How to Develop BW Film at Home with Coffee

How to Develop BW Film at Home with Coffee

Little-version drawl material from our world community of photographers, journalists & adventurers.

Andrew Shepherd is a Seattle-primarily based fully photographer and filmmaker. All photos shot on 35mm film and developed the utilization of Caffenol-C. Practice Andrew on Instagram for more PNW landscapes and insights on experimental growing programs.

Many film photographers learned the medium alongside frequent darkroom abilities in some form of college atmosphere, while for others, the growing job has constantly remained unseen and unknown. Irrespective of which camp you fall into, likelihood is your present relationship to processing extends only so a ways because the counter at your local print store or put up space of business—which, within the time of COVID-19 quarantines, are increasinly off limits.

Truth is, processing film requires chemical substances which would per chance per chance per chance well be toxic and changeable. But given the inherent effort that goes into shooting film within the significant space (plus some recent subpar processing by previous local labs), I felt compelled to study and refamiliarize myself with the job. And to search out an at-residence different.

Enter Caffenol, the just right liquid concoction that develops black & white film the utilization of fast coffee and washing soda to interchange the defective chemical substances point to in dilapidated growing brokers.

I am no longer the significant and received’t be the final to expend this manner, however after stumbling across it, I felt it deserved contrivance more attention than it turned into once getting. The advantages outweigh the cons in so many regards, and the simplicity of it all ends within the ask of why dilapidated growing chemical substances are quiet being licensed.

To give you an in-depth seek, the following is a documentation of my non-public abilities with this different growing job, its many advantages, and easy suggestions to coach yourselves on wisely disposing noxious artifacts point to in developer. By the stay of this text, you’ll luxuriate in your full steps significant to originate film at residence with fast coffee and water softener.

Caffenol: What You Have to Know

Starting up with the basics, Caffenol is a term licensed for the chemical aggregate of fast coffee crystals, washing soda, water, and optionally, food regimen C powder (known as Caffenol-C). Serene of products which would per chance per chance per chance well be exponentially much less noxious for the ambiance, it’s a ways an even different to powder or liquid developer.


  • Caffenol is a easy, environmentally superb job that can also just quiet build you a assortment of trips to the lab.

  • The licensed consensus is that Caffenol is safer to address and net rid of than its different.

  • Methyl chloroform, ammonia, and formaldehyde are trusty just a few of the chemical substances you’re changing with Caffenol. No longer only are these no longer protected to pour down drains, they’re going to smash any surface they reach in contact with. The one risk for loyal disposal of those chemical substances is popping in them to a chosen waste facility. Powder-originate growing brokers are even worse, as they pose a risk of poisoning by inhalation.

  • Caffenol turned into once born of the DIY spirit, and is continuously evolving and taking over new kinds across the community that makes expend of it. Thru wider experimentation, note, and your full crowdsourced recipes on hand, new doors will continue to be opened for even better choices.


  • Caffenol is specific to B&W film. You too can expend it on colour damaging stock, however it’s likely you’ll no longer sleep with a sepia tone across your total negatives.

  • Ticket deposits of silver halide rep within the leftover liquids from the growing and fixing job, combating Caffenol from qualifying as entirely “green.”

  • It is a ways an unregulated and untapped job, and as such, I can no longer personally recommend any single job for protected disposal of the specified compounds. Stare article footer for urged disposal suggestions.

Caffenol items a promising future for environmentally superb growing, and I am hoping to watch it fully reach its most net likely with a minimal amount of noxious products licensed. As adverse to for the few downsides, it has been an awfully enjoyable and rewarding solution to expend for growing from the comfort of my residence.

4 Have to-Be taught Caffenol Constructing Pointers

  1. Be obvious to study which caffenol job fits the film you are the utilization of. There are unending mixtures of recipes listed at, along side processes that expend beer and wine as choices to coffee. I basically luxuriate in only developed rolls of T-Max 400 with my luxuriate in recipe so a ways, and it’s been a mountainous aggregate.

  2. There would per chance be “blissful accidents” along the technique, because the job is roughly an experiment. Possess in mind it recordsdata won for the following roll, the utilization of each and every batch to learn more about film while doing more to abet the ambiance. Boards at and KEH Camera are mountainous resources on the job and for discussing your luxuriate in findings.

  3. Originate obvious that all the washing soda crystals dissolve earlier than growing. Left over crystals can scratch the film because it dries, leaving flecks and white streaks, because it’s likely you’ll watch on just a few of my photos in this text.

  4. Double overview your measurements for your full ingredients licensed. Having too worthy or too little of someone of them can significantly influence your stay consequence. Fortunately, black and white film is among the most forgiving as a ways as growing goes, so you’ll in all likelihood be in a problem to construct it apart in Photoshop or Lightroom if one thing does walk awry.

Caffenol has spread out the door to growing for myself and plenty of others, and I am hoping you the reader will try it within the shut to future.

Step-by-Step Caffenol-C Recipe and Task:

  • In one container, combine 12 oz.of faucet water (room temp), ¾ tsps food regimen C powder (1000mg), 5 tsps fast coffee crystals (can no longer be decaf), 3.5 tsps washing soda.

  • Scurry until all powder and crystals dissolve.

  • Pour into sealed growing tank and agitate slowly for one minute, then agitate 3 time per minute for the following 11 minutes. Pour out Caffenol combine.

  • Dispute tank below working water for 1 minute to cease growing job. Possess the water as shut to room temp as that it’s likely you’ll imagine.

  • In one other container, combine 2 oz.of fixer with 6 oz.of water. Pour this combine into tank and agitate slowly 3 occasions per minute for seven minutes.

  • In one other container, combine water with just a few drops of dish cleansing soap. Combine slowly to restrict bubbles shaped. Possess tank with this wash combine and agitate 3 occasions. Pour out wash and repeat job agitating 6 occasions. Pour out wash and repeat job agitating 12 occasions. Pour out and initiating tank.

  • Pull out your film and grasp to dry. You’re all performed.

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“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching