Giovanni Savino

It gets late early out there.

I see coffee in my future


Tri X Caffenol 16min  009


Living in New York City I used to have a plethora of labs to choose from to develop my film.

Today all my favorite labs have gone.


Luckily, there are still a few labs left, but , unless my clients are willing to pay (and wait) for me to get my film processed (which they aren’t – as I almost exclusively find myself shooting commercial work digitally these days) I simply can’t afford to process and scan my own film projects there anymore.

So, home processing seemed to be the best choice for me to continue using my beautiful old cameras and keep shooting film.

Unfortunately I don’t have any spare rooms in my tiny NYC apartment to devote to film processing.

The only way is to periodically take over kitchen and bathroom and transform them into unorthodox, temporary film labs.


The main problem I have with doing that is the potential contamination of those rooms with the chemicals I use.

Even if I am very careful to thoroughly clean after myself, the chemical smell lingers for a long time, especially in winter, when I cannot open wide all my windows, and I find it quite bothersome, especially in the kitchen.

So I decided to experiment with something quite stinky but safer and more organic: coffee developer.


Although I had seen plenty of great examples around, I was always a bit skeptical about it.

Well, I was wrong.

After a mere few days since I started experimenting with what appeared to be the most potent gut rot instant coffee available in my local supermarket, I am a believer !

First of all I can develop most film stocks with it, not just black and white but also color (which obviously turns into BW).

The process is very easy and fast, allowing me to shoot, develop and scan before I forget what’s in those rolls buried in my fridge.

The coffee developer does stink quite a bit, but, to me, it is a much more acceptable odor than most commercial chemicals I would use otherwise. And it is not poisonous.

Then, the results…

Right up my street.  I’ll just say that.

You can see here a couple of frames from my very first go at developing Kodak Tri-X and one attempt to develop 3 ASA Direct Positive Paper, another love affair of mine, with the same mixture (the fire escapes silhouette image)

Tri X Caffenol 16min  001


If this is the beginning, then things can only get better.

I am feeling quite excited about this…. certainly the effects of caffeine !!

Fire escapes Coffee Dev





I see coffee in my future