Published: 15/11/2020
Author: Juli

Coffee and photography

At 10 o’clock the average white collar will get themselves a power shot, that encompasses their daily 15-minute-break.

At 3 pm, after digestive efforts take the most out of their energy, another cup is ready at hand. Pouring a long black coffee becomes a ritual to shake off the postprandial somnolence.

As the day unfolds, late-nighters are sure to reach out to the fragrant beverage that would keep them up — gaming, studying, designing, operating, surveilling…

(Moderate intake of)coffee is oftentimes regarded as a stimulant, a nutritious and healthy add to our diet, a builder of social bonds, the fuel of efficiency.

But what about photography?

Film photographers as all people might like their coffee but they have 1 plus reason to enjoy it: coffee is a natural developer!

Yes, you heard that right!

Coffee powder is non-toxic, inexpensive and eco-friendly from start to finish!

Truth to be told as not to discredit the fellow tea (photographers are also fond of teas), both tea and coffee contains tannins, which are but phenolic acids that hold a strong potential to support development — But coffee also has caffeine acid which acts like a common developing agent (pyrogallol).

To make coffee work it is though necessary to add ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to improve contrast and developing times and washing soda for laundry, which serves as an alkalinazer and activates the developing agents.

Coffee, laundry soda and vitamin C are widely available in drugstores and they will well save you some money, compared to traditional chemicals.

Shad Thames

Mike Kenneally

Shad Thames


We are thrilled to share a great website purposely called Caffenol as your main resource for this alternative technique.

So next time you drink your coffee, you may save up the last bit of powder that sinks at the very bottom and start developing that one film you believe can have an alternative twist!

We would be happy if you wrote us about your attempts to develop with Caffenol and even share your photos! We would be super happy to feature your works on Instagram, too.