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  1. #1

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    Caffenol without Coffee?

    Lately, I've been intrigued with the alternative developers for different effect. I've ordered some Shanghai b+w film to play with.
    I've been researching Caffenol for developing film and paper. I can understand the washing soda and the ascorbic acid helping, but what exactly does the coffee do? Besides toning the neg and paper, can one develop without adding the coffee? What other substitute can be used? I even came across some users using tea and chai. If it's the caffeine - can you use Coke, Pepsi or Red Bull?

  2. #2

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    Catechol-like substances in coffee.

    Have you tried PC-TEA? Three ingredients: Phenidone, Vit. C, Triethanolamine. Liquid concentrate, lasts forever, very cheap.

  3. #3

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    I haven't tried the PC-TEA bw. My first thought was President's Choice Tea? Yeah I can get that at the grocery store here! LOL

    The Phenidone sounds safer, faster according to Wiki:
    Phenidone (1-phenyl-3-pyrazolidinone) is an organic chemical compound whose primary use is as a photographic developer. It has five to ten times the developing power as Metol. It also has low toxicity and, unlike some other developers, does not cause dermatitis upon skin contact.[1]

    Now I have to figure out where to find it!

    How critical are the pH levels with these developers?

  4. #4

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    its the caffic acid in the coffee .. and it is mostly in robusta coffee.
    i have a feeling it is the "stuff" that keeps the robusta coffee plants from
    getting "coffee rust" and other diseases that are prevalent in arabica coffee plants.
    you might be able to find it at a chemical house and bypass the brew -
    but how much you use .. it might take a few rolls to figure out
    most instant coffees are "cut" with good coffee for taste ...
    i home roast robusta coffee and it is 100% robusta ...
    and the 2 litres i made back in decenber showed no sign of depletion ...
    ( lots of film AND lots of prints through it WITHOUT replenishment )
    cost me about 3$ to process 50+ sheets of 4x5 film and nearly as much 8x10 paper
    i have never had the coffee i make analyzed to see how much caffic acid is in there ..
    you might be able to poke around the internet and find out ...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Monkey View Post
    I haven't tried the PC-TEA bw. My first thought was President's Choice Tea? Yeah I can get that at the grocery store here! LOL
    I'm not sure if President's Choice Teas can be used as developer, though I can attest to some of the herbal blends tasting about as good as developer
    Much prefer Twinnings
    - Ian

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    its the caffic acid in the coffee .. and it is mostly in robusta coffee.
    i have a feeling it is the "stuff" that keeps the robusta coffee plants from
    getting "coffee rust" and other diseases that are prevalent in arabica coffee plants.
    you might be able to find it at a chemical house and bypass the brew -
    but how much you use .. it might take a few rolls to figure out
    most instant coffees are "cut" with good coffee for taste ...
    i home roast robusta coffee and it is 100% robusta ...
    and the 2 litres i made back in decenber showed no sign of depletion ...
    ( lots of film AND lots of prints through it WITHOUT replenishment )
    cost me about 3$ to process 50+ sheets of 4x5 film and nearly as much 8x10 paper
    i have never had the coffee i make analyzed to see how much caffic acid is in there ..
    you might be able to poke around the internet and find out ...
    That's interesting. Most threads I read say develop and dump. But if your blend can be reused without replenisher, it's worth looking into.

    I'm not a coffee or tea drinker, but the wife is. I suppose she might get upset if I grind and soup her Kona blend that we picked up in Hawaii.

  7. #7

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    I just found that B&H carries phenidone LINK

    One pound for the $58.50 - I assume that should last a long while using 2 grams per Liter.

  8. #8

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    I wouldn't order anything larger than a few grams, as it doesn't have a good shelf life, and very little goes a loooooong way. I've ordered from http://www.artcraftchemicals.com/products/ before without problems. They will weigh for you the amount needed as well.

    TEA is available, and probably cheapest from thechemistrystore.com, and "NOW" brand vit. C powder from a local health food store, although it's plentiful on the web.

    What is so alternative about Coffee developers? Do they produce different results from regular developers? The only real alternatives I can think of are staining pyrocatechin/pyrogallol developers as they give a proportional stain and print differently.

    Huge advantage of PC-TEA is the dev. times correspond to Xtol. 1:50 = Xtol's 1:2, 1:25 = Xtol's 1:1, etc. Little guesswork to do.

  9. #9

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    i always find it funny and sad that people
    with no experience with a certain developer
    or aspect of photography somehow become
    so all-knowing they can claim it is a total waste
    or ... whatever ...
    instead of actually trying it and seeing what it is all about.

    bwrules,
    maybe before you make claims in this thread or others
    about how much of a waste of time or how much money &C
    caffenol is you should spend some time using it ... so you
    know what you are talking about ...
    Last edited by jnanian; 05-10-2011 at 10:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    i always find it funny and sad that people
    with no experience with a certain developer
    or aspect of photography somehow become
    so all-knowing they can claim it is a total waste
    or ... whatever ...
    instead of actually trying it and seeing what it is all about.

    bwrules,
    maybe before you make claims in this thread or others
    about how much of a waste of time or how much money &C
    caffenol is you should spend some time using it ... so you
    know what you are talking about ...
    Never claimed to be all knowing. In fact I asked a question. Since you have the experience with this developer, care to answer it?

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