DIY: C-41 Film Process with Coffee


If you ever want to try to self develop your film with coffee, here is a good tip!

This is a really cool method I have been experimenting with. It will give you characteristics similar to a cyanotype print. I heard you can get various color shifts depending on the film type used, based on film layer chemistry, but this is my experience thus far with Kodak Gold 100 and Longs Advantage 200 both expired. Another cool thing about doing this is that you can also scan the negatives as black and white and get great results. It’s like a two for one deal.

I would highly recommend using cheap film at first if you haven’t developed with coffee yet, but if you decide to use standard black and white processing chemicals then just go for it. I would also recommend using a 100 to 200 iso film because these processing times relate to that and change for higher iso.

How to do it:

  • 6 teaspoons instant coffee (I use Nescafe) Note: Ground Coffee will not work!
  • 3 teaspoons washing soda (I use Arm & Hammer)
  • 1 crushed up chewable vitamin C (1/4 teaspoon powdered vitamin C even better) Note: Not sure exactly if this does anything, but powdered is supposed to cut down on dev. time so I threw it in there.
  • Dissolve in 12 ounces water and let stand five to ten minutes to clear bubbles. Note: Aim for 20 degrees C or 68 degrees F and try to keep it constant.
  • 20 minutes development time. Agitate contantly first minute then slowly three times every remaining minute. Give it a good tap on the table or floor after each agitation to loosen air bubbles.
  • Rinse three times with 12 ounces water (equates to agitate five to six times each).
  • Fix for ten minutes with 12 ounces fixer agitating three times per minute and tapping it.
  • Recycle fixer back then rinse again under faucet a bit.
  • 12 ounces water add half cap rubbing alcohol and rinse before hanging. Note: This helps it dry quicker with less streaks.
  • Hang dry in a dust free area then get your scan on. Note: You can adjust amounts to 8tsp coffee, 2 tsp washing soda, 8 oz water.

If you are going to develop with coffee consider overexposing by one to two stops depending on your lighting conditions because the coffee developer will pull (underexpose) your shots, which I had to figure out the hard way. This can be done in regular b/w chemicals too if you prefer.

Drop me a line if you have questions and don’t forget to share your results.

I just have to give a shout out to mattcharnock and hanspan for their previous coffee development entry which can be seen here

written by lomosexual_manboy on 2009-03-21 in #gear #tipster #darkroom #coffee #diy #cyanotype #x-pro


  1. smclemon
    smclemon ·

    Right I just have to try this! I don't care if you're pulling my leg, i love the idea of developing my film in coffee!! Also 10 minutes fixing time - that's about 3 times as much as I use.

  2. vtayeh
    vtayeh ·

    Great Job!! This reminds me of a MacGyver episode where he needed to develop some film using household stuff... Almost too neat to be true :D

  3. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    I just found a typo. On the last bullet it should be 4 teaspoons coffee, not 8. It's cutting the recipe down.

    @smclemon: I fix for ten minutes because color negative film has thicker layers and I wanted to make sure to get it as clear as possible. With b/w I fix around 5. Expect the negs to be foggier and denser, but still fine for scanning.

  4. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    I like the pics a lot! Great results!

  5. mattcharnock
    mattcharnock ·

    Good work sir!

  6. kirri-joy
    kirri-joy ·

    oh absolutely bloody excellent...ive also wanted to know how to do this! sweet! thanks!! :D

  7. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    ye ye :) hardcore DIY! good to know that someone makes it at home :)

  8. smclemon
    smclemon ·

    Ahhhhhhh of course, that makes sense. I'm glad you understood that I *meant* to ask a question, but didn't! :)

  9. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    Impressive !

  10. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Great work!! :))

  11. stouf
    stouf ·

    lomosexual_manboy RULES !!! This method kicks asses !!! Thanks for all the details ! I wonder if I can put coffee in my Jobo processor...

  12. rater
    rater ·

    Thanks a lot for the tips. I am looking myself to try the coffe developement. Will let you know my results when I do it!

  13. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    Ha, stouf I wouldn't go putting any in your Jobo. The mixture is gross and needs a thorough washing to clean not to mention it's only good for one development at a time. The results could be interesting though.

  14. ukaaa
    ukaaa ·

    Very cool!

  15. stiff
    stiff ·


  16. lomollete
    lomollete ·

    Ummm If I use 400 iso black&white film have you got any idea for how long I'd have to leave it in the developer? (Also, if I have a 400 iso b&w film exposed at 100).

  17. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    Well, supposedly with caffenol time is uniform, but I haven't developed any b/w iso400 film yet so I can't give you a direct answer to that.

    A 400iso shot at 100iso I'm guessing would be good to go because caffenol will pull it. I always try to overexpose my shots a bit.

    My suggestion would be to check out this flickr forum and search for the film you are using and by 400iso.

  18. docphil
    docphil ·

    They look like cyanotypes.

