Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Caffenol Cookbook Bible

Today I decided, finally, to read the Caffenol Cookbook Bible, a 40 pages pdf book with the main caffenol recipes used today. I could have read it before, but I wanted to develope my own caffenols and then, at the end, compare my findings with those of other people.

First of all, I liked very much the way the book is presented and all the contents. Congratulations to the authors. I didn't read all contents until now but I will, specially the chapter about scanning because I am totally ignorant in this matter.

The Caffenol Cookbook includes contributions of 9 persons. dispersed in the world and it was only possible in the Era of Internet.

After a short acknowledgments, a page with a beautiful phrase of Reinhold G., which translates what we, the infected by Caffenol, feel about it. First we think it must be a joke but after the first successful developments, we all get the fever.

The Book continues with some forwords of Mike Overs, from there I liked very much when he says «The word "other" is not a cloak of false modesty, but a mark of admiration for my fellow contributers».

Reinhold G. tells us then about the few ingredients used in the different caffenols and then the Book enters the recipes chapter with 2 main parts, Caffenol Metric, Caffenol Volumetric.

Starting the chapter Caffenol Metric, we find as first the recipes of Reinhold G., respectively, Caffenol-C-M, Caffenol-C-H and Caffenol-C-L. The names were chosen as follows: caffenol because the developer has as main developing agent coffee, C for Vit. C and M, H, L reflect the properties: M for low and Medium speed up to 100 ASA, H for speed enHancing (I think) and L for Low pH.

Reinhold recipes became classic and I am sure they do well the job. The main ingredients are Sodium Carbonate anhydrous, Vitamine C and Instant Coffee, mixed by the order given. 2 of them use Potassium Bromide as antifoggant and accutance enhancer. All 3 recipes use 40g / liter of coffee. Caffenol-C-H ist identical to C-M with 16g/l Vit. C and 54g/l Soda, but needs 1g of Potassium Bromide that makes a great difference in quality. Both C-M and C-H take 15 minutes as starting point. The most different of these 3 developers is the Caffenol-C-L with less Soda, just 16g/l of soda and 10g/l of Vit. C.

After the recipes of Reinhold, the Book includes a suggested variation to the recipes of Reinhold by Eirik Russell Roberts with 75% of the soda contents proposed by Reinhold. So, the author kept Reinhold's nomenclature, adding a (rs) to them, where rs means reduced soda version.

In the part of Metric Caffenol, we find the Caffenols from Dirk Essl. He proposes 3 Caffenols, Caffenol Delta-STD With 45 g/l coffee (similar to Reinhold's coffee amount), 20 g/l of Vit. C (more than Reinhold's recipes) and only 24g/l of soda, less than 50% of Reinhold's. Interesting is that the developing times are shorter, 9-10 minutes. Another difference is that Dirk follows another mixing order: coffee, soda and Vit. C but he suggests to dissolve coffee and soda separately to make dispersion easier. The second recipe of Dirk Essl, Delta Micro) needs only 22 g/l of coffee, 10 g/l of Vit. C and 32g/l of soda. Should be used only for high contrast Microfilms. The last recipe of Dirk is called Caffeafine and is a 2-step developer and should be listed in volumetric Caffenols because he uses tsp as unit. I think, by the name, this 2-step developer will give fine grain.

In the part of Caffenol Volumetric we may find the contributions of the pair Martina Woll & John Caradies. They propose 2 recipes:

9,5 slightly heaped tsp of coffee
4,5 slightly heaped tsp of soda
0,5 tsp of Vit. C powder

This developer takes about 15 minutes, they already calculated for different brands, 17 minutes for APX 100, 14 minutes for Kodak Tri-X 400 and so on.

Martina & John follow here the same mixing order of Reinhold's recipes but in the next recipe that they call Caffenol CM-RS they change the order:

4 tsp arm and hammer washing soda
1&1/2 tsp of Vit. C powder
1/2 tsp iodized salt
5 rounded tsp chep instant coffee

This last recipe shall develope in just 11 minutes.

The other developer included in the part of Caffenol Volumetric is Sumatranol 130 from John Nanian, which is also a developer for prints, but I didn't catch yet all the procedure of the preparation but one think is remarkable, he doesn't use soluble coffee but real coffee prepared by himself. He mixed then the Caffenol C with Ansco 130 developer.

Now, after reading all the recipes in the excellent Caffenol Cookbook Bible, I am more rich in information. But also it was rewarding to me to see that my own recipes are not cloned from any other. And I didn't find instructions about reusing Caffenols, what I would like to achieve too.

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