Caffenol Happiness

These two photos of my daughters for me represent all that I could have hoped for since starting to experiment with Caffenol 6 months or so ago.  I have been very impressed in general with Caffenol and have many nice examples since starting out.  I hope to share more photos taken here and there in Japan and overseas as well as thoughts about the cameras, film and development as I go along. Welcome, and thanks for looking!

Camera: Rolleicord lll (circa 1950-1953)

Film: Fomapan 100 (ei80)

Development: Caffenol stand (70m20d)



These photos were taken in the late afternoon last winter with a bit of sun reflecting off the buildings across the street.  I might have been a hair off the focus on the second one but I still think it is a pleasing photo (needed a bit more depth of field- and perhaps a tripod).  The Rolleicord lll is probably my favorite TLR so far out of my limited selection simply because of its ergonomics; the focus and film advance on the same side mean you do not have to keep changing hands.  It is a simple machine but it works beautifully. This was my first experience with Fomapan 100 in 120 format and I really like its look.  Man is it curly though.  Downright difficult to get it into the film scanner sometimes. Don’t know what they put into it- maybe spring steel or carbon fiberglass or something..



6 thoughts on “Caffenol Happiness

    1. jordi Post author

      Hello Joe, thanks for your question. This is a stand development using a more diluted development solution. Once you pour in the Caffenol you agitate (in this case 10x) then just let it sit until the time is up. The recipe is from Reinhold’s Caffenol Blogspot. Check out the site, there are about 4 years of experiments, photo examples and recipes. These guys really provided a great resource! There is also a nice Caffenol Cookbook you can view online or download free in a pdf. Anyway the recipe for the stand development (called Caffenol C-CL) for 1l is: 16mg washing powder, 10mg V.C powder, 1mg Kbr (pot. bromide) or 10mg iodized salt, and 40mg instant coffee. 70 min at 20C to start. This seems to be good for up +1 stop push however, so I often now do a bit less time if shooting at box speed or less- around 60 minutes often works well. Good luck and look forward to seeing your results! Jordi


      1. Joe shoots resurrected cameras

        Yeah, I’ve browsed those resources, definitely some good stuff there, but I definitely need to delve more deeply into Reinhold’s site. It always seems like things need to be fine-tuned to the individual person. I used the C-L recipe myself because I had some major fogging issues. I haven’t perfected my personal recipe yet, but I found but I found that I didn’t need anywhere near 70mins for even ASA400 film. Maybe it’s all about the film you use, but from what I’ve read on Reinhold’s site, I thought he was shooting HP5 and Tri-X at 1600 when developing for a full 70mins, which is why I’m surprised your film wasn’t just way overdeveloped, being only 100-speed.

        I’ll be writing about it soon, but basically the best results I had were with Tri-X shot at 200 and stand developed in C-L for 30mins. The negatives were a bit thin, but so low contrast that I didn’t lose anything really. My problem so far seems to be that the highlights tend to block up if I develop for too long, which I suppose might mean that I’m using too much coffee, but I’m still experimenting. I should also mention that I’m converting everything from metric to American standard, which is probably why so much of my process so far has been trial and error…


      2. jordi Post author

        I would say based on my own experience and what I’ve read and seen on Rheinhold’s site as well as the photos on flickr that it is not the film and is mainly the ingredients/formula and then exposure. Reinhold has found a couple of films that did not perform so well with Caffenol on his site however I have used a fairly large range of films with no problem. I’ve also pushed HP5+, Tri-x, Tmax, and Acros with good results.

        I would suggest that first you isolate your recipe by getting a scale that is accurate to 1mg at least, and then also double check that you are using the right type of Sodium Carbonate (should be water free or anhydrous). Powder rather than crystals (though crystals can work a long as you account for the weight of the water content). Check out the cookbook for a really good instructable (and some great photos too):

        Good luck! Jordi

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Ed Buziak

    Jordi… you’ve done something to me… and I don’t know where it’s going to lead. I gave up darkroom work a decade ago after having the process in my daily life and routine for maybe forty years… and I can feel the joy of the practice again in my bones Will obviously let you know what happens, where and when! BTW: Loved the images in the Caffenol book… Tony McLean, and maybe Liam Lawless, in the UK introduced me to coffee development back in the ’90s… and although I only drink the real ground beans, I think I’ll now have to buy some of the instant stuff!


    1. jordi Post author

      Hi Ed, thanks for your comment- hope what I’ve done is a good thing:-) I learned darkroom back in my college days and really loved it. Then I moved to Japan and there was no darkroom to use in my area and I didn’t really consider doing it in my house like I do now until about 3 years ago. I have really enjoyed getting back into it, and the Caffenol has been a real unexpected bonus. I read about these guys experimenting with instant coffee way back when- pretty amazing. I look forward to hearing and seeing how it goes for you! Jordi



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