Fresh Brewed Coffee

[Portions of this blog were originally published in October, 2018].

The practice of developing black and white film with coffee (“caffenol”, as it is known colloquially) is well-described. There is a group of caffenol aficionados on Facebook (click here), on Flicker (click here), and there is a full website dedicated to the subject (click here).

I first ran my own experiment with caffenol back in February of 2012.

I shot some black and white film back in August of 2018 while I was on vacation in Brainerd. It sat undeveloped until yesterday, when I “went to the laboratory” (i.e., laundry room) and set up my first new attempt in over six years.

I started with a roll of Kentmere 100 35mm film, shot in my Olympus OM1-n camera that I bought in 1979 with my high school graduation money. I don’t have a dark room, so I load the film onto the developing reel inside a “dark bag”. Once on the reel, the film goes into the developing canister, where it is sealed away from light, but the developing chemicals can be poured in and dumped out.

I used my own variation of a standard “caffenol-C” recipe to create the developing fluid. In my case, I used regular coffee grounds (Folgers, I think), 4 tbsps to make 12 cups of coffee in a standard coffee maker.



In the time since I began my renewed experiments with caffenol, I've settled in on a developing recipe that seems to work fairly consistently and gives satisfying results. There were a lot of false starts along the way. Some of my favorite images are available as reprints here. Here's a sneak peek at a few.