March 2, 2010

Caffenol-C-M, recipe

Hi there,

so lets start the show with my basic recipe and some words about the ingredients. You already know that Caffenol-C is made of instant coffee, washing soda and vitamin-C.

All recipes are based upon 1 litre solution, measured in gramms and milliliter (ml, 1/1000 of 1 litre). No teaspoons allowed here! No ounces, inches, quarters, barrels, °F etc. I only use international standard units. In many households you will find small measuring mugs f.e. for doing the laundry. These will be usable if they have scales. A weight scale will be of course a bit better, but is not neccessary.

UPDATE: You can use volumetric measuring with Caffenol-C-M, but NOT with Cafenol-C-L, that will be introduced later. Using a scale is HIGHLY recommended for every recipe.

If you live in a country using not international standard units, you have to calculate the amounts yourself. Sorry! Now here we go:

Instant coffee: granulate (crystals) with lot of air included. Buy the cheapest brand you can get. More expensive ones might not be so good. Get the "strong" labeled version if possible. Not the "mild" ones. The active substance in coffee is caffeic acid, that behaves similar to pyrogallol and is a very compensating developing agent. I tried some cheapest brands here in Germany from Aldi, Lidl and other supermarkets. They all taste the same (awfully) and I guess they are all made by the same company or at least the same method. So it shouldn't be a problem to get reproducible results. 200 gramms for 3 Euro.

Vitamin-C: ascorbic acid, the second active developing agent. Works similar like Hydrochinone, giving more contrast and is hyperadditive to caffeic acid. Also reduces fog and of course developing time. Whenever possible, buy pure Vitamin-C, small crystals. Here I buy 100 gramms for 2-3 Euro, available in any pharmacy. Don't use vitamin pills or tablets, there will be other substances added and you might have to adjust the recipe. Buy only pure crystals for reproducible results. Used also in a famous commercial developer.

Washing soda: sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), waterfree (anhydrous). Be sure to get the waterfree one, white powder. If you should have crystals, it is not waterfree and I do not recommend it. You need much more and depending on the kind of hydrate you must recalculate differently. Soda is used for making the solution alkaline, that is important for activating the developing agents. Available at drugstores, supermarkets, zoo shops, swimming pool suppliers. Here at drugstores less than 1 Euro/500 gramms.

Recipe for 1 litre Caffenol-C-M, means for medium fast 100 ASA films (adjust yourself for other quantities)

1. 1 litre water
2. 100 ml washing-soda or 54 gramms
3. 16 ml vitamin-C or 16 gramms
4. 160 ml coffee or 40 gramms

Dissolve one after the other in the given order. Wait until each agent is dissolved completely. Stir while adding, especially the soda should be added slowly for good solution. I use tap water, no probs so far. The dissolving of the soda will heat the solution for about 3 °C. Keep that in mind for a proper temperature. Little fogging of the solution caused by the soda was no prob so far. When adding the vitamin-C small bubbles will appear, wait until they have cleared before finally adding the coffee. This is important! Then add the coffee, stir well and let stand the soup for about 5 minutes. The coffee needs some time to dissolve perfectly. Do not store, use within 1/2 an hour.

Develop for 15 minutes at 20 °C. Agitation first 30 seconds, then 3 times each minute. Intermediate rinse or stop bath, fix and rinse as usual. Tested with TMax100 and Fomapan100 so far. Other 100 ASA films may need slight adjustments. Not recommended for ASA 400 films or faster.

1 litre will cost about 1 to 1.20 Euro. Of course you will need less for developing 1 film, so depending from film and tank size, 1 development will cost about 30 to 60 Euro-Cents. Rodinal stand development will be much less expensive, but Caffenol-C competes well with commercial developers and the results are outstanding. No joke!

Image info: Pentacon Six with 2.8/80 Biometar and z-ring, KodakTmax100, exposed at exposure index EI 200 ASA, Caffenol-C-M. The image from the first "Hello"-post was made with Fomapan100 at EI 100 and the same soup, time, temperature.

More details and sample pics for Caffenol-C-M with the next post.

Important note for recipes: when I say "XYZ" I mean "XYZ" and not "ABC".

