Friday, September 21, 2007

Developing Film in Coffee

Yes the title is correct, I'm going to show you how to develop an ordinary B&W film with instant coffee granules.
Here is what you need:
1 Jar of instant coffee
1 packet of washing soda crystals
Developing tank, liquid measure and thermometer.

Firstly, when you shoot the film lower the ISO by one stop, in this case I'll be using APX 100 (Jessops pan) rated at 50 ISO.
Load the film in the developing tank in the normal manner.

Next prepare the coffee developer.

5 heaped teaspoons of instant coffee (one per 2fl oz/60ml)
2 level teaspoons of Washing Soda crystals (NOT baking soda).
300ml (10 fl oz) water at roughly 25 deg C

A heaped teaspoon looks just like this

Firstly dissolve the soda crystals in the water, their purpose is to 'unlock' the developer ingredient present in the coffee granules.
Next put in your coffee, stirring well to ensure that the coffee has been dissolved fully.
You will notice that there are a few bubbles in the mixture and bubbles aren't good for development, so leave to stand for a few minutes but no longer than 10 as the mix must be used within 30 Min's.

Pour in the mixture and agitate slowly for the first minute, then tap the tank a couple of times to disloge any air bubbles.
The process time is 30 mins so its handy to have a watch, pen and paper to note the passing time.
Agitation used was one inversion every 30 seconds.

After 30 Minutes, rinse with plain water and fix in the normal manner.
Here are the negatives:

Slightly milky looking and brownish (due to staining action of developer) and also quite low contrast but certainly printable.
If you need further convincing here are some of the images.

Nice tonal detail, good grain and sharpness and although I don't think it will replace Rodinal as my main 'brew' I think you can see for yourselves that coffee is a more than capable developer.
A stimulating thought?

All Pictures and Text © Mark Antony Smith