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Video: Caffenol film development from a coffee connoisseur’s point of view: Digital Photography Review

There’s no shortage of videos on YouTube showing how to develop film using Caffenol, a broad name used to describe a homemade film development chemical that uses coffee, vitamin C, sodium carbonate and other ingredients to process film. Usually, it’s film photographers or analog aficionados making and sharing these videos, but in his latest video, coffee genius and 2007 World Barista Champion James Hoffmann shares his take on Caffenol development, sharing the experience from a coffee expert’s point of view.

As you might expect from someone so knowledgeable about coffee and its attributes, Hoffmann doesn’t settle for the instant coffee Caffenol. No, he goes all out with fresh-roasted beans and an elaborate recipe that requires him to pull nine double-shots of espresso that’s then filtered multiple times to replicate the instant coffee recipes you often find online.

A screenshot from the video showing an exposure captured on Ilford HP5 120 film with a Mamiya RB67 Pro S medium format camera and developed in Hoffmann’s custom Caffenol recipe.

After going through the recipe and development process, Hoffmann shares behind-the-scenes video of him capturing the photos on Ilford HP5 120 film in a Mamiya RB67 Pro S at a local roastery with the developed and scanned images overlaid on the footage.

Although the scans he shares aren’t high-resolution, they look about how you’d expect from Caffenol development of Ilford HP5 120 film. Overall, the 13-minute video is a wonderful watch with a unique look at the process we don’t often see in the photo world. If you’re a coffee fan yourself, do yourself a favor and subscribe to Hoffmann’s YouTube channel. He’s a wealth of knowledge and his calm-but-insightful videos have an almost meditative flow to them.


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