Caffenol, the organic developer!

The coffee revolution!
I have been experimenting with alternatives to traditional developers that are harmful to the environment for some time. And I stumbled across CAFFENOL, a black and white negative developer! A lot of photographers have already tried it and there are various recipes and reports circulating on the Internet!

Caffenol consists of instant coffee, vitamin C powder and washing soda. You can easily find the three of them around the corner for little money. Better buy the cheapest type of coffee, it contains the most caffeic acid which is bad for your stomach but essential for developing! Dispose the soup after use in the toilet.

My favorite recipe for 1 liter:
1 liter of water (tap water is fine)
54 g washing soda
15 g vitamin C
40 g instant coffee
(dissolved in that order!) – 15 min at 20 to 21°, move gently. Then water briefly and fix using a conventional fixer.

.... And then the question arises: isn't there an organic fixer? I did a test with salt. Dissolved 250 g salt in 250 ml of water. Practically impossible, there remains a residue of undissolved salt ... But never mind, the more the better! I had a strip of black and white film (FOMA) developed with Caffenol and then fixed it for 3 (!) days in that salt bath. The strip has been hanging at my window now for several months and has not yet darkened!


want to know more:

Caffenol on Wiki

Caffenol on Flickr

Caffenol on Facebook

Dr. Scott Williams and the Technical Photographic Chemistry 1995 Class: A Use for that Last Cup of Coffee: Film and Paper Development

Coffee goo! The test film turned out wonderfully contrasty black and white! Salty crust. The salt-film exposed to sunlight - still fix after several hours!

More recipes which lead to mostly good results!
I developed several super 8 b/w films (PlusX, TriX, Adox) using different soups.
The higher the temperature, the shorter the developing time.
Best results at about 30° and 15 minutes.

Here are some recipes for 1/2 liter!! >>> and here is my RECIPE BLOG!

500 ml Coca Cola
5 grinded Aspirins
8 g vitamin C
40 g soda – 22°, 60 mins
  Black Tea
500 ml black tea (strong, 7 ts, steep 15 min)
8 g vitamin C
45 g soda – 22-23°, 30 min
  Red wine and Vodka
450 ml red wine (cheap and strong = ok!)
a small glass of vodka
8 g vitamin C
45 g soda – 22°, 30 min

(also good without vodka)
500 ml beer
12 g vitamin C
50 g soda – 30°, 15 min

(I tried: Budweiser, Old Speckled Hen, Guinness, Stauder, Oldenburger OLs)
  Potato Juice
500 ml pressed potato juice
10 g vitamin C
50 g soda – 28°, 20 min
Boil 2 little twigs fresh rosemary in water for about 10 mins, steep 1/2 hour)
10 g vitamin C
50 g soda – 22°, 40 min
500 ml elderberry juice (boil 1 handfull berries in water, some twigs are ok)
5 g vitamin C
40 g soda – 21°, 30 mins
Boil 2 handful chokeberries in 500 ml water, crush them a bit, then strain through a sieve)
6 g vitamin C
40 g soda – 30°, 20 min
  Magnolia Tea
Chop a handful Magnolia blossoms, pour boiling water on, cool down to right temperature, strain
10 g vitamin C
50 g soda – 33°, 11 min
Pour boiling water over a good handful of seaweed, cool down to right temperature, strain
12 g vitamin C
50 g soda – 35°, 15 min
(the result will be a little yellowish)
250 ml Whiskey
250 ml water
12 g vitamin C
50 g soda – 30°, 15 min
All you need for decent experimental environment-friendly processing!
Yummy red wine! Soda and aspirin stirred in Coke smells interesting and makes funny bubbles. In the pints: rosemary tea and potato juice.

Here are some links to
"soup developed" films:




A Summer’s Day in Berlin with Lisa & Paolo

The Old Speckled Hen / Altes Tüpfelhühnchen

Red Wine Test Film





Magnolia blossoms Seaweed, raw and boiled
Experiments with Tullamore Dew