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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


  1. 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.

    almost 6 years ago · report as spam
  2. 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

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  3. 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.

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  4. eyecon


    I like the pics a lot! Great results!

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  5. mattcharnock


    Good work sir!

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  6. kirri-joy


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

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  7. breakphreak


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

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  8. smclemon


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

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  9. azurblue


    Impressive !

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  10. vicuna


    Great work!! :))

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  11. stouf


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

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  12. 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!

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  13. 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.

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  14. ukaaa


    Very cool!

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  15. stiff



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  16. 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).

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  17. 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.


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  18. docphil


    They look like cyanotypes.

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  19. anabananaangel


    i am so going to try this out.

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  20. ajagee24701


    Really cool idea!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam

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