There are many different caffenol recipes used for developing film, and depending on which film you are wanting to use some recipes are better suited to each other. A good starting point for this decision can be found at caffenol.org.
What follows here is how I used Espresso coffee (rather than instant coffee), to develop Fomapan 400 in my Caffenol Cafe 1: RDC Espresso portrait project.
Caffenol RS (reduced sodium) at 20 degrees for 14mins.
Caffenol (RS) 1 litre
40g washing soda (sodium carbonate) 40g espresso coffee grounds 16g Vitamin C 10g iodised salt
Step 1: soaking the coffee
The first step is soaking the coffee grounds for 5mins in 500mls of water at 20 degrees C. Then filter the coffee through either a coffee filter pocket or cheese cloth twice to remove the grounds.
Step 2: measuring the washing soda and vitamin C
While the coffee is soaking, I mix up the washing soda with 500mls of water at 20 degrees C, stirring well to make sure it is fully dissolved, then add the Vitamin C and stir well again.
Step 3: mixing washing soda and vitamin C into the coffee, and what it should look like when it is ready to use.
Once the coffee has been strained, Add the washing soda and vitamin C into the coffee.
Step 4: the developing tank
I add the caffenol into my developing tank with continuous agitation for the first 30 seconds, then 3 or 4 inversions every minute after that, for a total of 14 minutes.
Step 5: stop, fix, rinse.
After pouring out the caffenol, I use water as a 'stop bath' rinsing until the water is clear of any caffenol, then fix for 5mins (I use a standard Ilford rapid fix for this step), followed by 3mins of washing the film with water.
Step 6: hang to dry.
Chris Schmelz is taking the his caffenol portrait project to Raglan Roast in Wellington from 11-13 August. Check out the event listings here.
The following images are from the 'Caffenol Cafe 1: RDC Espresso' portrait project, and were developed using the coffee grounds from the Dunedin cafe RDC.
Christopher Schmelz is an interdisciplinary artist and musician from Koputai/Port Chalmers who predominantly works with analog film and sound, in a performative and installation based practice. Chris has performed nationally and internationally as part of the long-running experimental film/expanded cinema group, Rubbish Film Unit, and as a musician performs with several Ōtepoti/Dunedin bands including Wet Specimen, Guardians and Wolfskull.
His most recent works continue his exploration of experimental film making (specifically with hand processing film) and expanded cinema, using the physical nature of celluloid film and its artifacts, to create site specific film installations and live film performance. 16mm film is shot and hand processed within the space, then physical film loops are installed making direct contact with the space via their projectors, which generate both the sonic and visual elements for these sculptural film works.
These works embrace the visual aesthetic usually associated with lack of film care and technical mistakes, playing with the sentimentalism that is commonly associated with celluloid film. The tactile nature of film allows for the exaggeration of these elements, and for the emphasis of hands-on DIY film making.