January 19, 2011


I found this recipe and it's one of the best examples why I only use international standard units:

I do not recommend using this recipe! Does it deserve the name "recipe"?
300ml water with 12 scoops of Instant Coffee
400ml water with 8 scoops of Soda Wash
2 tsp of Powdered Vitamin C
Developed @ 70 C for 9 Minutes
Kodak Stop bath for 1 minute
Kodak Fixer for 5 minutes
10 minute water wash.

He mixes scoops and teaspoons (tsp). What the heck is a scoop? And he mixes scoops and teaspoons, ha??? Does he boil his films in 70 °C(elsius) hot coffee, or does he mean 70 °F(ahrenheit)? Other authors use tablespoons, knife tips, taels (???) and everything else you can imagine.

In anglo-american cultures 1 teaspoon is defined as 5 ml (milliliter). But that is not obvious for the rest of the world. What, if my teaspoon is 3 ml and yours is 8 ml? It makes a huge difference and will spoil the cake. If using 35 or 45 grams instead of recommended 40 grams because of unprecise measuring probably will not spoil the cake. 1 gram is 1 gram, whether you sit in NYC, Rio de Janeira, Paris, Capetown, Beijng or Tasmania.

Everybody uses measuring mugs for fluids, so why not at least use them for volumetric measuring instead of teaspoons and others? The rest of the world will be grateful. For some more precision buy a weight scale. They aren't expensive anymore. Mine did coast 10 Eur.

Beeing creative is cool. Measuring with obscure methods isn't creative at all if you do it all the way wrong. That's totally un-cool. Please understand that I don't want to blame or offend anybody, but also pleeeease, hear my prayings.....and be gentle with comments. Please use international standard units like liter, milliliter, grams, °C (degree celsius). Shouldn't we all be a big family? Worldwide like the www? That would be cool. Very cool.

Thank you very much for your patience and best regards - Reinhold


Dirk said...

A scoop can several things:
1. A flour scoop (Mehlschaufel), a small shovel to measure flour
2. An ice cream scoop (Eisportionierer)

Or maybe he means 'Kaffeelot' which would mean 6-8 grams of coffee.
And for sure he means Fahrenheit, as it translates to 21 degress Celsius. I would not even have a device to measure 70 degrees Celsius :-)

But I (now) agree, buying a small scale is the way to go.


uwe said...

wonderful statement!
iagree totally with reinhold,

10 points
and best regards


imagesfrugales said...

Sorry, ep, I guess there's no need to analyse this recipe further more, it's obviously not reproducable ;-)

@ all: please no flaming here on my blog.

Anonymous said...


Unless you don't understand it: what YOU post is already flaming!
I converste on a day to day basis with 480 americans on my Yahoo-group. Your statement will be read and understodd by more than half of them as flaming.

US americans USE volumetric measurement with great success. I use volumetric measurement in other walks of life with great success and have done so since 1984, namely reloading pistol and rifle ammunition, most powder measures sold and used for that endeavour is based on volumetric measurement and is absolutely accurate, repetable and to be trusted 100%.

The difference is that the people doing that and using that kind of equipment know what they are doing and what they are talking about.

The problem with this recipe is that the poster don't know what he is talking about and how to convey to others what he is trying to explain.

Since there is no written-in-stone baseline here, what a teaspoon IS or what a tablespoon IS, no 100% sure definition, recipes like this will leed others nowhere.

However trying to decipher what they are talking about, and trying to relay that information back to them, can be very useful, because it can lead to a deeper understanding on both sides of the fence.

Since I already weigh out my chemicals, I will in the future always give my measurements in both measurement systems, to the best of my ability, and explain very carefully what my definitions are!


MyVintageCameras said...

I can see your point about the measurements. I can easily convert your grams to ounces (because those are the measuring tools I have).

I can say also that scoops come in many sizes, so that is a dumb reference.

My question here, Have you ever tried any Ilford Film? That is what I use for the most part. Any suggestions?

I'll do some experiments and report back to you.......

imagesfrugales said...

Hi ep, I didn't mean you, I said "@ all".

I know that volumetric measuring can be very accurate, however it depends on which agent you are measuring.

One example: the coffee granules that settle down at the bottom of the glas have a nuch higher density that those on the top. On plus it depends on the brand. Gunpowder is much more even as is Vit-C, that can be also measured precisely by volume. Measuring coffee granules by volume is highly unprecise.

And there's another point. The web is wordwide and I've choosen to write this blog in english because english has become the international standard language. People in more than 90 countries are reading this blog. Many of them don't know what a tespoon means, go to the kitchen and grab the first one. It could be everything from maybe 1 to 10 milliliter.

Best regards - Reinhold

urban.hafner said...

On the other hand it amazes me that even with a recipe like this it's possible to get decent results (not that I would do it like that).


Malcolm Garth said...

Everything about photography... Everything..! Is standardised. ISO/ASA/DIN... Apertures, shutter speeds, focal lengths they're all standardised so that you can work out what I do and I can work out what you do, results are predictable and repeatable...

I'm with you and I'm about to try Caffenol for the first time so the "standard" measures will probably help...

ggl said...


The girl who taught me how to develop film measures the temperature of the water used to prepare the developer by means of... keeping one hand under running tap water!

Anonymous said...

right right.. Your Page is, as far as i remebmer, the only one with reliable informations and a recipe that just can't be understood wrong. And thats one IMPORTANT point to just say: THANK YOU !!! I never developed a film before in my life and started with a Shanghai GP3. The result is just awesome. Thanks for savin me from foolin around with shitty recipes which might have destroyed my enthusiasm just from the beginning.. and ofcourse al whole lot of cups of coffee and other ingrediens.
Cheers, Karl

Anonymous said...

Did tell this to the author of the recipe directly? I think this would be the right way to deal with it instead of mocking him!
Best regards