Developing Medium Format Film With Coffee

Developing your own rolls of film has been popular ever since it was necessary and is something all photographers should try at least once. In this video, that's exactly what happens, but using coffee to do so!

James Hoffmann won't have been featured on Fstoppers very much, if at all. This is because he is primarily a coffee connoisseur and award winning barista. However, after learning that you can use coffee to develop your own film, and being a photography enthusiast himself, he had to give it a go.

Hoffmann is shooting on the beautiful Mamiya RB67 medium format film camera; an iconic medium format camera still popular today. The shots you get to see at the end as he shots you the behind the scenes footage of the shoot taken in — rather fittingly — a roastery, making the very coffee he uses to develop the film he was shooting with. What a satisfying sense of autarky. Here is one of the shots:

Hoffmann and I have opposite skill-sets, but I wish I were as competent with coffee as he is with photography. I haven't shot on film for some time and I found this video reinvigorated that urge to do so!

Have you developed your own film? Have you ever done so using coffee? Share your experience in the comment section below.

Rob Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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I used to use caffenol a lot together with beer and on occasion Urine which I fondly referred to as Urinol.
I still try alternative processes occasionally but have become something of a lazy developer and 9 times out of 10 will stand develop in Fomadon R09, my fill and forget method.

My girlfriend and I are real coffee lovers. My girlfriend roasts our own coffee. I now use Nescafe for Caffenol but would like to use my own roasted coffee beans to make a caffenol recipe. I work with a Canon eos 500 and a Yashica mat. I use fomapan 100 BW and fuji 200 C41 colour film and use cafffenol CM and CL-CN. I am also experimenting with river, brook, and sea water. You can see some results on my social media.

I work at a photo lab which is open during the pandemic and receives film from all over the world.
North coast photo in CA, USA~ Keep on keepin film alive!

all the things I need to develop my om=n film at home are on their way right now, next step is after the first run I will experiment with coffee.

Has anyone tried using ground coffee and NOT filtering it, so some of the grounds make their way into the development process? I wonder if this would make a cool effect