Caffeafine (Using Caffenol-C as 2 step developer)

Published by dirk on

A friend of mine recently told me about Diafine, a quite famous dual solution developer that is said to push mid tones by 1 stop. Diafine is a compensating developer, meaning you put in Solution A, let the film rest for 4 minutes with maybe 1 slow agitation per minute, pour out Solution A (both solutions can be reused) and then put in Solution B and let it develop further 4 minutes with agitation that is specific to the used film.

I was amazed about the tonality that the developer brings, and because I like experimenting, I thought why not try out something like that with Caffenol. Of course I knew that it will most probably not push the mids, and I cannot reuse the Caffenol mix, but it was fun for the experiment.

This is the procedure, that I used:

  1. Mix 240ml water with 7 Teaspoons of Instant Coffee
  2. Mix 100ml water with 4 Teaspoons of Washing Soda and add 2 Teaspoons of Vitamin C
  3. Put the Coffee mix into the developing tank, agitate once per second for the first minute
  4. leave it for another 2 minutes, agitate for 10 seconds every minute.
  5. Pour out 100ml of Water and add the Washing Soda mix.
  6. Agitate once per second for the first minute
  7. Agitate for 10 seconds every minute for 9 miutes
  8. Stand development for another 4 minutes.

I don’t think that the Coffee pre-wash did anything to the negatives, but this has to be proven.
So the plan is another experiment by comparing 2 same films in different developers. So stay tuned and meanwhile have a look ath the Caffeafine pictures, exposed in the range from 400 – 3200 EI:


Dirk Essl is the founder of And has done a tremendous amount of coffee development in the past.


dirk · December 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Thank you very much for your explanation of traditional two bath developers. I know, that caffeafine is not a real two bath developer as some amount of solution A stays in the Tank when adding solution B. I just wanted to show, that experimenting with caffenol can be a lot of fun, and even with teaspoon measuring can deliver usable results.

Aurora Brnicevic · October 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I was curious simply if this developing method requires a fixer.
I’ve been on a mission the last several months to get all the right ingredients and find the right methods for caffenol developing.
I’ve tried a few times already, And my negatives came out to thick.
That was fist trial run. And I don’t think I agitated correctly and I didn’t use a fixer or the (I’ve seen a couple places mention) a liquid dish soap and water mixture.

So I’m just curious if I use this mixture and method mentioned above, will it develop my negatives so I can make prints. Will it require a fixer?


dirk · October 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm


yes, even this method requires fixer. All of the ‘normal’ processes require fixing the negatives. Fixing will wash out the undeveloped parts of the film and preserve the developed so the film will last.
I also add a drop of liquid dish soap to my final wash (after I fixed the negatives) to make the film dry without drops.

I use Ilford Rapid fix, diluted 1+4 as it says on the packaging. You can fix many, many films with it. I always test the fixer with the end of the Film. If it clears within 1 minute, I use it. If not, I mix up fresh fixer. Please beware that fixer has to be disposed as special waste.


Aurora Brnicevic · October 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Thank you so much for the info! This totally helped me out.
I was just hoping fixer wasn’t required because I just wanted to start developing now and moneys tight as hell. But no worries, I shall be developing in the correct manner soon!

Thanks again

Photography – Human Habitat – Site Title · February 13, 2018 at 4:04 pm

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