Now I need a cup of coffee.

Cheers - Reinhold

64 comments:

Juchiteca said...

Hi! the fix is b/w or color? The film is color but the result is b/w, so, which one?

Anonymous said...

Soda crystals are perfectly usable, the caveat is that you need 2.8x to account for the water in the molecules.
Crystal soda can also be dries in the oven; in a pyrex pan at 120-150C for a few hours. If you can stir it once or twice is even better.
And you might also have to filter the Ca cloud if your water is too hard; coffee filters work just fine.

heesoo said...

just so you all know the proportions are by volume:

1 part vit C
6.25 parts soda
10 parts coffee

in water


in weight the proportions are:


1vitc:
3.4soda:
2.5coffee

imagesfrugales said...

And don't forget the 62.5 x (parts) water for both weight and volume ;-)

imagesfrugales said...

@ Juchiteca: Sorry for beeing late with my reply. Only my very first trial I made with C-41 colour film. Here I only introduced regular B/W films so far, because the results are much, much better. Anyway, both kinds need conventional B/W fixer.

Heespharm said...

so therefore from the quantities above.. for us americans that's

1tbs vit c
6 heaping tablespoons (tbs) of washing soda
10 tbs of coffee in

about 1000ml of water

some conversions to be helpful
1tsp = 5ml
1tbs = 3tsp

is my math correct??

imagesfrugales said...

I do NOT recommend this kind of measuring at all. What is a heaping tbs? It can be easily 2x or 3x the amount of a flat tbs depending on the spoon you use and how much you heap it. Leads only to confusion and anger in case of failure. Who is not able to measure 10, 20 or 100 ml should not develop films imho.

Heespharm said...

okay well then instead of 6 heaping tablespoons we can do an exact measurement of 6 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon??

imagesfrugales said...

Why make things complicated, uncomparable and unsafe? The easiest and sufficiently accurate method is to use a scaled mug, also a simple digital weightscale from your kitchen with 1 gramm resolution will provide constantly much, much better and comparable(!) measurings.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your endeavour. However I only see you mention scanning the resulting negative perhaps because "scanners love thin negatives". Could you perhaps show us some of your negatives for us to see how "thin" they are? Is the film leader (exposed to light when loading film) totally black and opaque? What if someone prefers "dense" negatives with strong contrast for comfortably long printing times with an enlarger, could they use your method and how? Thank you in advance.

imagesfrugales said...

Harrys pic is a scan from a wetprint. Depending on exposure you can get the negs as dense as you want ;-) The film leader is always as black as it can be. Expose any 100 ASA film at EI 200 and you will get fine fine wetprints.

Optimizing the process for wetprints, if neceesary at all (?), will be the next to evaluate. I guess up to EI 400 with 100 ASA films should be no prob. Caffenol-C-M as shown here is a push developer with no drawbacks like bad shadow detail. Acros and EI 1600 might be unprintable but is scannable. We will see.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just tried this recipe with an Agfa APX 25 - it ´s incredible! Works excellent, at least the negs look really good so far. Started from ISO 25 up to ISO 400 and amazingly the negs are all sharp even though the last ones with ISO 200 and ISO 400 are going to be a tiny little bit to dark when printed on paper. Can ´t wait the film to be dried to develop on paper . . .
BTW, I did it just the way recomended in the recipe.
This is the most fun I ´ve had in photography for quite a long time!

imagesfrugales said...

"This is the most fun I ´ve had in photography for quite a long time!"

Thank you Anonymous, this is the best reward I got for quite a long time.

Anonymous said...

. . . referring to the correct measuring for the U.S.:

54g = 1.9 oz
16g = 0.565 oz
40g = 1.41 oz

The prints I developed yesterday on photographic paper were quite astonishing. This film developer sure does work! With the yesterday mentioned APX 25 I ´ve got great results at ISO 25, ISO 50 and - most exiting - ISO 125. I used Ilford multigrade paper (18x24 cm = approx. 7x10 in). Very sharp. I somehow can ´t believe this, so I ´ll be runnig more tests trying to reproduce those results. Next step is going to be the development of positives with this extraordinary recipe. Might need some adjustments in the quantities and time - and maybe it will work as well just the way it is. I ´ll keep you updated.

