

If you google Caffenol C or just Caffenol you will find a wide range of opinions regarding this processing technique. The grain is large and sharp and the film is VERY low contrast but that can be a good thing for scanning.

So why would you want to do this?

  1. It’s cheap.
  2. It is enviromentally sound.
  3. It has a unique visual quality from other developers I’ve used… a “vintage” quality.
  4. It produces negatives that are “easy” to scan.
  5. It can be done on almost all films with varying degrees of success.
  6. It’s fun!

If you want to see a larger version of the picture above click here. Please note it is a large file.

Next test…. Ilford Fp4+ in Caffenol C using the time suggestion also found on Digital Truth. The 400TX I used for this test is a bit too fast for my current needs and from what I can gather from other users of Caffenol C Fp4+ is a good choice… stay tuned.

One last note… it smells like hell!

Viva la Revolution!

Link to article on RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) web site:

A Use for that Last Cup of Coffee: Film and Paper Development

4 thoughts on “I Love Coffee: Caffenol C Developer, Test 1

  1. Hi Steven,

    last weekend I had my first experiance with Caffenol-C. I souped a C-41 colorneg film and I’am very much pleased with the results. More Vitamin C could help keeping the grain smaller and probably gives some more contrast. My mixture definately contains more vitamin C. And yes, it was scanned easily. You may consider to have a look at a sample, more tech details given with the desciption of the image.


    Best regards from Heidelberg/Germany – Reinhold

  2. Steve,
    I have been using the Caffenol C at 14 min.@ 72 with very good results. Your samples looked very good.
    Agree with you on the smell!

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