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  1. #1

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    Caffeinol Recipes

    I've seen recipes that involve soda crystals (I presume it's baking soda? I don't know what soda crystals are or where to acquire them) and vitamin C, which is available at the pharmacy.

    Which recipe is the one most people use? Furthermore, does the staining action of the coffee (that turns the negs brownish) translate to the print, or only when scanned?

    It would stand to reason the brownish look only translates when scanned (unless you develop your prints in Caffeinol as well......will it work? Hmmmm......), but I could be wrong (won't be the first time!)

  2. #2
    Leighgion's Avatar
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    Nonono! Not baking soda!

    If you read up on the better caffeinol how-to's, they're very clear baking soda, aka sodium bicarbonate, is not what you need. It's washing soda, aka soda ash, aka sodium carbonate. You can get it under the Arm & Hammer brand as "Super Washing Soda" and it's also available as a pool chemical for ph balance.

    I haven't yet tried actually doing the caffeinol thing, but I read the recipes many times and had to puzzle through where I was going to find washing soda. I ended up buying it in pool chemical form from the hardware store. It's also good for cleaning, as the common name suggests.

  3. #3

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    Ah, sodium carbonate. I looked at several websites that say you need soda crystals, but no website says sodium carbonate.

    Thanks for that tip. Soda ash is very common, I'd bet it isn't difficult to find at wal-mart.

    So do you use soda ash or vitamin c or both?

  4. #4
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brofkand View Post

    It would stand to reason the brownish look only translates when scanned (unless you develop your prints in Caffeinol as well......will it work? Hmmmm......), but I could be wrong (won't be the first time!)
    It actually works vey well. I 've been printing with Caffenol for quite a long time now. It works with any good negative on just about any paper. (some papers better than others) The good thing about using Caffenol as a print developer is that you don't have to worry about risking your negatives to a botched developing session. (as can happen with Caffenol)

    Read about it here.

    http://tomoverton.images.googlepages.com/caffenol

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Toffle; 07-27-2009 at 10:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

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  5. #5

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    Thanks so much for that link, Toffle!

    Those results are stunning. I see photographs I could make around my hometown with that stuff come alive.

    Amazing stuff.

  6. #6

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    hi

    i use caffeinol C as my main developer.
    washing soda, soda ash, sodium carbonate ... it is available
    at the grocery store in the laundry detergent aisle. i was overseas
    and couldn't find it in either the swimming pool place (looked for fixer there too!)
    or the grocery store ... so i ended up getting it at a pharmacy, together with
    powdered vitamin C ... it cost a kings ransom but it worked very well.

    the recipe some folks go by goes like this ( i got mine from whitey morange, thanks whitey! )

    8 oz. water
    4 slightly rounded tsp. instant coffee
    2 tsp. washing soda
    1000 mg Vitamin C (1/4 tsp powder)

    i gave up on measuring and make it by the litre.
    i eyeball the measurements probably using too much vitamin C et al.
    i put it in solution in the order of the recipe,
    and when the C is added the solution foams like mad.
    i have always thought that was a good thing.

    the negatives tend to look a little brownish, and the developer smells really bad,
    but they print very very nicely ( even if bulletproof!). the tone doesn't do anything to the print, and only appears
    if you scan the film ...

    i don't agitate but do stand development ( unless i process sheets of film then i shuffle in a tray )
    and i tend to add a few oz of straight ansco 130 print developer to boost the contrast a tiny bit, it probably doesn't do much.
    all the film i have printed or scanned the last year or 2 have been from coffee developer.
    it does some wonderful things to the grain, and neopan, foma tmax films, tri x and plus x LOVE it ( outdated too ).

    i am sure it isn't for everyone, but it is pretty easy and fun to use and can even be replenished.

    there is a group here on apug with coffee devotees ( or those interested in it at least )

    http://www.apug.org/forums/groups/co...evelopers.html

    have fun!
    john
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  7. #7

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    I've just discovered this today, I didn't know you could use coffee as a developer.

    A quick google led me to the Shutterbug site which said 'caffeine, as found in Tea or Coffee... can be used as a deveoper but coffee is best to use as the concentration is higher than in tea..."
    Well, being British maybe, I was actually drinking a cup of tea at the time. Hmmm, I thinks...
    Well, I don't want to upset anyone from across the pond, but...(searching for ways to put it tactfully...) whenever I've asked for tea in the USA I've been given a tiny bag of something fastened to a bit of string with a staple and a tiny pot of tepid water to dunk it in, usually with a lemon slice on the side.

    Well, that is not tea! :o Well, not as we know it...

    I reckon the purpose of the staple is to give the water a bit of colour as it rusts. I can imagine the caffeine content is as weak as the taste is insipid.
    Now, Tetley's or PG-tips, a generous teaspoon per person and one for the pot (pre-warmed, obviously ) contains LOTS of caffeine. At least on a par with instant coffee.

    I brewed up an extra strong pot, chucked in two heaped teaspoons of Sodium Carbonate, made a quick test print and... Nothing.
    Very little, anyway. There was a tiny ghost of a hint of an image, that was all. I used RC multigrade paper, so this could be developer incorporated. I next tried an old graded paper and this time got absolutely nothing whatsoever, so the ghost image was probably just the effect of the warm carbonate solution on the paper.

    Strange, I checked the caffeine content of my tea on the web and my belief that it contains useful amounts of caffeine is correct. I did a bit more research and discovered this on wikipedia:

    "Caffeic acid may be the active ingredient in caffenol, a do-it-yourself black and white photographic developer made from instant coffee. The developing chemistry is similar to that of Catechol or Pyrogallol...
    Caffeic acid... is unrelated to caffeine"

    So, that was just a quick 20 minute wander up a blind alley for me, but it looks like it is the caffeic acid in coffee that does the trick and tea is best left for drinking. A bum steer from the shutterbug site!

    I also discovered, when googling for 'Caffeinol', it appears that the health proffession have adopted this name for a recomendation to high risk victims to drink a combination of coffee and alcohol to protect from strokes.

    When googling for 'Tea developers' you get lots of hits, but here TEA is an acronym for triethanolamine, which is an active developing agent.
    Steve

  8. #8

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    What's the soda ash do?
    I brake for fixer!

  9. #9
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leighgion View Post
    Nonono! Not baking soda!
    Actually, I tried it with baking soda in the interest of just how 'kitchen-cabinet' can one go.

    I used semi stand development - a snippet of 35mm in a black plastic film canister, given a shake whenever I passed through the kitchen - for about an hour. Very thin negative, but very fine grained.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
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  10. #10
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leighgion View Post
    puzzle through where I was going to find washing soda.
    Well, back to the bicarb...

    If you bake baking soda it lets off carbon dioxide and turns into sodium carbonate.

    It's how it makes a cake rise - letting off the CO2 with heat.

    30 minutes in the oven at 350, just like a cake. If one cooks a lot of it it will sort of 'boil' as it decomposes.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
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