Anonymous said...

Righty right, works as a positive developer as well! Just got my first prints developed in Caffenol-C-M. Paper used was Tetenal Work, Grad 3. Pictures have that "old fashioned look". Instead of a clean white you get a, well what am I gonna call it - chamois perhaps. That is, it tends more towards a brown tone. Like those old pictures our grandparents used to show us. Quite nice, though - if you like it.
Probably gonna do some adjustments next time. Maybe the soup did get to old, for I stored it about 1 hour or so on the shelf. But all in all - it works, yes, Caffenol-C-M is suitable as a positive developer!!!

Anonymous said...

Yep - works as a positive developer as well! Just got my first prints out of Caffenol-C-M. They do look a bit like they ´ve been toned already :-)
Stay tuned, I ´ll keep you informed about all of the good news still to come . . .

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Anonymous,

please send me a flickr-mail if you have an account. My flickr name is imagesfrugales.

runlevel0 said...

I'm a blockhead :P
I just asked the questions answered in this very post.
So, now I just need to run to the next Aldi and Blokker and get the stuff... OMG, I'm really restless since I learned about this caffenol process...
Sorry for not reading everything first.

FiatluX said...

Did my first T-Max 100 4X5s today in a slightly temperature adjusted Caffenol-C and the results are: WOW! :)

I´ll post some results when I´ve scanned the negs!

Neil in Norway said...

Can any of you speak to how the development times change with temperatures higher (or lower) than 68F standard? Thanks.

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Neil, as any other developer, here's a nice chart:
http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?doc=timetemp

FiatluX said...

As promised: http://i48.tinypic.com/o0o0mc.jpg

Signs of uneven development in the top.. Still some quirks to work out!

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Fiatlux, look at the Apug forum for suggestions. Thanks a lot for feedback, very impressive image besides the uneven development.

Cheers - Reinhold

jumbo said...

how many rolls or how long ASA100 films could be developed by 1 liter caffenol?

thxs.

imagesfrugales said...

Hi jumbo, all Caffenol devs must be used immediately, you should only mix as much as you actually need.

jumbo said...

You mean 1 liter can be used to dev "only" 1 or, maybe 10 rolls 135 film?

imagesfrugales said...

@ jumbo: No! If you want to develop 1 film, mix the amount for 1 film! Maybe 250 ml or so. And use immediately and only once!

If you want to develop 6 films at the same time in one tank, mix 1.5 litres. Caffenol, no matter what type, is a one shot developer and is discarded after 1 single use.

Romary said...

Does anybody used this recipy with FP4+? If yes what was the time?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

The relevant difference between Arabica and Robusta coffees:
Chlorogenic acid (CGA)
Arabica 5.5-8.0%
Robusta 7.0-10.0%

Typical strong instant coffee is: 55% Arabica and 45% Robusta
Gold coffee (freeze dried) is: 100% Arabica

This means that in a given recipe 11% more freeze dried Gold type coffee is needed (for 1 litre that's 6 grams more coffee powder).

imagesfrugales said...

That's a very interesting detail. Chlorogenic acid is an ester of caffeic acid and has probably similar effects. Assuming that the amount of caffeic acid varies the same way, the difference isn't very big. Thank you, Anonymous, for this info - Reinhold

Christian said...

My second try with standard Caffenol-C-M, Kodak Tmax 100 developed for 13 minutes at 20°C http://www.christianseifert.net/?p=331 Many thanks to Reinhold for the great recipe. From now on Caffenol-C-M will be supersede my Calbe A49 developer.

Anonymous said...

Hello Reinhold, hello "coffenol fans"...

I have tried today my first film...Fomapan Classic 100 with Coffenol-C-M...I shot it with old Olympus Trip 35 (new one to my old film cameras collection, so I wanted to test it).
As it has just two shutter speeds ...and the light was quite poor, the film was totaly underexposed....After developing with Coffenol-C-M, 15 min., 20C, negatives were almost transparent..I even thought the film has not been even exposed.....but after scanning with Epson V600 and some postprocessing, pictures looks good (for this type of camera)...BUT ...after scanning, on all pictures there is a quantity of white dots...I first thought it is a dust...but I clean it, scan it and same...Have you anybody realized similar thing ? Do you filter Coffenol before using it finally ? Can this be something from coffe, or soda or C-acid ? I used some cheap coffe from Albert shop, standard Acid ascorbic (for use in jams, food etc) and washing soda (but they had just big granules)...I deluted all very well but can this be some micro-debrises from these ingredients ?

