the caffenol cookbook

six, almost seven years ago i was given a recipe for caffenol c film developer by a friend whitey.  I met this guy named whitey .. an artist and teacher and a friend of a friend who i went to college with.  he is the person who started me down a path that at first wasn’t sure where it was going to lead me, and now i couldn’t see myself doing anything else.  he emailed me the recipe for caffenol c  and the recipe went like this:

Caffenol C

8 oz. water
4 slightly rounded tsp. instant coffee
2 tsp. washing soda (buy it at Shaws as well)
1000 mg Vitamin C (1/4 tsp powder)

like a good science student, i got a spoon and the right ingredients and a beaker to mix them in, and i processed a roll of film.  after the first development i got tired of mixing 8oz at a time and started to make 1L at a time and just eyeballing the measurements.  i processed my film in an old leaky unicolor processor and it worked well, until it didn’t.  for whatever reason a few rolls came out completely blank with nothing on them, and i swore off the coffee developer.  i went back to ansco 130 for my films, and sprint film developer too.  i eventually got bored and began to use the coffee again, and this time i added a little bit of ansco 130 in it to see what would happen.  it turned out to be the best film developer i could imagine.  time went by and i started to wonder what would happen if i used coffee beans instead of instant coffee.  i hunted down some green beans a local roaster had and wasn’t using.  i did a test roast and process and he was as happy to sell me the beans as i was to use them.  there is another post in this blog that details my coffee roasting and processing …

over the years i have run into people who were also coffee enthusiasts.  some invited me to where i met up with other like minded, people.  it is a diverse crowd over there, experimenters, scientists and people who really enjoy having fun with a camera and film.  i also met up with a someone who asked me if i would be interested in joining into a group and making a book all about caffenol.  knowing my style isn’t for everyone … i like imperfection, i like not measuring, i like adding a little bit of print developer into my strange brew, i wasn’t sure if i should join in or not.   well, it has been a long time in the making and it is finally done.

HUGE thanks to bo for putting this together, it is an honor to be associated with such a great and diverse group of coffee fanatics.