Tom, the fact that coffe can be used as a developer is not inconvenient for me, or ignored by me. My point was in comparing a coffee-based developer to those made from known, quantifiable chemicals. You've apparently taken offense to my implying cofee-based developers are not real developers, and for that I'm sorry. Coffee-based developers develop film, and that by definition, makes them real developers, so I retract that terminology, but my original question remains unaddressed; what advantages do coffe-based developers offer over developers made from known, quantifiable chemicals, apart from the novelty of being made of household ingredients? I can think of several disadvantages related to using an unknown, unquantifiable developing agent in combination with many, many unknown constituents of unknown properties and/or interactions to make a developer of limited usefulness and poor keeping properties. Put another way, what is the rationale for using cofee in place of a better quality staining developing agent, like catechol or pyrogallol? I mean, aside from the novelty?
I know your question was directed to Tom, who has a much greater knowledge of developers, etc. than I ever will, but I think there are a number of reasons why one would choose to use coffee based developers.
2. safe to use for people who might be sensitive to other developing chemicals
4. buy it at the local supermarket
5. easy to mix
These are some of the reasons why I like to use Caffenol, others might have totally different reasons.
Your question basically boils down to this,"Why try something new and unknown when this works better?"
If we don't try, if we don't answer that question, how do we know for sure? Learning, trying, seeing is what makes photography worthwhile. At least for me.
It really comes down to choices that matter to each individual.
Brian, I understand the novelty of using coffee to develop film, which covers reasons 1,4, and 6 on your list. I don't think your reasons numbers 3 and 5 are at all valid regarding a comparison to standard developers, which leaves reason #2 as the only potentially relevant point, if in fact you use coffee developers because you're sensitive to, or wary of standard staining developers, and for some reason you're determined to use a staining developer instead of something like Xtol. As far as boiling goes, my question was definitely not ,"Why try something new and unknown when this works better?". As a user of 510 pyro I get a lot of that kind of commentary directed at me, but there's a big difference between innovation and novelty, and because this thread is concerned with the question of commercially producing a coffee-based developer, inquiring into the rationale for using one is not unreasonable. What my question really boils down to is this: if you were to commercially produce a coffee-based developer, how would you sell it? Would you market it based on the novelty of its origin, or on some property that makes it superior in some way to other commercially available developers? If the latter, what would that property be?
Staining, not a poison, neither for the user nor for the environment - which is quite different from Pyro developers,
Originally Posted by cahayapemburu
The simple developer recipe that we all know is quite good. Adding some knowledge, clean, reliable chemicals instead of Folger's coffee and perhaps some more addons might create a great developer. Is that possible? That's my question.
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Originally Posted by Tom Hoskinson
Staining developers have not been universally accepted by the photographic community for several reasons: 1) Pyrogallol is a very toxic chemical."
Just to add a portion of cynism here:
My stomach says that Folger's, Nescafé and other coffee cremated in a factory are poisons as well. He prefers good, italian (french, spanish) Espresso, e.g. real coffee. Perhaps incinerated stuff is actually only good for developing films :-)
Originally Posted by cahayapemburu
"1. See the first coffee based, non-toxic staining developer.
2. Here is a table of dev times that are perfectly tested, and we can guarantee, that every charge of our little bottles will contain exactly the same amount of all ingredients, so you can rely on the results, even if you are a spoiled large-format zone system user.
3. We added some ****** and ***** to make it faster, sharper, reduce the grain and achieve an effective increase in film speed. It even tastes better "
Newest Folger's Add
“We are here at New York’s Finest darkroom, where we've secretly replaced the fine D76 they usually use with Folgers Crystals. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference!"
I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
Pyrogallol should be handled carefully, as should all developing agents, but it isn't obvious that it is harmful to the environment or any more so than coffee. It comes from trees, after all, and oxidizes very rapidly in an alkaline solution in contact with air, which is one of the reasons it fell out of favor for many years. As long as there are natural chemical pathways to break it down in the concentrations and quantities that we use, it's not necessarily an environmental hazard.
Coffee isn't likely to be a chemically consistent product. The large coffee manufacturers buy coffee beans on the international market based on price, so coffee beans grown in different soils and different climates exist in different proportions in different batches of coffee. If one starts purifying it to extract the caffeic acid in known quantities, then it seems not too different from using pyro.