Thank you for this great blog !!!!!

Cheers
Tomas B.

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Thomas,

not caused by Caffenol imho. Of course you can filter the developer, if it makes you feel better. Like with any other developer, read a guide for proper developing, f.e. use destilled water and a drying aid like photoflow etc for the last rinse. NO SMOKING, smallest ash particles will settle on the film and also cause white dots.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the caffenol recipes. I just tried caffenol C-L with 120 TMAX100 and was very pleased with the results (1 hour stand development as per instructions).
http://www.pbase.com/scho/image/131122482/original

Scho

dugabel said...

Reinhold - many thanks for your extensive work and investigation to publish all of this great information about Caffenol! I've spent some time reading through the entire blog, and yesterday tried my first development of TMAX 100 (120 rollfilm) with Caffenol-C-M.

As a result, I have a beginner question for you, or anyone, if I may. Should Caffenol-C-M leave a mild pink stain on TMAX 100? That's what I'm noticing with my batch, and as it turns out, I must not have mixed up enough up for the 120 reel, because about 1 cm on one side of the film does not have this light stain and it looks like uneven development (I use a Patterson plastic tank, and perhaps due to the thicker nature of this developer vs. what I have used in the past - Diafine - it did not completely clear out of the center tube to cover the entire reel after agitating?).

Thanks for any comments on this, and again, for generously sharing this information!

Duane

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Duane,

the pink stain has nothing to do with Caffenol. Tmaxes need longer fixing and/or rinsing than most other films, the manufacturers datasheet says 3 times the clearing time for fixing. I know that it's extremely uncool, but reading datasheets and instructions is extremely useful. Even after proper fixing there might remain a light stain that can be removed by extended rinsing.

You also should read the data on the bottom of your tank for filling in the proper amount of liquids. If there should be uneven development, agitate more and develop with shorter time. If still uneven, add some kalium bromide (1g/l).

Best - Reinhold

dugabel said...

Reinhold - Thanks for your reply and suggestions. I can't believe I didn't read the TMAX datasheet; it was my first roll and it didn't even occur to me. Lesson learned!

I actually mixed up 50ml more than is suggested for one roll of 120, but next time I'll add even a little more to try to ensure full coverage.

Thanks again,
Duane

A.C. said...

hey everyone,

bought some supplies and I am almost ready to go but I am a total newbie and I am trying to understand what is meant by...

"Intermediate rinse or stop bath, fix and rinse as usual."

- Is the intermediate rinse or stop bath water?
- Is the fixer water or some other chemical?
- How long do I leave each of these (stop batch, fix, rinse) in the container and do I agitate during these as well?

much thanks!
-AC

imagesfrugales said...

Thank you very much for your interest and welcome to the world of developing film yourself. Please understand that this can't be the place for a beginners guide. The web is full of tutorials and development with Caffenol is exactly the same procedure as with any other "regular" developer. Also public libraries are an excellent source for infos.

Best wishes and good luck - Reinhold

Ivan said...

Thanks so much for good recepie! Please.. does anybody know about products of development? I mean is stuff thrown away after developing toxic? Environmentally problematic?

imagesfrugales said...

Caffenol is environmentally safe and non toxic. Because all developers are alkaline you shouldn't get dashes into the eye or so. Treat it like your household detergents and it's OK. Most other developers contain toxic agents and basic precautions like wearing rubber gloves etc should be made. Used fixer is problematic because of the silver halides that kill urgently needed bacteria in seweage plants, rivers, lakes .... and should be disposed properly.

Ivan said...

:( i see.. but that is inevitable? just the way fixing on film happens right..?

imagesfrugales said...

Yep, but if silver price rises more and more electrolytic recovery could be rewarding even for a hobby photographer.

