DIY: C-41 Film Process with Coffee


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.

For this method, prepare the following materials:

  • 6 teaspoons instant coffee (I use Nescafe). Please 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 is even better). Please note: Not sure exactly if this does anything, but powdered vitamin C is supposed to cut down on development time so I threw it in there.


  1. Dissolve in 12 ounces water and let stand five to ten minutes to clear bubbles. Aim for 20 degrees C or 68 degrees F and try to keep it constant.
  2. 20 minutes development time. Agitate constantly on the 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.
  3. Rinse three times with 12 ounces of water (equates to agitate five to six times each).
  4. Fix for ten minutes with 12 ounces fixer agitating three times per minute and tapping it.
  5. Recycle fixer back then rinse again under faucet a bit.
  6. 12 ounces water add half cap rubbing alcohol and rinse before hanging. This helps it dry quicker with less streaks.
  7. Hang dry in a dust free area then get your scan on. You can adjust amounts to 8 tsp. 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!

Replenish your film supply by visiting our online shop or one of our worldwide gallery stores to pick up some rolls!

written by lomosexual_manboy on 2009-03-21 #gear #tutorials #coffee #diy #tipster #darkroom #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!

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