  19. anabananaangel
    anabananaangel ·

    i am so going to try this out.

  20. ajagee24701
    ajagee24701 ·

    Really cool idea!

More Interesting Articles

  • Tipster: DIY X-Pro Redscale

    written by rancliffhasenza on 2015-09-27 in #gear #tipster
    Tipster: DIY X-Pro Redscale

    Browsing through the Lomography website, you can find a lot of redscale shots, which are all done on color negative films. I asked myself if it’s possible to redscale a slide or chrome film and then cross process it. (And yes, it is.) In this tipster I’m going to teach you how to create the bloodiest homemade redscale film I've ever come across.

  • Photo of the Day by moerkrum

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-09-19 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by moerkrum

    Want to achieve an aged look on your photograph? Try dunking your film roll in a cup of coffee!

  • Snap Up This Incredible Invention: Introducing The Brand New Lomochrome Turquoise Film!

    written by shhquiet on 2014-10-20 in #news
    Snap Up This Incredible Invention: Introducing The Brand New Lomochrome Turquoise Film!

    We are very excited to present you with our new film, Lomography LomoChrome Turquoise XR 100-400! This emulsion develops in C-41 in 35mm and 120 formats. Limited stock of 5,000 rolls for pre-order are available, so reserve your rolls now; delivery of first stock estimated for April 2015.

  • Shop News

    New Item: Revolog 36exp Plexus

    New Item: Revolog 36exp Plexus

    Feeling experimental? We have the perfect film for you. Load up a roll of Revolog Plexus 200 on your favorite 35mm camera and shoot as you normally would.

  • My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-11-12 in #gear #tipster
    My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    I backed the Kickstarter project for the Lomo’Instant earlier this year and was thrilled to receive it last week. I love how the camera naturally encourages you to experiment with its different features, whether it’s through flashing your multiple exposures with different colors or trying different creative techniques after your shots has been ejected. Here are a few tips from what I’ve discovered from playing with the camera so far (and a couple of tips I want to try out in future)!

  • 12 Months, 12 Projects: March Of Caffenol

    written by Maaike van Stratum on 2015-04-12 in #world #lifestyle
    12 Months, 12 Projects: March Of Caffenol

    My list of resolutions for 2015 consists of 12 projects, one for every month. March was for caffenol. You have probably heard of the amazing fact that you can develop black and white photos with coffee, sodium, and vitamin C. I had tried this before but with less than stellar results. Somehow, there's always something going wrong. Time to devote a few rolls to caffenol to finally get the hang of it.

  • The Email Notifications and Reports Are Back

    written by pan_dre on 2015-03-25 in #world #news
    The Email Notifications and Reports Are Back

    Are you trying to keep in touch with all your friends on Lomography and don't want to miss a single like, mention or comment? We have good news for you, the email reports and notifications are back!

  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • An Easy Way to Store Instant Pictures

    written by ladland on 2014-11-11 in #gear #tipster
    An Easy Way to Store Instant Pictures

    Here's a handy tip for storing photos using something that you already have in your bag and is good for the environment.

  • A Review of the Lucky Aerial 200 Film

    written by reiga on 2015-01-07 in #reviews
    A Review of the Lucky Aerial 200 Film

    For those of you who are still looking for good black and white film, you might want to try aerial film as it offers good contrast and tonality.

  • A Round-up of Lomography Events Around the World in September

    written by dop on 2015-09-03 in #world #news #events
    A Round-up of Lomography Events Around the World in September

    If you are looking for some lomographic entertainment this month in your home city or if you are traveling the world and want some insider tips from our lomography teams, here’s a selection of what is going on in Lomography Gallery and Embassy Stores around the world.

  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Take a Peek Through The ONDU Pinhole

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-17 in #gear #news
    Take a Peek Through The ONDU Pinhole

    Have you ever tried going lens-less when taking a photo? Try shooting with ONDU Pinhole Cameras and see what it's like to take photos through a tiny pinhole. Check out these lovely shots taken by Lomographers; if you do have some ONDU pinhole photos of your own, upload and tag them accordingly so that we can see them!

  • Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-03-17 in #gear #news #lifestyle #tipster
    Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    Ever since light painting was invented, it inspired artists from all around the globe to magical creations that capture hidden movements and reinvent the world we live in. "Life is a fairy tale, stay wild little child!" is what they want to tell us. Bringing light to life became the next challenge for anyone rigged with a film camera and a creative mind. Now, how can you take your analogue light paintings from the ordinary to the outstanding? After the carriage came the car, so we definitely need some spacy inventions to follow the old school light pen. So here it is, our new best friend: The Pixelstick!

  • Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    written by cheeo on 2014-12-05 in #lifestyle
    Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    Shooting with film can be considered a labor of love. From carefully loading the film and adjusting for lighting conditions to the darkroom process, it’s a laborious process but certainly a fulfilling experience. What more if you created your own cameras?