The easiest way is to put steel wool (not!! stainless) in the canister and the silver ions are exchanged against ferric ions. Search the web for more instructions.

ceileigh said...

looking forward to trying this. Thanks so much for posting; I've been looking for low-cost alternatives to regular chemicals for a while now!

Greg H said...

This Recipe worked great for me !

I had to work it out for a steel 400ml 120 developing tank which worked out to:

400ml of distilled water

21.6 grams Washing Soda

6.4g Vitamin C (ground up Vitamin c pills in my
electric coffee bean grinder.)

16g Coffee (Folgers Instant-NOT decaf)

5 minute pre-soak.
15 minute develop. 30 second initial inversions.
Thereafter-3 inversions per minute.

Stop bath or water. 1 minute.

Fixer 5 minutes. constant inversions.

Hypo...ran out...oh well.

Photoflow 2 minutes.

10 minute rinse.

Turned out great for Fuji Neopan 100.

My experiments with 400 speed Kodak TMAX (Tmy-2) were heavily fogged with the normal Caffenol-C, BUT I had mixed the initial amounts of items with teaspoons and not grams. ALSO, be careful mixing the Washing Soda and Vitamin C, because the Temperature rises when you mix those. Mine raised nearly 10 degrees. So be ready to cool it back down to 20C/68F.

I might just try 400 speed using the gram measurement and verifying the temp before beginning. I had skipped the temp step because I was so use to using Rodinal where the temp stays pretty much constant of your water. Not so with Caffenol. Watch for this gotcha.

Thanks for posting this...

-Greg H
Racine, WI

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Greg,

10 degrees temperature rise is quite suspicious, with the waterfree soda I see a rise of 3 °C. Hydrated soda has the opposite effect and can cool down the solution a bit.

Caffenol-C-M as stated here many times before is NOT suitable for high speed films without adding a restrainer. The "M" means: for medium fast films of about 100 ASA.

Cheers - Reinhold

sebastian said...

Memorized the recipe a little bit wrong -

Mixed it up as follows
in 1l of water
40g shitty instant coffee as prescribed
16g Vitamin C
100g (bit i memorized wrong) Sodium carbonate
PH of 10.8 seemed a little bit alkali (most devs seem to hover around the 10.1 mark)
Did a few clip tests for HP5+

A little bit of base fog but nothing excessive dev for 10m at 20degress for some pretty tasty negatives.

Next time I will bring the time down to 8.5mins as the negs were still a little bit strong.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried Caffenol without coffee ?

Because with 16 gr Vit C per litre (8-16 times more Vit C per litre than the Gainer developers) and 54 gr of soda (2x the Gainer developers) I guess the coffée doesn't do anything else than change the colour of the developer.

imagesfrugales said...

Hey Anon,

got a name? You're a real sly guy! How could I be so dumb? Caffenol without coffee, too bad it wasn't my idea.

@ all: that's so far the funniest comment I got and therefore it will stay published for our amusement. No offending at all against Patrick Gainer, I highly appreciate his work.

Dear Anon, simply try it without coffee, be sure I did!

RicD said...

Mixing traditional developers the ingredients are then diluted at maybe 1:1, 1:3, and the like. Is this the same with Caffenol or is it mixed then used as is. Searching the web did not answer my question.

TIA

imagesfrugales said...

Undiluted. If it should be diluted furthermore, you would have read it ;-)

Trevor Walsh said...

I just tried a roll of Tmax400 the roll itself may have been slightly overexposed, they developed without streaking in the original Caffenol C-M recipe/dev time. The exposures seem dark compared to exposures I've seen properly done. This is the first film I've ever developed. I've heard comments about shooting the film a stop slower (ISO 50 when box speed is 100) and developing. Is this useful or needed? Did I overexpose and overdevelop, is this darker image what you call fog? Would the mix with a little restrainer do for the regular 15min benchmark?

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Trevor,

you probably overexposed and overdeveloped the film. The grey base of the negative indicates fog, the darker the base, the more fog. A restrainer, pot. bromide preferred, will keep the fog low, althiugh a little bit of fog is no prob at all.

For boxspeed, try reducing the soda to 40 g/l and cut the dev time to 12 minutes. Less development -> less fog, smaller grain. Should work fine with Tmax400.

Trevor Walsh said...

Reinhold,

I spoke to one of the photo professors where I work, and he said as much concerning the overexposure and development. I think fog also played a big roll and my fixer didn't clear as well as it should have. Being my first film, I also wasn't sure of what to look for...

Tonight I developed a second roll, this of Arista EDU 400, shot in a Contaflex Rapid. I made adjustments as you suggested and added 2.85g/l of iodized salt. I don't see any fog, I had some goofy spots, but that I attribute to my amateur film reel loading. I'm hoping to get in an scan the negs tomorrow, and will email you some of the files if you'd like. But where should I send them?

Thanks for your help, I had not expected such fast and exact advise.
Trevor

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Trevor, I hope you understand that I can't review other peoples pictures except the ones from guest authors that I like to publish here.

You can always contact me via flickr, that's also a good place to share your pictures.

chrisgavin said...

Hello there. Thanks so much for all your research and publishing this Caffenol C-M recipe. IT WORKS! I used this last week to develop a 5 foot test strip of BW negative super8 cine film.

For anyone interested, the film was Argenti PAN-X APX100 BW negative. The coffee used was Coop FairTrade instant granules (Available in UK Coop supermarkets).

Some details and a few images here... http://www.chrisgavin.com/2013/05/my-most-exciting-5-feet-of-film.html

chrisgavin said...

following my last comment here.
I've used this recipe to process short lengths of 8mm cine film twice now, with good results.

Many thanks Reinhold for sharing this with us... It's thanks to you I made this short experimental film...
https://vimeo.com/69736803

chrisgavin said...

Hello, it's me again.
I'm still using this caffenol C M recipe to process Argenti super 8 (8mm cine film B&W negative).
I've now developed a DIY spiral tank so I can process an entire 50 foot load in one session. This tank requires 1 litre of Caffenol to immerse the film. If anyone is interested in this, I've documented the project (with some stills to show results) over on my blog here.

http://www.chrisgavin.com/2013/07/diy-spiral-proccessing-tank-for-cine.html

I'm thinking of tring some of the finer grain solutions next. On these tiny 8mm film frames, grain becomes a big factor :)

Stephen Morimoto said...

Quick question on the vitamin c conversion.
It show 16ml equals 16 grams. Is this correct?
There is a space in front of each conversion except the vitamin c where a "1" shows.
Should it be 6 grams?

Or does it only show like that on my browser?

Thanks,

Steve

imagesfrugales said...

Hi Steve, there was a space missing, fixed. So 16 gramms VC = 16 ml. At least for me ;-) You should always check with what you have in hands. But the C-C-M recipe is very, very robust.

Best - Reinhold

Stephen Morimoto said...

Thanks for the response Reinhold.
What a great site! Keep it going.
Just bought a scale so I can follow the recipes.

I have developed 3 rolls in caffenol-c on 2 different types of film. All came out dark as if stained black. (The film was not clear between frames nor on the edges). The images scanned ok.
Did Indo something wrong or is that normal?
Thanks,
Steve

imagesfrugales said...

Steve, it's almost impossible to dig deeper here. We need to know so many things, f.e. which films you used, expired or not, exposure index, exact recipe (there are dozens of Caffenol-C recipes, 3 here alone) detailed developing parameters: time, agitation, exact temperature, sample pictures and so on and so on. Individual problems can't be solved via comments on a blog. Please visit the Caffenol group at flickr or ipernity or another place you trust.

Stephen Morimoto said...

I didn't think this was the proper place to get help, so I kept my question short.
My experience is definitely not the norm from what I've discovered on other forums.
My scale is on the way and will be making accurate measurements for my next brew as per your recommendation.
Thanks Reinhold.

JP Martinez said...

Thanks for this write-up. I developed TriX 400 using this formula with the following tweaks.

At around 21°C
10 grams of Vitamin C (all I had available)

Results: Since this is one of few times I have developed my own film (this being my first with Caffenol) I have to say I acquired some decent results. Except that the negatives appear a bit washed out or lack contrast. I will see how they appear after scanning them.

Cheers!